Review of BOY MEETS BOY by David Levithan
FACTS ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Boy meets Boy
Author: David Levithan
Genre: LGBT+, lovestory, High School
BACK OF THE BOOK
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?This story stars Paul, a High School boy, who is openly, proudly and happily gay. He has many queer friends, not only including his gay best friend and his friend Infinite Darlene, the trans homecoming queen & starting quarterback. Paul meets a boy, with whom he immediately falls in love with. A journey of finding & getting to know that boy begins and leads to many magical moments.
I was a bit sceptical of this book at first, because it is by author David Levithan, by whom I had only read "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" so far - a collaboration between him and John Green - and I really didn't like that book. But after reading "Boy meets Boy" I totally fell in love with David Levithan's writing style. He writes so beautifully and close to reality and so full of details that make everything more special. I am now definitely a fan of him and cannot wait to read more books by him because he has shown so much potential in this book.
It took me a while to get into the story because, as the reader, you just get thrown into it without any real introduction, and have to sort yourself out at first. But it doesn't take long for the story to take a few steps back and explain the characters, their relationships with each other, and the whole situation. That helped a lot to understand who is who and how they are connected - so I would definitely encourage you to not give up after the first few pages in which you feel a bit lost, because it certainly gets better and more understandable after a bit.
I was very surprised by how openly and prominently gay this book was from basically page one onwards. There are quite a lot of queer characters in this story, which surprised me in a very positive way. I think there might even be more queer characters than straight ones in it.
I love that there are so many different queer characters in the story who all have a different approach and way of dealing with their queerness. They also all face very different problems and situations because of their queerness and I found that very interesting to read about.
There is not really one cliche queer person in this book but rather quite fascinating characters. I really liked that the queerness did not define any of the characters but was still a big part of each of their lives. It was also nice to not only read about a gay boy but to also have other parts of the LGBTQ+ community represented in this book in form of bisexual, lesbian and trans characters.
There was a chapter in this book called "Painting Music" which was just absolutely perfect! I think I never before had a favourite chapter in a book but rather favourite scenes. I especially adored this chapter because it focused so much on painting. And I have now realised, that I really seem to have a thing for painting as a character's interest in a story. I just love the many ways and words that can be used to describe the passion that a character feels for painting. The fact that the character that had that passion was also called Noah - and was gay - reminded me very much of another LGBTQ+ book that I've read recently, namely "I'll give you the sun" (you can find my German review on that book here) And because I really loved that other book, I immediately had a strong liking for this one aswell, because of that similarity.
The story felt very creative in many ways: There was quite a variety of diverse characters with very different and unique interests in it; there were also very creative situations, actions, events, dates and ideas that the characters had. Therefore the book felt very fresh, although it is 14 years old.
It felt very thought out and definitely like more than an average love story. I could feel the chemistry and affection between Paul and Noah right through the pages. And I love it so much when a book manages to achieve that feeling in me. It was very understandable for me to see why Paul falls for Noah but it was also written understandably to get the issues that Paul still faced with Kyle, his ex.
It was definitely a very good read but it could have been even more than that because it had the potential to be an extraordinary book; only it was too short to be that for me. I really liked it but didn't love it, which is why it also won't get 5 out of 5 stars from me. If the story would have been longer, there would have been more time to go much deeper into many of the characters and make the story mean much more to the reader. I would have needed more pages to fully bond with all of the characters, which I would have loved to do, because they all read themselves as incredibly interesting and worthy of reading more about. There is just not enough time to explore the characters fully, which I was too bad.
10th anniversary edition of the book
The edition that I bought of this book is the 10th anniversary edition, published in 2013, 10 years after the book first came out in 2003. This edition features an author's notes, 10 years after he published his book for the first time, a Q&A with the author and an additional short story of Infinite Darlene, the trans homecoming queen & starting quarterback. I really liked all the additional information and can therefore only recommend this edition to you! I loved that the author started his note by suggesting the reader to first put the book down to let the story settle in before reading what he had to say, 10 years after he wrote it. I also very much enjoyed the additional story of Infinite Darlene going on her first date. It was a short and cute story and gave her character much more depth. I also really loved the Q&A with David Levithan because it put the story into perspective and made the "unrealistic/utopian" world in which the story is set a quite beautiful idea. I felt like David Levithan managed to destroy most of the points that I read in negative reviews in this Q&A.
"Boy meets Boy" is a positive and happy queer story. That fact alone makes it stand out amongst most of the other LGBTQ+ books that are often rather tragic. (Of course not all of them are.)
It is a beautiful and nice short read and a story that made me feel happy and cosy. It consists of characters and stories that felt very real, interesting, fresh, unique and fascinating to me. Because of that aspect, I would have loved to read more about them, which is also my only negative point: The book is too short to fully explore the characters and to fully dive into the story itself.
I especially enjoyed a lot of the rather small details in it that made the story feel very relatable.
It wasn't my all time favourite book but definitely provided me with some hours of very enjoyable reading that interested me topicwise and just made me feel good.