Saturday, March 13, 2010

38. Boy Meets Boy

Levithan, David. Boy Meets Boy. ISBN: 978-0-375-83299-4. Knopf. First Edition, 2005.

Plot Summary

Paul has known he was gay from the time he was in Kindergarten and he was the first openly gay second grade class president in school history. The ideal community Paul lives in is accepting of the different genders and sexualities of the story's various characters. By chance at a bookstore concert, Paul meets Noah and it is love at first sight. Paul finds out that Noah goes to his school, and the two immediately hit it off and fall for one another. Noah is a fragile artist who has recently had his heartbroken and Paul makes the mistake of kissing an ex-boyfriend and destroying their love before it could ever develop. Paul sets out to get Noah back through a series of romantic and clever deeds. Paul has to juggle this task while planning a school dance, and helping his depressed friend Tony, who's conservative parents are less than accepting of his gay sexuality. Paul finds out that life is full of obstacles and that sometimes you create the obstacles you must overcome.

Critical Evaluation
David Levithan's Boy Meet's Boy is a refreshing romance between two teens living in a town that is accepting of a cross dressing quarterback, an openly gay second grade class president, and love between whoever is lucky enough to find it. Levithan's romance is centered around two young teens and never focuses on the fact that both of the characters are male. You could easily change Paul's name to Paulina and place the novel on any library bookshelf and it would go challengeless. Levithan's portrayal of this young romance and all of its innocence is touching and sincere. Paul, the story's romantic lead, is learning how to love, and all of the obstacles that come along with it.

Levithan's ideal world is contrasted with the depiction of Paul's friend Tony. Tony's conservative family does not approve of his gay sexuality and they punish him because of it. Levithan's inclusion of this character and his hardship helps to remind readers that this world sadly still exists, and that for many teens their sexuality is an unnecessary burden they shouldn't have to carry. This book will be enjoyed by both straight and gay teens alike, and the inclusion of both the accepting and disapproving nature of sexuality, helps to shed light on how unnecessarily cruel society can be.

Reader's Annotation
Noah by chance meets the boy of his dreams, and in a careless moment he loses him. In seven days, and seven creative says, Noah tries to reclaim the love he lost.

Author Information
David Levithan is an openly gay author and editor of young adult novels. In his early career, Levithan worked as an editor for Scholastic on the popular Babysitter's Club series and also on over 100 different Star Wars titles. His first novel, Boy Meets Boy, was honored with a Lambda Literary award in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of Scholastic's Push, which publishes edgier works by up and coming authors. Levithan continues to build novels around strong gay characters and has become a fixture in the world of young adult romance.

LGBT, romance

Curriculum Ties

Book Talking Ideas
Do you think society will ever be as accepting as it is in Boy Meets Boy?

Reading Level
Grades 10+

Challenge Issues

Challenge defense ideas:
1. Make sure you are familiar with your library collection and the book in question.
2. Be familiar with your library collection policy.
3. If possible, speak with the person challenging the material and make sure they feel comfortable. Ask the customer what they disliked or disapproved of in the resource. If they still insist on challenging the material give them instructions on how to file a formal complaint.
4. Research professional reviews that speak to the material's merit, and get input from teen readers on why they found the book important.

Reason For Selection
After reading Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist I knew that I had to read more David Levithan. I kept seeing this book pop up on different reading lists and I had never read a gay romance novel before, so I thought I would give it a shot. I loved how Levithan centered the novel around the romance and not the fact that the characters were homosexual.

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