Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan | Book Review

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan | Book ReviewTwo Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Publisher/Year: Knopf Books For Young Readers- August 27, 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Pages: 208
Source: For Review
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other. (from Goodreads..I just couldn’t write a good summary myself for this one).

Ladies and gentleman, we have yet another David Levithan novel that I am absolutely and totally smitten with. This may just be my favorite yet. I’m telling you, I dogearred the hell out of Two Boys Kissing (don’t cringe..you already knew I committed this book crime) and read it in a single day! Incredibly thought-provoking, beautiful and so many passages that make me remember how words can just make my heart flutter. David Levithan is one of those special voices  and this book is a shining example of that.

I’m not going to lie, as soon as I started reading I was not thrilled about the Greek Chorus narration but it quickly won me over and honestly I think MADE the novel. Their collective voice broke my heart but was also so, so hopeful. As much as I loved the boys, these men are the ones that will linger in my heart for a long, long time. I was tearful at times and completely mesmerized by them and their take on what was unfolding in the boys lives and also reflecting on THEIR lives and delighting in the PROGRESS that their own struggles and fight helped pave the way for. As much as it was the wise and thoughtful insight of the gay men of the past who died from AIDS reflecting on all this, it also made me think SO much of all the voices of the past that fought for us to have something or to make progress or give us rights in general. It made me weep for those people and what they went through and gave up for the sake of progress.

The main event of the novel is these two boys who are going to be publicly kissing in front of their high school to beat the world record for the longest kiss. Woven in are stories of various other boys who are gay and at various stages of coming out or in their relationships. There’s also another couple who are both out and dating, two guys who meet at a dance and are in the very beginnings of getting to know each other and a boy who isn’t out yet to anyone except the guys he meets in chatrooms.

There were many things these boys dealt with — being ok in their skin, approval from their family, first loves, coming out to their family and more — and it was easy to get caught up in all the story lines and be rooting for them. I was brought to tears, was reminded of first love, how hard it is to fight for love sometimes and accepting yourself first before you worry about others accepting you. Their stories felt authentic and embodied what it is to be a teen — gay or straight.

Two Boys Kissing was yet another brilliant novel from David Levithan. It was beautifully written, uplifting and honestly sobering at times. As wary as I was about the Greek Chorus style narration, I quickly cast my doubts and found their voice to really make the novel for me — to be honest I think THEY were the ones that will linger even more than the boys. It’s a must read — not just for gay teens — but for everyone because it touches so delicately and thoughtfully on so many issues. It reminds you of all the people in history who paved the way for any of us but how much further we have to go because the things these boy faced are real and they are today. I love books that make me think, just want to squeeze all of humanity in for a hug and remind me why books are so, so powerful. David Levithan, you are a hell of a man, a very gifted writer, a wonderful advocate for gay teens and someone who has helped pave the way for more progress even in your own space in publishing by giving voice to LGBT teens who needed to see themselves in YA. Looking at this cover reminds me of how far we’ve come.

 

two-boys-kissing

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you’ve read it? Did you find the Greek chorus narration to be effective? Did you dogear the crap out of this book like I did??

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Gahhh,

    I am absolutely DYING yo read this one. It looks amazing and your review only confirmed for me that I need to have this book. I am a bit hesitant about the Greek Chorus narration but not hesitant enough not to buy it. I am so SO glad you enjoyed it :)

  2. He is a genius isn’t he? I am also a little scared about the Chorus narration? I cannot even begin to understand how that might work. Anyway, you said it was fine so I take it like this!

  3. David Levithan needs to be awarded a medal for awesome or something, because I swear he just gets it right every. fricken. time!

    - Allie @ Little Birdie Books

  4. I am SO looking forward to this book. The greek chorus narration sounds like something I havn’t seen before and I’m really excited to see how it effects the reading experience. David Levithan has long been a favorite and hearing you sing its praises just makes me that much more ready to get my hands on this book!

  5. I can NOT wait to read this! Great Review!

  6. Can I borrow this at some point? Ever since I heard him talking about his book at a panel the week of BEA I’ve wanted to read it. I’m even more excited now that I know how much you loved it!

  7. The Greek chorus honestly sounded a little silly to me, but so far every review I’ve read has raved about how it all came together. I’m SO EXCITED for this one. Going straight on my pre-order list. I like what you said about the cover – it doesn’t shock anymore to have a cover where two boys are kissing, and that’s a GREAT thing.

    Thanks for the awesome, feels-full review. =)

  8. I wasn’t going to read this because I thought it was a contemporary romance that just happened to be about two boys (and just-romance isn’t really my genre), but now I’m quite intrigued.

  9. I LOVED and adored this book. I lucked out and got it at ALA and fell so much in love with it. I just want to hug them all.

  10. I’ve heard of this one (and David Levithan) but I’ve never read any of his books. This seems like a good place to start, though.

  11. I really, really, don’t need another addition to my already-teetering TBR pile, but David Levithan hasn’t written a bad book yet and this one sounds amazing. I love the sound of the narration-technique, and combined with the storyline… GAH! My credit card does not thank you (but I do) for this recommendation.

  12. And THIS is why David Levithan is always a win for me! His style of writing and the way in which he presents his stories is super unique, definitely someone who knows how to think outside the box. He always manages to create the most relatable, engaging characters who will forever leave their mark on me as a reader. I truly think Levithan is one of those special writers who can make a point without being preachy and will leave such a beautiful legacy and make some serious impact with his books. So excited to read this one!

  13. Ah, I need this book now!

    I have actually never read anything by Levithan before *ducks* But I need to fix that. Like soon.

    Great review, Jamie :)

  14. I’ve been wanting to read this one since I first came across it. It will be interesting to read it with the Greek chorus, and I am looking forward to something so different. This books sounds so wonderful (I’m putting it on hold with my library RIGHT NOW). Great review!

  15. This makes me glad I gave up on writing summaries. Haha.

    This book was so pretty. AHHHH DOGEARING. IT WAS PRETTY ANYWAY.

    (I sort of want to read the rest but end my comment there like I stormed off, but I am feeling merciful today)

    YES. That is pretty much exactly what I said about the Greek Chorus. I was all “Could you BE any more pompous, David Levithan?” but then every time they said ANYTHING about their own lives I was a blubbering mess. So, yeah, feels like whoa.

    Also, kissing has so much less appeal after that book. I would never want that world record. I would never want to kiss again. Lol. BUT the feels of the message and gah!

  16. Wow…I’m speechless. I will have to read this book asap!

  17. I have loved him since The Realm of Possibility that I read in high school! I haven’t read this one yet (I haven’t read many, since libraries near me tend not to have many by him) but I just read Every Day and I had the same thought that it was his best yet. Have you read that one? It’s a must.

  18. Great Review!! This is still on my TBR list, but I hope to get to it soon.

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