Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

boy meets boyBibliographic Information:

Levithan, D. (2005). Boy meets boy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Plot Summary:
Paul is comfortable in his skin. He has grown up in a family that has supported and accepted him throughout his life. He lives in a town that is supportive of all types of people. In fact, he found out that he was gay from his kindergarten teacher when he was five-years-old.

Even though his life is pretty good he cannot escape some high school drama. When his best friend decides to break up with him and his ex-boyfriend decides he wants to be part of his life again, things get complicated with his new love, Noah.
Critical Evaluation:
The simplicity of Levithan’s plot and language make the plot accessible to the reader. The narrative arc also follows the traditional pattern of a romance.  The simplicity of the story allows the reader to appreciate some of the literacy devices artfully employed by the author.

For example, the idealized world Levithan created for Paul, such as the supportive school with the transsexual football star, supportive town, and family, is negatively mirrored by the lack of support and desire of suppression portrayed by Tony’s family and the lack of interest or affection in Noah’s family.

The simplicity of the writing also allows the reader focus on the diverse group of characters in a utopian world. In Levithan’s utopia, gender and sexuality are simply not an issue. There is no segregation of the homosexual community.  Teenagers of all types gather to dance in a bookstore. There are motorcycle-riding cheerleaders. The transsexual homecoming queen is also the football quarterback. The ex-boyfriend turns out to be bisexual.

In the end, Levithan is looking at relationships. He is looking at relationships between siblings, boys that are friends, boyfriend-boyfriend, friends of the opposite gender, parent to child, and boyfriend-girlfriend. He also looks at what type of relationships exist after break-ups.


Reader’s Annotation:

When Paul’s best friend decides to break up with him and his ex-boyfriend decides he wants to be part of his life again, things get complicated with his new love, Noah. Paul holds out hope that he will be able to beat the odds and reunite before the Dowager Dance. After all, in a high school with motorcycling cheerleaders and a homecoming queen who is also the star quarterback, anything is possible.

Information About the Author:

David Levithan is a man with many hats. He has worked for Scholastic since he was 19 and has moved through the ranks to be an editorial director of Scholastic Press fiction. As an editor, he has been involved with several series including Star Wars and the Baby-sitters Club.

In 2002, he founded the PUSH imprint which is interested in “new voices and new authors in teen literature.” Through PUSH, Levithan has worked with such well-known authors such as Suzanne Collins, M.T. Anderson, and Garth Nix.

Boy Meets Boy was published in 2003 and started his career as an author. Since that time he has published a number of books. He has co-authored a couple of books and has become a crossover writer with his adult book, Lover’s Dictionary.

For more information, please visit his website, http://www.davidlevithan.com/

Genre:

  • GLBTQ
  • Romance

Curriculum Ties:

  • Personal identity
  • Plot development

Booktalking Ideas:

  • “Romance by any other name” booklist
  • “Not your typical high school”   booklist
  • Create some notes that Paul and Noah may have sent to each other.

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • Grades 9-12
  • Reading level 6.2

Challenge Issues:

  • Homosexuality and transsexual identity
  1. Listen to the critic to understand what the concerns are.
    1. Ask if he/she has read the book
    2. Ask if he/she has spoken to his/her child about the concerns.
  2. Explain rationale for including the book in the collection
    1. Provide CLA Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom and CLA’s Position Statement of Diversity and Inclusion documents
    2. Provide school’s selection policy
    3. Provide list of reviews/lists
  3. If necessary, provide a “Request for Reconsideration form”

Why did you include this book?:

  • Won the 2003 Lambda Literary Award in the Children/Young Adult section.
  • Reviews:
    • Jones, T. (2003). Boy Meets Boy (Book). School Library Journal, 49(9), 216-217.
    • Boy Meets Boy. (2005). Publishers Weekly, 252(27), 97.
    • Cart, M. (2003). Boy Meets Boy (Book). Booklist, 99(22), 1980.

Additional resources:

Levithan, D. (2004). Supporting gay teen literature. School Library Journal (January 10, 2004) retrieved at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA456885.html

David Levithan’s site: http://www.davidlevithan.com/

Lambda Awards: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/awards/

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