Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
|Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
|Reviewer: Robert James
|Summary: This heart-warming romance is a great read in a unique setting.
|Date: August 2013
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
|External links: Author's website
Paul is gay, and confident in his sexuality. With a loving, supportive family, he doesn't have to hide his feelings. Life seems pretty good to him - but falling in love can change everything.
This took me slightly by surprise, because I was expecting it to be a contemporary setting, but it's actually located in a town and school which is far more progressive in its attitude towards LGBT people than any I can imagine today. This is brought home clearly in the first few chapters, as we learn that five-year-old Paul was given a report card stating PAUL IS DEFINITELY GAY, with his parents' reaction being pleasure that he'd learned a new word. It's an intruiging setting which wrong-footed me originally but which I grew to really like as it allows the characters to flourish.
Infinite Darlene - homecoming queen and star football player - is a character who I couldn't believe (sadly) in many school, but fits in perfectly in this one - and a book without the wonderful Infinite Darlene would have been infinitely poorer for it. (Sorry, I did actually try to resist that one, but couldn't!) It also allows for an interesting comparison between the openness and the friendly attitudes in Paul's town, and those of people in his friend Tony's town, where Tony's parents struggle to come to terms with their son's sexuality.
I really liked the romantic intrigue here, as Paul falls for new boy Noah but also has to cope with an old flame's behaviour towards him, and try to convince his other friend Joni that she's in a relationship with the wrong guy. The characters are all vivid, with Paul himself and Darlene being the standouts, and it also has a wonderful ending.
This is Levithan's debut novel, being rereleased 10 years after its initial publication. It's interesting to come to it with different expectations than I would have done if I'd read it when it was first out. Having read, and loved, two of his co-written novels, since then, I'd have thought I could recognise his voice anywhere. However, it's less distinctive here than it is in either Invisibility or Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. That said, there's still a line here and there which really seems to sing out - like Paul talking about pinball, nothing can compare to putting the entirety of your faith in a small metal sphere that bounces across light, sound and plastic.
Overall this is a strong recommendation as a wonderful read.
While the obvious comparison is John Green, who co-wrote Will Grayson, Will Grayson with Levithan, and fans of Levithan's are sure to enjoy any of JG's books - my own favourite being Paper Town, I think they'd also love Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider.
You can read more book reviews or buy Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan at Amazon.com.
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