Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Levithan (Boy Meets Boy) explores the gay community’s history with AIDS, while at the same time telling the story of a number of gay and transgendered teens. Craig and Harry are trying to break the Guinness World Record for the longest kiss, shocking some of the local community while drawing out crowds of supporters for their 32 hour marathon kiss. They used to be a couple, but this event is how Craig comes out to his family. The book also follows the newly dating Avery and Ryan, the longtime couple Peter and Neil, and the self-loathing Cooper, who trolls internet site looking for anonymous hook-ups. Behind the individual stories is a sort of group narration of gay men from the earlier days, when AIDS was a death sentence and everyone knew someone who had died or was dying from the disease. They are similar to a Greek chorus, commenting on the stories while giving them some historical background.
I have been a huge David Levithan fan since I read and fell in love with Boy Meets Boy many years ago. I find these characters engaging and honest, and think readers will, too. The teen boys grapple with some important issues that are found in the LGBT community as well as with straight teens: honesty, self-esteem, overbearing parents, relationships and more. The narration may be a bit much for some readers, and does begin to feel a bit “sermony” after awhile. The book is just wonderful, though, and I recommend it to all teen readers, especially fans of Levithan.
Click on the book titles to see our reviews of his other books.