Monday, February 28, 2011

Boy Meets Boy

"It's a fine line between love and stalking. I decide to walk it. I want to do right by Noah. Show him, Tony said. But really, I'm guided more by what Tony's shown me. I will not hesitate to say who I love."

Title: Boy Meets Boy

Author: David Levithan

ISBN: 0-375-82400-6

Publisher: Random House

Copyright: 2003

Plot Summary: Paul is a High School Sophomore in an atypical town, a town where all sexualities are accepted and freely embraced. While spending time with his best friends Joni and Tony, Paul bumps into Noah, a new boy in town, and it is love at first sight. As Paul finally tracks down and begins to date the mysterious Noah, Joni starts dating the football player Chuck. This newest couple causes tension between Joni and Paul, who disapproves, as well as between their other friends. At the same time, Paul has to try to help his troubled ex Kyle as well as Tony, whose homophobic parents begin to restrict his actions to a ridiculous degree, all the while trying to woo Noah. Paul struggles to balance all of his relationships along with schoolwork and the planning of the grand Dowager's Dance.

Critical Evaluation: The plot of Boy Meets Boy was complex and the relationships within it realistic and often familiar. Many readers will most likely recall having to deal with past relationships even as a new one begins to bud, or when a disagreement between friends blows out of proportion. The numerous twists in Paul's relationships were well plotted and the events leading to the end of the book were especially well crafted. The first person point of view and use of Paul as a narrator was a wonderful choice as it allows Paul's voice to carry the entire story, including his very individual inflection, jargon, and his unsaid emotions. Accordingly, the dialog, while at times lacking sufficient tags to denote the speaker, is witty and individual to each character both in word use and sentence structure. Boy Meet Boy has a wide selection of entertaining characters. While those closest to Paul were well-rounded, some of the side-cast disappointingly did not have enough time to become fully fleshed out.

Reader's Annotation: Paul knows he has met the perfect boy when he bumps into Noah in a bookstore. Between helping Tony with his homophobic parents, dealing with Joni's newest and worst boy friend, repairing his friendship with his ex Kyle, and planning the Dowager's Dance, Paul will have to woo Noah through this relationship storm.

Information About the Author: David Levithan was born in September 7th, 1972 and is famous for writing stories with strong male gay characters. Boy Meets Boy was his first book that he wrote as a Valentine's Day present for a friend. Since then, he has written five other books, including the novel-turned-movie Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.
Regarding his personal life, Levithan had "a happy childhood, happy adolescence - give or take a few poems - and happy adulthood so far." As he finds it rather difficult to talk about himself, visit Levithan's website for more information.

Genre: Fiction; Romance; High School Life; Gay Teens

Curriculum Ties: Gay and Lesbian Pride Month (June)

Booktalking Ideas:
  • Boy Meets Boy takes place in a town where people of all sexualities are accepted and embraced. Young gay teens do not hide themselves from guilt and instead blossom into adults like all other teens. But Paul still has the same issues normal teens do, especially when he gets a crush on the mysterious Noah and has to struggle to get to know him amongst the teen-drama of his friends and the planning of the grand Dowager Dance.
  • A great read for all teens of all sexualities, Boy Meets Boy is a story of teen romance amidst the normal stressors of everyday life. Paul, the main character, is a nice kid who looks after his friends, even the hulking Infinite Darleen who is a transgender football player. When Paul meets Noah, sparks fly and Paul quickly has to juggle his blossoming romance, his best friend's homophobic parents, his other best friend's unlikeable new boyfriend, and his ex who has started making advances.
Reading Level: 14+

Challenge Issues:
  • Boy Meets Boy is PG, containing little more than holding hands and kisses.
  • This book is an insightful look into how relationships form and how they impact others.
  • Paul and his narration is easily accessible and easy to relate to for readers.
  • Boy Meets Boy is written from a young gay teen's point of view, allowing readers to catch a glimpse into a life which actually is not too dissimilar to any other teen's.
Why This Book?: Young Adult Librarian recommendation; Lambda Literary Award Winner (2003)

Reference Page:
Levithan, D. (2003). Boy meets boy. USA: Random House.

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