David Levithan is currently one of the greatest YA authors today. Constantly pushing inventive writing and unique storytelling devices, all aimed at capturing the attention of teenagers and inspiring a new generation of readers and writers. What’s more, he does a powerful job of portraying LGBT characters in these novels as well. And now, 10 years after his breakthrough novel Boy Meets Boy, Levithan captures gay culture in 2013 in Two Boys Kissing.
Told from the perspective of the Gays of the Past, who speak in “we” pronoun form, we follow a weekend in the lives of various gay teenagers as two ex-boyfriends/best friends try to break the record for the world’s longest kiss. Levithan gives us a glimpse at nearly every type of teen in love from the newly infatuated couple to the depressed, suicidal loner. It’s a mosaic of characters who accurately portray what it is like to be a gay teen in America today.
Two Boys Kissing (inspired by a Walt Whitman poem) feels too contrived in the beginning: the “we” voice is convoluted and some of the more poignant storylines feel emotionally manipulative. But once you become fully immersed in the novel you’ll be unable to stop reading. You soon forgive the novel its contrivances for its overall message, a hopeful and inspiring one for gay teens. And you’ll be reminded just how wonderful Levithan’s writing truly is.
Posted by xoxojk on September 10, 2013
(The following Twit-cap contains minimal spoilers)
- This wintry opening scene is very much like the opening #GameofThrones scene
- Elizabeth Grey? Does she undergo a journey similar to Gandalf to become the WHITE Queen?
- (She’s about to perform some magic, so maybe?)
- This is possibly the most feminine that Janet McTeer has ever looked
- Elizabeth can’t be bother to change her clothes before her next meeting with the King? How poor IS she?
- At least she took those 15th Century self defense classes
- Must stop self from picking everyone’s corresponding #GameofThrone’s character
- (Instead of a Kingslayer there’s a Kingmaker)
- “So this is love?” –King Edward bursts into the classic CINDERELLA song
- How do you forget the ring to your own secret wedding?
- Max Irons can be my King
- This Seer business is intriguing but also v silly
- And the dialogue could really use some work
- “Your daughter will never be royal.” –Duchess Cecily bursts into the popular Lorde single
- #TheWhiteQueen is equal parts #GameofThrones and #TheTudors and I’m totally OK with that
- I should also really brush up on my War of the Roses knowledge…or just keep watching the rest of the season…
Posted by xoxojk on September 6, 2013
Words are powerful. And no one is more aware of this than the mysterious organization of “poets” who study and exploit special command words that allow them to control your mind by breaking down your mental defenses. Finding himself caught up in their conspiracy to control a very powerful word is Wil, a man suffering from peculiar amnesia who is kidnapped by these poets because of his innate ability to avoid persuasion. As we learn more about these poets and their manipulations, we grow ever more suspicious of the characters.
Max Barry has crafted a thrilling novel that literally hinges on words. It would feel like science fiction if it weren’t so grounded in actual language. But the real mind game for the reader centers on the factual revelations, which are scattered throughout the novel. As Wil’s chapters move forward in time with action-heavy sequences, we glean very little knowledge about the poets. It’s through Emily’s chapters that we learn about the organization, and see how the main players may not actually be acting in everyone’s best interest. It soon becomes difficult to root for any character to come out on top, and that’s when the story starts getting most interesting.
The novel is riddled with plot twists (many of which are obvious) that play on our expectations for these characters. You will be immediately absorbed in the novel after just one or two pages. Barry expertly captures your attention and takes you on a fulfilling ride that requires your full attention. This is one literary thriller that fans of language will adore.
Posted by xoxojk on September 5, 2013