Today I came from the Flips Flipping Pages book discussion for June, David Levithan’s “Boy Meets Boy,” which was chosen by this month’s moderator Orly in celebration of Pride Month, and came right on the heels of the historic decision on same-sex marriage laid down by the Supreme Court of the United States.
(I was going to say this is my first David Levithan, but a search on this blog revealed that back in 2009 I apparently read (and enjoyed) a lesser-known work of his: “Marly’s Ghost,” a clever take on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol, set around Valentine’s Day and with teen characters. )
Anyway, “Boy Meets Boy” is a YA romance starring, as the title obviously implies, two boys: Paul and Noah. It’s not my first LGBT read, though I can’t really say I’m well versed in the genre, so I read it like I would any YA romance. So you have your basic romance plot: boy meets boy, they start going out, they run into threats that threaten their blossoming relationship, and have to weigh whether the relationship is worth saving.
As romances go, I found it cute, with lots of warm and fuzzy moments, and some really memorable lines (the promise of a kiss will carry us forward <3 <3 <3). I like how it underscores the universality of love (without harping on agenda), and all its ups and downs, regardless of gender identity. It also gave me a new perspective on an old experience — let’s just say I had gone out with someone struggling with their own identity when I was young.
One of the biggest criticisms for the book is the utopia it presents, being set in a gay-friendly town where it’s totally acceptable to have a star quarterback named Infinite Darlene (who also happens to be the homecoming queen) and you’re actually boring if you’re straight. It’s really not statu quo, but I do like Levithan’s vision (quoting from the FAQ: “…I also feel that literature has the ability to create reality — first in its pages, and then perhaps in the world of its readers. Why not show things as they should be, instead of just how we are?”), and how it forces the reader to question why the society they live in isn’t as accepting.
So there we were holed up in Cafe Adriatico today, and it was a very interesting discussion (especially for the straights), which on top of the actual book (and Levithan’s body of work) explored the spectrum of gender identities, the history of the Pride Month celebrations, the definition of LGBTQIA literature and more.
And while it was as barebones a discussion as it could get (at least, by FFP standards), we couldn’t resist, erm, wigging out:
And suddenly, half the year’s gone — and I can’t believe I’ve managed to attend all the discussions thus far (and moderated one official and one unofficial discussion, too!). Things are bound to get busy for me in the second half of the year, but I’m still looking forward to the rest of the books in the lineup for FFP (and may or may not have my fingers dipped into a couple upcoming discussions, tee hee hee), so I’ll have to find a way to make time for them and write about them here!
Boy Meets Boy, trade paperback, 3.5/5 stars