Review: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance
Pages: 239
Series: None
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Books

5 Stars

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Two Boys Kissing is another gem by David Levithan. Yeah, I’ve only read two other books by him, but I loved those two other book as well. I’m considering that a good sign.

Now, instead of doing the synopsis near the beginning like I usually do, it’s going to be an ongoing thing. I’ll start off by mentioning the narrative because it’s a peculiar one.

The novel is told from the perspective of AIDS victims of the late 1900s, before the disease had been identified and before there was research for medicine. I didn’t initially connect the dots to the history of AIDS, but the narrative is kind of the collective voice of the initial victims, most of whom were homosexual men. AIDS was even called Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) for a brief period of time.

The story is told in a way that seems as if those men are overlooking the lives of people living now, homosexual men especially, to see how they’re doing. This method of storytelling may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I liked it. It took a few chapters to get used to but it was an interesting, and good, choice.

The book follows multiple characters. The novel’s namesake are two boys, Harry and Craig, and they’re kissing because they want to set the world record for the longest kiss (which is over 32 hours long, by the way). They used to be a couple but they’re not anymore. Their story is them trying to navigate they relationship and, you know, the whole… kissing for 32 hours thing.

Then we have Peter and Neil. They’re a couple and have been for a year. Their parts show us what a normal relationship is like, on a regular basis. It’s not something we get to see often in YA because the stories featured are of the how-they-got-together variety. And I gotta say, while it wasn’t something exciting or dramatic, it was engaging. I loved seeing them together and reading what is possibly one of the most realistic representations of a romantic relationship.

The third pair we have are (is?) Avery and Ryan. They’ve just met and this is the classic meet-cute. And it really is very cute. So we have three pairs in different stages of a relationship.

Last, we have Cooper. He’s on his own, he’s lonely and he’s depressed. He’s trying to figure things out but he has no hope that he’ll ever be okay. His family isn’t the kind to be supportive of his sexuality, and that made Cooper’s story difficult. His narrative (which David Levithan does a fantastic job with) is sad and he will totally make you cry.

Overall, we have four stories that aren’t really connected but still feel like they are thanks to the way the book is written. I found this novel to be beautiful and I highly recommend reading it.

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