Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Paperback, 256 pages
Published 1st August by Harper Collins
Shelves: books-i-own, contemporary, desperate-to-read, lgbt-maintheme, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction, to-read, too-much-hype, young-adult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Description via Goodreads:
This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.
When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.
This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.
Boy Meets Boy has been sitting on my to-read list for years now and it has always been one of those books that I felt like every one had read, apart from me. I have read and enjoyed several books written by Levithan, and as this book, his first novel, has been re-released in the UK with bright new colours, I thought that it was finally time to read the book that brought David Levithan his fame.
Boy Meets Boy is the story of Paul, an openly gay teenager, and of the people around him. As expected by Levithan, there is colourful host of different characters in this book, many of which dealing with LGBT issues. Our protagonist is openly gay (he came out aged 5) and very much accepted in the community. Paul's best friend, Tony, is struggling to be accepted by his very religious parents. Infinite Darlene, a six-foot drag queen and the star quarterback (though that's definitely no problem). Kyle is Paul's ex-boyfriend who frankly has no idea what he wants. Then there is also Noah - the new guy and Paul's romantic interest.
In the other books I have read, I have always admired Levithan's ability to portray LGBT characters as plainly as most people write about more commonly written heterosexual characters, not having to emphasise that they are different in any way, but rather simply just accepting them as who they are. I have to admit that I was a little torn in how I felt about acceptance in this book. At some points, I just didn't really feel as though these characters, or their situations were very real. Levithan has created a realistic setting of a school and a town, but for the most part, things seem a little utopian for the LGBT community - it was perhaps a world that many of us, myself included, dream of existing in the future. I don't want to sound pessimistic, but I feel as though in the real world, this wouldn't be the case. Perhaps this Utopia was deliberately created as a positive place, a happy place, and if I knew this before reading the book, I would have been in a different mind-set, not expecting complete realism.
There were two things that really stood out in this book. One of these things was the relationship between Paul and Noah. A lot of this book was about relationships and friendships, about people interacting, and the chemistry between these two really built up as the book progressed. I really loved getting to know about Noah through Paul. I also found Tony's parent's denial or fear of his sexuality to be something that stood out to me as there weren't really many huge issues or problems in this book apart from this one. Tony's household seemed like the anomaly of the book - Tony was the one character that hadn't been accepted. Tony was possibly the character that I liked most in this book and I felt a real sense of pride for his courage. There most likely could be a link made between Tony's struggle and this other utopian world, if you want to look more deeply into this novel.
As aforementioned, I have read several of Levithan's other books and have really enjoyed them. The book that I read before this book was his latest UK release, Every Day which I absolutely loved and rated very highly. Due to this and the large popularity surrounding Boy Meets Boy, I had very high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, I think that because of these very high expectations, I was a little less enthusiastic about this book than many others have been. That's not to say that the book was in any way poor, but rather it was nothing that struck me as amazing. I would not discourage anybody to pick up this books, as there are so many people who have loved it. Personally, I'd definitely recommend the author, but perhaps not this specific title.