Sep 15, 2008

Boy Meets Boy

David Levithan, Boy Meets Boy, 2005, Knopf Books for Young Readers.

Paul has known he was gay since kindergarten. Noah's the cute artsy guy who just moved to town. Tony must revert to bible study subterfuge to get out of the house. Joni&Chuck can't be separated. Kyle may or may not hate Paul. And Infinite Darlene (formerly known as Daryl) makes juggling the dual title of star quarterback/homecoming queen look effortless. Set amongst a backdrop of a semi-utopian community that made even this liberal skeptical, the book tells the love story between Paul and Noah set against the sub-plots of their friend's dramas, duels, and Dowager dancing. You may not know better than the school bookie what the odds are Paul & Noah end up together but the journey to what may be is a well-written escape that should appeal to fans of Levithan's prior work.

As sweet and fun this story reads, it's setting in a sort of liberal utopia makes even this reader skeptical. Like Nick and Norah's Infinte Playlist it is really hard to believe that teenagers (even wealthy ones) talk, think, and act like the characters in this work. That being said, the book is a safe space and thus it feels revolutionary. The fact that Levithan includes a transgender character (Infinite Darlene) is pretty amazing considering that this group of teens rarely get mention even in books on teenage sexual health and sexuality. I could see this book potentially being challenged because of it's loving and accepting language about the varieties of sexuality however it is for that very reason that it is vital to include it among ones young adult fiction collection.

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