Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I fell in love with this book

It's been a while since I gushed over a book, and it feels great to be doing it now. Yes, I am seriously fawning over David Levithan's debut novel Boy Meets Boy, a novel published 10 years ago. As I closed the book last Friday night, I was swept away by the beauty of Levithan's story and his writing. I've now included it in my very short list of all-time favorite books.

The world that Levithan creates in this novel represents an ideal. If you're jaded, you'd think this would be speculative fiction. It's a world where teenagers, gay or straight, can date anyone they want to, without fear of being ostracized. It's a school where the star quarterback is also the homecoming queen. Parents, well at least the main character's parents anyway, do not think too much about their children's sexuality but shower them with all the love that they can give.

I found it very easy to relate to all the characters Levithan wrote about in Boy Meets Boy. Paul, the 1st 'boy' in the title, is so unlike in your typical teenager. He has no tinge of insecurity and knows what he wants. However, like your typical teenager, he becomes awkward when he meets 'Noah', a senior who just transferred to his school. Right from the start, I just knew that Paul should end up with Noah. If they didn't, I would just die. There's no hope for the world.

But hope isn't a concept that's wanting in Boy Meets Boy. Paul hopes that he ends up with Noah. He hopes to patch things up with Joni, one of his best friends, who's dating a schmuck. He hopes that he wouldn't bump into his ex, Kyle, who keeps popping up in all the wrong moments. In the latter part of the novel, Kyle makes amends with Paul and hopes that things turn out better for them as friends. And Paul hopes that the parents of his other best friend, Tony, would step down from their religious pedestal and see that there's nothing wrong with being gay.

If I knew that Boy Meets Boy would have memorable lines, I would have kept a highlighter with me while I was reading it. I just fell in love with the beautiful prose that Levithan wrote. Here are some of my favorites:
I find my greatest strength in wanting to be strong. I find my greatest bravery in deciding to be brave. I don't know if I've ever realized it before. . . I think we both realize it now. If there's no feeling of fear, then there's no need for courage. 
With some break-ups, all you can think about afterwards is how badly it ended and how much the other person hurt you. With others, you become sentimental for the good times and lose track of what went wrong.
Now, I don't believe in doing hugs halfway. I can't stand people who try to hug without touching. A hug should be a full embrace - as I wrap my arms around Tony, I am not just holding him, but also trying to lift off his troubles for a moment so that the only thing he can feel is my presence, my support.
Part of love is letting a person be who they want to be.
My only gripe is that the novel is too short! It's that kind of book that you just want to go on forever. You feel that you just need to know everything that happens to these quirky characters. You wish that there were a sequel. And it's the kind of novel that makes you want to write fan mail to the author and urges you to hunt for his other books. I love Boy Meets Boy, and I hope more people would love it too.

Read this book if:
  1. You know that it's only a matter of time before we get to that ideal world.
  2. You like boys meeting boys, or girls meeting girls.
  3. You love LGBT fiction.