Sunday, January 18, 2015

'Two Boys Kissing' by David Levithan


New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS. 

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.

I'm at a loss for words. This is truly interesting book. I can't say how I feel about it. 

I love the diversity. You get a transgender Avery. A lot of gay guys. (All the characters are gay.) I love the diversity. You don't typically get these types of characters. All the characters are gay. You get a whole bunch of LGBT. There is also diversity in the characters. One is Korean, or so the book says. We have characters from other countries. 
I like this. I'm a fan of diversity. Always great for the young adult fiction world. Shows the teens that there isn't just Caucasians out in the world. We have other people as well. We're a diverse world. We have different ethnicities, different sexualities, and different races to name a few things. 

How Levithan approaches these real topics is quite amazing. He doesn't make these people seem like monsters. Even though history has painted that picture. We get the truth. These guys and girls are just people. Simply. Who they kiss shouldn't matter to us, matter to anyone. These people are friends. Family. We get many perspectives to LGBT. We have the transgender Avery. The video gaming Neil and Peter. We have Harry and Craig, and the online-loving Cooper. 
We don't get just gay characters. We have self harm and abuse. It's a short book to have all this piled on. We have real problems. Not just being bullied because you're gay. You have people who are tortured souls. This is something important to me. The sadness. The pain. I love how Levithan wrote it. Without hesitation. But slightly skimming over it wasn't the best. I wanted him to take it head on. But he at least wrote about it. 

I feel like I should like it more, though. I feel mildly disappointed by the book. I expected it to be amazing. It wasn't bad...but not the best. I like the major parts. The LGBT. But the book doesn't appeal to me.

I don't like the plural 'we' narrators. It seems...necessary. I read the back. I know that it's for the deceased. I know that. But the way the story was told could have been better. I would have preferred third person. Or maybe first person. 
As much as I like new ways for point of view, plural first is a bit too much. I could read it. But it was harder to understand. The story seemed to be cut off. The narrators seem to not get enough depth. It didn't seem personal enough. Just a scratch on the surface really. 

I also don't like the plot. It didn't have much to it. It seemed to revolve around the kiss. And not much else. I want more. I want to know what happens to these people. What happens? Do they win the record? What do they do to celebrate? What about Cooper? Do Avery and Ryan get together? I have questions that the plot didn't fill. We also didn't get much drama. It was mostly from Craig and Harry's part. We have the kiss. And some milder plot points. Not an exact plot line. 

The multiple perspectives were not very good. I don't like how they were set up. They seemed rocky. And they weren't planned right. I would have preferred different chapters for each narrator. The multiple perspectives were good to see how diverse the LGBT community is. I know that. 
The problem is that the story was told awkwardly. The perspectives were mixed. Sometimes, that makes you want more of a story. It didn't work like that in this story. You get tossed from character to character, but you don't get enough of the first to want more. 

Sunny with a 20% chance of rain

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