Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Two Boys Kissing
By David Levithan
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Source: Publisher
Summary: 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.

Review: I want to start off this review by letting you all know I was not planning on reading this book at all. I am not a fan of LGBTQ books because that's just not my thing. I don't enjoy reading about those kinds of relationships, so when I saw the title and cover of this book, I immediately dismissed it. Soon, though, I was seeing this book EVERYWHERE and everyone was absolutely raving about it. Review after review described this book as phenomenal, influential, and emotional and it has a 4.34 rating on Goodreads. If this book was so important and all the rage, then I guess I should probably read it. So I did. 

Narrated from the voices of gay men from the previous generation who lost their lives to AIDS, we follow the journey of two gay boys attempting to break the record for the world's longest kiss (over 32 hours), right outside of their high school in front of all of their friends and family. As these two 17-year-olds attempt to change history, the story delves into the lives of other gay teens whose lives semi-intertwine with the marathon kiss, and how figuring out their identities is a hard feat to face. 

Like I said, I'm not a fan of books that focus on same sex couples. This one, though, was so much more than just a book about same sex couples. David Levithan is absolutely magical with his language and the power behind telling the story through those who died of AIDS and grew up in a society with even worse views of gay men than they do now was perfect for this book. The narrators made this story as emotional and touching as it was, because they truly cared about the boys they were watching and reflected on their own lives as they went through the same crises the boys are going through now. 

The part of the story I liked best was definitely the two boys kissing, and not so much the two other main stories the book followed (a couple who met a gay prom, a couple who have been together for a year, and a boy who's parents found out he was gay from his online activity). What I liked most about the two boys kissing was the fact that the kiss wasn't about their making out, but making a stand, The boys aren't even dating anymore (they had broken up, though of course feelings are still there), so the act of them kissing is to stand up for who they are and for all of those in the world who are struggling with their own sexual identities. This book got so emotional at times and the ending was so powerful with how each character deals with their identities and being accepted by families and friends. 

While I'm not going to be picking up books focusing on LGBTQ characters for my next read or any read after that, I now understand the importance, power, and meaning of this book. David Levithan's writing is perfection and he's written a book that can touch the lives of so many people going through what these characters went through. Levithan has created a book that I definitely won't forget anytime soon, and a book that I don't think any reader could ever forget either.

1 comment:

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