it was a story nobody was telling
there are boys lying awake hating themselves.
there are boys who clutch secrets at night the same way they clutch denial in day.
our humor was our compass our humor was our shield
when we kissed, we know how powerful it is
ignorance is not bliss. Bliss is knowing the full meaning of what you have been given.
our happiness had defiance our happiness had fear
when we feared being too open meant opening ourselves to attacks
you spend so much time, so much effort, trying to hold yourself together just for it to all fall apart
if you put enough closets together, you have enough space for a room
it is not darkness we fear but our own dreadfulness in it
the fewer connections you’ve made in the world the easier it is to leave
our lives were short and we never would have wanted them to be shorter
If you play your cards right, the next generation will have much more than you did
I am not wrong. Society is wrong.
The non-fiction book Two Boys Kissing is a story that travels through the life of gay teens who are discovering who they are and their many different struggles. The author, David Levithan takes you on a journey through the very distinct real stories of teens who share very different stories in their lives. He shows the perspective of what to many of us seems something so normal to in the 21st century be gay, but from the perspective of a gay teen you begin to realize how recent it is that being gay has been ok, if it even is yet.
The author David Levithan is a New York Times best seller, who is known for many other realistic fiction and nonfiction stories for teens. Some examples of his work are Invisibility, Every Day, Every You Every Me, Lover’s Dictionary, and Love is the Higher Law. He decided to write this book when a man named Michel Cart asked him to write a book about LGBTQ life today. His whole life he has seen struggles of being gay;for example his Uncle almost died of aids, or his best friends got married in Washington DC. The title of the book came from a David Hockney painting named “We Two Boys Together Clinging” which was from a Walt Whitman Poem. In his author's notes he says, “This isn’t a book that I could have written ten years ago. And as much as I’d love to credit that to my growth as a writer, I know it’s not really that. Instead it’s about all the people I’ve met and talked to as an author.”
The story is narrated by two adult gay men who follow these other boys through their journeys as teens. The premise begins at a gay prom where kids travel from all over because many of them live in towns where they are not accepted and this is their night. You meet Peter, Neil, Avery, Ryan, Craig, Harry and Cooper. The book switches back and forth through their stories.
Through the book the main story that connects all of the characters is the telling of two boys trying to break the record for the longest kiss. These boys are Craig and Harry, they are ex boyfriend's who decided to take on this challenge of a 36 hour kiss. Through the story you will see their struggles through the kiss physically and emotionally as their feelings run wild. Craig’s parents do not know that he is gay while Harry’s parents are big supporters of the kiss and him. Peter and Neil are a fairly new couple whose journey through their relationship is laid out in the book. There is another couple that begins to appear, Avery and Ryan who met at the gay prom. Avery is a girl and is transgender, their new relationship endures many hardships even though it has just begun. The last boy in the story is Cooper who has a much harder time than the other boys with his identity. His story is one that is not like the others.
The book is interesting because it gives you a whole new look at what it means to be gay in our society. For people living in an urban setting being gay has become something that is typical. When you hear the stories of these boys though you get a whole new look on what it means. Our society is still ignorant and the stories of these boys will change your life.
The poetic writing grabs the readers attention and drags them into a whole new realm of connection with these characters. In one part of the kiss when he talks about the book he says, “this is the power of a kiss: it does not have the power to kill you. But it has the power to bring you to life.” He intertwines a very typical teenage writing style into one where there is more depth. It magnifies that it is a love story that still has many ups and downs in it and that is shown through the writing style. The book is written with two narrators who follow these boys and for a lack of better words comment on their decisions and their journey through being gay. It flips between their narrations and dialogues between the characters.
Although the book was very well written and I enjoyed the writing style some parts could have been done a little better. I understand that this is supposed to be a vignette of different love stories displaying a struggle but I feel that there was not an appropriate use of dramatization in the correct places. David Cullen in sometimes presented certain parts too over and under dramatized leaving the reader annoyed by giving up so many chances he add to add many key scenes to the book.
If you enjoy teenage love stories that are not so average then this is the book for you. I would recommend it for a young adult audience who is also aware of social issues.
Title: Two Boys Kissing
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Date of Publication: August 27, 2013
Number of Pages: 200Genre: Teenage Realistic Fiction