“Boy Meets Boy” by David Levithan

02 Jul


"Boy Meets Boy" — as the title may indicate! — is a love story about two teen guys falling for each other. High school sophomore Paul catches sight of new guy Noah in the self-help section of a local bookstore during a reggae concert. Noah is new in town, a photographer and artist who recently survived a terrible breakup. Paul falls hard for Noah, who seems like the perfect match for him, and their burgeoning relationship is like pure magic. They go on a paddle boat date, pass notes in the hallway, and even paint music in Noah's hidden studio. Loving Noah is like floating joyously along. Unfortunately for Paul, he screws the whole thing up by kissing his ex, Kyle, in a moment of compassion and sympathy. What follows are Paul's clever, heartfelt attempts to win Noah back by showing rather than telling him how he feels.

So that covers the love story portion of the book, but, truly, there's tons more going on here. First off, Paul's world is like something out of a fantastic, candy-colored parallel universe where the high school quarterback (Infinite Darlene) is a transvestite … and no one blinks an eye. The local VHS rental store is shelved according to the owner's whims, a high school pep rally features, like, the chess club, and the big dance requires someone to take a whirl with the portrait of a long dead woman. Still, while Paul's life might be a bit wacky from our perspective, it still features its fair share of bigotry; Joni, Paul's best friend, gets a meathead boyfriend who hassles Infinite Darlene and, in the book's most poignant passages, Paul's gay friend Tony finally stands up to his fundamentalist parents, but in a remarkably understated yet brave way.

"Boy Meets Boy" is in no way a story for only gay and/or questioning teens. It works as a love story, a high school coming of age tale, and, perhaps most effectively, as a story about the true measure of friendship. While parts of the novel are silly, there are plenty of moments of genuine feeling, particularly those involving Tony. I loved how this book moved from absurd elements to hard realities without losing any momentum. I'd definitely recommend "Boy Meets Boy" for high school readers.

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Posted by on July 2, 2008 in Uncategorized


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