Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Boy Meets Boy
by David Levithan
Knopf Books (2003)
Romance, Humor, LGBT
"Love is never easy. Especially if you're Paul. He's a sophomore at a high school like no other - and these are his friends:
Infinite Darlene, the homecoming queen and star quarterback.
Joni, Paul's best friend who may not be his best friend anymore.
Tony, his other best friend, who can't leave the house unless his parents think he's going on a date ... with a girl.
Kyle, the ex-boyfriend who won't go away.
Rip, the school bookie, who sets the odds...
And Noah. The Boy. The one who changes everything."
At first I was a little weary of reading this book. I've read books that had LGBT characters in it before, but never the main character, and it was never the main focus. I really wanted the first book in the genre to be a good one - to pull me in so I'd have high expectations for the books to follow and not be dreading completing this challenge. Ironically, I picked the book that I knew the least about, and had never read a review of. I am very pleased I did. Honestly, I would much rather run to my library and check out every other book of David Levithan's instead of writing this review. However, I will restrain myself.
Perhaps it was because I had already spent a month reading the Gemma Doyle trilogy, that I had no problems slipping into Levithan's first-person, present-tense writing style that the books have in common. Maybe it was because I was so used to the style that I enjoyed the book from the first page, when Paul is explaining how he and Joni are taking Tony out for the night.
The characters were funny and seemed so real. Their reactions were believable, even if the situations would probably never happen. Paul is an especially brilliant character. I've said before that I don't like a lot of main characters, but Paul is definitely someone who I enjoyed following all the way through. You understand the pain he's going through while trying to help his best friend, hold on to another, comfort his ex, and still be able to have a serious relationship with the guy he really likes.
Levithan's descriptions of everything are amazing. His dialogue is even better. It takes a lot of talent to weave humor into a scene that is very serious, and not have it fall apart. As for my favorite scene, there were many but I particularly liked Paul and Noah's walk through the town, where we get to see how Paul views his town, and how he shares that with Noah. I can't say it's my favorite over-all, but I do love it.
If I had to say one bad thing about the book, it would have to be Tony's parents. Levithan did so well in getting rid of stereotypes in this book, yet he made Tony's parents religious and unaccepting of his orientation. While I give him kudos for not bashing a specific religion, and the fact that Tony's hard times work well in the book, I can't ignore the fact that he didn't even try to change up the over-used plotline of religious, unaccepting parents. It would have been nice to see someone show the other side of things. The people, like me, who are religious and accept everybody for who they are.
Aside from that, the book really does go against every cliche. Everything down to the annual high school dance was very unexpected and creative (I loved the chosen theme). I was surprised by the ending as well. Not that I didn't expect things to turn out like they did, but because things didn't turn out even better in the case of one or two of the sub-plots. Perhaps I'm just used to romances being all happy and tied-up at the end. The fact that it wasn't completely really stood out and made me love the book even more. It's different.
All in all, I recommend everyone go and read this RIGHT NOW. Seriously. It's not like it's going to take much time. It only took me three days. So go!
Quote of the Day:
"Part of love is letting a person be who they want to be." - Paul, page 152
Sorry this wasn't posted yesterday, as I promised it would be. I ... kinda ... sorta passed out while I was writing it. But at least it's up now! =D
Anyway, I hope you enjoy. Let me know if you've read this book, or will be reading it, and your thoughts on it.