Title: Wide Awake by David Levithan
Genre: YA literature
Summary (off Goodreads): In the not-too-impossible-to-imagine future, a gay Jewish man has been elected president of the United States. Until the governor of one state decides that some election results in his state are invalid, awarding crucial votes to the other candidate, and his fellow party member. Thus is the inspiration for couple Jimmy and Duncan to lend their support to their candidate by deciding to take part in the rallies and protests. Along the way comes an exploration of their relationship, their politics, and their country, and sometimes, as they learn, it's more about the journey than it is about reaching the destination.
David Levithan is one of my favorite authors, second only to Scott Westerfeld. I love how he often challenges your perceptions and makes you realize that there's so much more out there than just you. His writing is also like poetry on a page. It flows in a way that you don't see in other authors.
Wide Awake was fascinating because it allowed me to connect with the main character, who was connecting with the world. He was making himself a part of something bigger, which doesn’t happen to a lot of us. I like that Levithan also took something that could have been very political and made it very emotional.
That’s not to say that there weren’t present. There certainly were. Duncan, our main character, is a Jewish gay boy who has just watched a Jewish gay president get elected. And now Stein, the president-elect, is in jeopardy of losing his win. It’s really just a different take on the Bush/Gore fight only this one had political undertones. What if the reasons there was going to be a “recount” was because of religious reasons, not political or fair ones?
Duncan also lives in a world different than our own. There is no more war in his world. They’ve been through all the terrible ordeals of life once more: Reign of Fear, The Greater Depression and The War to End All Wars are all things that have happened pretty recently in history and we finally learned from it all.
But that doesn’t mean the hatred has gone. While most people have accepted the idea of gays in the world and different religions, as we can see from a gay, Jewish president being elected, there are still those who would oppose accepting these ideas, as we can see by the fact that the state of Kansas is demanding a recount.
Duncan and his friends go to Topeka to protest the obvious unfair nature of the recount and while there, the reader gets to learn about themselves while learning about politics. I thought it was fascinating that, by meeting all these people and seeing all the different situations around him, Duncan learned a lot about himself and his relationship with his boyfriend Jimmy. The things in his life he thought were stable were actually not and the things that he thought weren’t actually were.
The most amazing thing was how much he learned by watching other people. He learned about his own life and relationship and self through the actions of the people around him. Because of Stein and all the people that rallied in that one place, Duncan was able to be a part of something bigger and therefore, figure things out about himself.
Levithan once again delivers a stunning novel that just causes me to pick up the book and never put it down. His diction is intoxicating and the messages he brings to his book, while a bit heavy handed sometimes, are no less important and well said. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys political and gay literature.
You can read this review and all other at im_writing or my Goodreads Account
Books so far this year: 5
Currently Reading: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson and The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown