Falling in love is hard enough without freaking out over old boyfriends, friends who aren’t boyfriends and best friends who break up with you. Add in a dance that’s best organized in a cemetery and a homecoming queen and quarterback who are one in the same, and you only begin to touch the plot and subplots that weave together to make this one of the best love stories I’ve ever read. In fact, it’s one of the best stories I’ve ever read – period.
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
©2003 – Published by Alfred A. Knopf – An Imprint of Random House Children’s Books
“Sometimes the space between knowing what to do and actually doing it is a very short walk.”
For me, that walk was into my study to get my laptop. This was one of the hardest books for me to review. I became so emotionally invested with the characters that I feared that I would not be able to put into words the way I feel about this piece of literature. I say literature because I don’t want to simply call this another piece of teen fiction, a young adult story, or even an adolescent novel, and it actually would fit all three definitions. This piece is different because of the writing and voice that David Levithan has created.
The plot is a true and blue formula. Paul meets Noah. Noah likes Paul and Paul likes Noah. They get together, they fall apart and . . .
I will agree that it seems to be a familiar plot, however, it’s the writing and execution of the conflicts and mishaps that come together in the right places – not always at the right times – that make this a heartfelt and fun story to read.
I’m not going to tell you the ending. I will tell you that this story is told in first person by Paul who introduces you through his eyes and voice to a high school and town that is unique and nonjudgmental. David Levithan writes in a way that makes it as if you’re listening to Paul rather than reading. Paul tells you about being thrust as head of a dance committee while trying to deal with a best friend who is also gay and is in battle with his parents and their religion. You also get a chance to share the pain and frustration that Paul feels when another of his best friends suddenly takes on a new boyfriend that she adores, but who is barely tolerated by others. The interaction of the adults in this does not overshadow the story, but they too are portrayed in the same uniqueness as the rest of the characters. Along with Paul and Noah, you will meet Joni, Toni, Ted, Chuck, and Infinite Darlene.
I chose this book for our book club because I discovered singer/song writer, Patty Griffin after reading the acknowledgements. I also fell in love with a concept in the book about “Painting Music”.
“Just listen to the music and paint. Follow the sound. Don’t think about rules. Don’t worry about getting it perfect. Just let the song carry you.”
I loved the whole idea of using music to be creative and have since tried it with my own writing.
I’m on my second paperback copy of this book. I bought my first copy and wrote so many notes to the characters in the margins that you can hardly read it. I bought a second paperback copy along with a hardback copy. As usual, the paperback is for reading and the hardback is for my desk.
Standing on the fringe of copyright violation – I just wanted to give you one last quote.
“It’s a fine line between love and stalking”
If I sent another email to Mr. Levithan about how much I enjoy reading this book over and over, which would bring my cyber message count for him to about ten, would that be love or stalking?
Have a great week!
SPECIAL NOTE: Our next book is Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.