Two Boys Kissing
by David Levithan
Reviewed by Sera Rivers
New York Times bestselling author David Levithan creates a vision for change with his latest young adult novel. Two Boys Kissing delivers an intimate glimpse into the lives of seven teenage boys who navigate their sexuality, family dynamics, friendships, and solidarity. Craig and Harry decide to publicly set the world’s record for longest kiss—even though they are no longer a couple. But Craig’s parents must not find out he’s gay. Peter and Neil have been together for a year. They have slipped into that comfortable phase of coupledom but wonder if their relationship can last. Avery and Ryan meet at a gay prom and marvel at their instant attraction to each other. But Avery worries Ryan won’t accept his secret. And then there’s Cooper, whose emotional state deteriorates into self-destructive behavior.
In the tradition of Nancy Garden’s groundbreaking 1982 novel Annie on My Mind, Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing revolutionizes LGBT young adult literature. Its unequivocal cover photo—two teenage boys kissing—is a first for young adult literature and has created much excitement, well before the book’s release date. The narrative style is also unique. Levithan tells the story via a Greek chorus of gay men lost to the AIDS epidemic. The chorus illuminates the continuous struggle the gay community has endured for decades, debunks stigmas about AIDS and homosexuality, and imparts wisdom for the gay youth of today—adding an additional layer of complexity to the multiple plotlines. Readers will engage with the well-crafted characters and enthralling, honest plot. Highly recommended for teens and adults, Levithan’s novel advocates for social change, while encouraging communication about important issues that are often difficult to discuss without prompting.
Two Boys Kissing is not only about accepting all forms of love; it is a celebration of love.
Sera Rivers is a freelance writer and writing coach. Publications include Thalo.com and “A Lonely Education” blog on Psychology Today. Visit SeraRivers.com for more information.