11 October 2013

Review: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Published: 27 August 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 208 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, GLBT, Contemporary

Source: Own library

Synopsis

New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the 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.

My Thoughts

I've been waiting for Two Boys Kissing to be released ever since I first heard that David Levithan was releasing another solo book.  And it was worth every minute of stalking, obsessing and monitoring my mailman.  Although a short book, it took me far longer than it usually would to read a 200 page book because when I read Levithan, I love savouring every word and I never want the book to end.

The two boys who are attempting the world record for kissing are the lynchpins of the story and the way that Harry and Craig communicate and support each other throughout their marathon is really touching.  The reactions of the people around them was both uplifting and saddening, but all the while they continued to support each other, without words, just with actions and it really made me feel that they were completely dedicated to their cause and each other.

However, Two Boys Kissing is not just the story of Harry and Craig, it is also the story of several other boys that are drawn to Harry and Craigs world record attempt, all whilst experiencing their own life-changing and affirming situations.   Two Boys Kissing doesn't have distinct chapter POVs, instead it flickers through the boys' stories, giving in depth views to their lives or brief flashes of life-changing moments.  All the characters are three dimensional and so likeable, and I was drawn into all their stories as they struggled with their own identities, the pressures of their families and for acceptance from the people around them.

I particularly loved Ryan and Avery who meet at the beginning of the story and navigate a multitude of issues whilst just trying to get to know each other. Levithan tells their story with sensitivity without resorting to sappy ways to grab sympathy, and I loved the way he protrayed their relationship.

The one thing I was unsure of before I started reading was the Greek Chorus - I couldn't quite imagine how Levithan would pull it off, but he definitely proved me wrong.  More than any of the individual characters, I was completely entranced by the Greek Chorus - and at times I felt quite emotional at their descriptions of their lives, struggles and the advice that they wanted to give all the teen boys that they were watching over.  Having an emotional connection to nameless, faceless characters isn't something that happens often, and really shows just how talented David Levithan is as a writer.

Two Boys Kissing is just another example of why I love David Levithan's writing and storytelling so much - although this is a short book, I was dreading the ending within the first 10 pages, and I had to force myself to read it slowly, so I could enjoy it for what it is - a wonderful, heartfelt YA GLBT novel that made me happy, sad, angry and hopeful all at the same time.

8 comments:

  1. Huh I'm curious about the Greek Chorus now. But this book sounds incredible and so far every review I have read has had great things to say about it. I've never even read a Levithan book so I have to change that soon it will probably be with this one! Great review, Kat!

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    1. You haven't read a Levithan book? *gasp*. I would totally recommend this to start with ;)

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  2. Yay! I was hoping it was as good as it sounds. I've been wanting to read it.

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    1. It's so good - I had to stop myself reading at times because I didn't want it to end!

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  3. Fantastic review, Kat!
    I haven't read a David Leviathan book either and with such a highly recommendation from you it'll probably be this one the first!

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    1. He's one of my favourites - and this is a great one to start with!

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  4. I recently read his Every Day and really enjoyed it. I was thinking about giving this one a try I'm glad to hear you loved it so much. And Greek Chorus...I don't even know what thats about ahhh another for the TBR

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    1. It's such a clever way to narrate the story - I am in awe of this dude!

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