Title: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Genre: Gay literature/ YA Lit
Summary (Off Goodreads): This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.
When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it.
The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.
Review: This is the second read of this book for me and it's one of those books that, as I was reading it, I really remembered how much I actually loved it.
Usually when books get too ridiculous, I don't like them. And you do have to suspend reality a little bit with Levithan's book. It's a community that accepts gays, a high school that accepts that their Quarterback is also their Homecoming Queen and a place where there are very little prejudices that have to do with your sexual orientation.
Now, that's not saying there aren't problems. Paul is our main character and is still fighting with his Ex, Kyle. Tony is Paul's best friend, lives out of town and has very religious parents who don't accept his sexuality at all. Joni is Paul's other best friend, female and is dating Chuck, who no one seems to really like.
In the midst of all this, Paul meets Noah. I love this first scene where they meet. I feel like Levithan does an amazing job at describing that moment when you first meet someone new and all the millions of things that go through your head. You remember what they were wearing, go over in your head what they said a million times, and generally can't seem to stop thinking about them for days to come. Levithan also describes those first few awkward dates amazingly. Paul is scared that Noah will realize how MUCH he likes Noah. He agonizes over Noah meeting his parents, seeing his room, meeting Noah's family, all the things that everyone worries about when they just start seeing someone new.
Right in the middle of it all, problems arise. Kyle starts talking to Paul again, something Paul doesn't quite understand. They had always been antagonistic since they broke up, so it's a bit sudden for Paul. Joni starts dating Chuck, a person that no one can stand. In fact, it's this that causes Paul a lot of problems. Joni is one of his best friends, someone he has been friends with since grade school and now, all of a sudden, he's being completely shut out of her life for a guy that's probably just using her.
I think the fight between Joni and Paul was the worst. Everyone has had that moment when their best (or good) friend has chosen someone else over them. You have that one fight that you just can't seem to get past. When Paul starts having problems with things, he doesn't have Joni to talk to. She's the person he can usually rely on, the person he can talk to who had always been there for him and he has no access to her when he really needs her. Their story line doesn't really get resolved at the end. She shows up to support Tony but she's still dating Chuck, still not really talking to Paul, which I liked. Sometimes, things just take longer, if they even work out at all.
As Paul spends more time with Noah, he also starts spending time with Kyle. Eventually, Paul kisses Kyle and Noah finds out. I like that, even though Levithan puts in the usual "win the guy back" scenario, it's not the usual scenario. Paul unburdens himself to Tony who, to his credit, doesn't tell him that everything is OK. Tony tells Paul exactly what he needs to hear; that he's very lucky and really needs to SHOW Noah that he cares, not tell him.
The things that Paul does for Noah are just about the most adorable things ever. He gives Noah a part of himself. He takes the time to fold Oragami flowers, tons of them, for Noah. He finds interesting words, and gives them to Noah. He takes the time to really show Noah that he had fallen in love with him, that he made mistakes but that they were mistakes he doesn't plan to repeat.
I also like Tony's development. He finally tells his parents that grounding him and keeping him from his friends, just because he's gay, is not an OK thing. He takes the time to really stand up to his parents and tell them that he loves them but he can't really change. And, to their credit, they at least TRY by the end of the book. Tony's parents really do love him; they just think that not allowing him to be gay is preventing him from damnation.
Over all, it's just a feel good book. The thing about reviewing good books is that there's just SO MUCH that I like about it, I can't coherently convey it all here. Boy Meets Boy brings up all those feelings you remember having from your first love, your first big crush. Levithan explores adolescent relationships better than any other author I've read. I recommend this book to everyone, especially if you've never read any gay literature. This is a good place to start in that genre.
Books So Far This Year: 24/75
Currently Reading: What's Really Hood!: A Collection of Tales from the Streets by Wahida Clark & The Naming by Alison Croggon
You can read this review and all others at im_writing and my Goodreads account.