Two Boys Kissing

Two Boys KissingTwo Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on August 27th 2013
Pages: 196
ISBN: 0307931900
Buy on Amazon

“Love is so painful, how could you ever wish it on anybody? And Love is so essential, how could you ever stand in its way?”

I don’t even know how to do this book justice – so I will simply say READ IT. Seriously, read it! This is a book I want to go out and tell everyone I know about!

“There is no reason that we should ever be ashamed of our bodies or ashamed of our love.”

I loved, loved, loved the narration of the book by the Greek Chorus of gay men who died of AIDS. It was simply beautiful and extremely well written. There were sections I went back and read again and again and then a third time. In this book seventeen-year-old former boyfriends, Harry and Craig attempt to beat the world record of kissing. While doing so, they face many issues and have many experiences together. All the while, other teens in this book are struggling with gender identity, acceptance, their parents learning they are gay, the relationships they have with others, and issues such as bullying and rejection. By the way, did I mention this book is based on true events? It is.

“That joy in discovering that the right person at the right time can open all the windows and unlock all the doors.”

I opened this book and did not stop reading until the final page. I LOVED every single page of this book. Again, the writing is simply eloquent and poetic. This is a fast yet very moving book with various themes and the Author addresses the many issues his characters are facing with grace. I felt as if I were standing with the Chorus watching the events unfold. I read Leviathan before but not like this. I believe this is his swan song.

I choose to read this book for a book challenge. I had to pick a book that had been banned or had some controversy surrounding it. This book fit the controversy part. It has two teenage boys kissing on the cover and is about two seventeen-year old’s attempting to get into the Guinness book of world records for kissing. This is a YA book, but some high schools have not carried this book, or have been asked not to offer it by parents. One of the concerns is the cover, the other is the fact that teens may be bullied for checking it out, and of course there is the issue of the book being about gay teens.

The Author had this to say in response:

“Even for the kids who don’t feel comfortable taking it out of the library or buying it in the bookstore yet, they know it’s there. They know they are represented. If you see that book in your library or in your bookstore or at your friend’s house you know that there is part of you that belongs there, and is accepted. There is such power in that. I know there’s worry about kids who might be ashamed of being seen with an ‘out’ book with an ‘out’ cover — but that is far outweighed by the kids who take pride in it, or find some sort of meaning through it.

As for challenges and censors: the book is called Two Boys Kissing. It is about two boys kissing. Why hide that? What good would that do? The people who are going to object to two boys kissing on the cover were going to object to the book from the moment I typed the first sentence. They can argue it all they want. They will always be wrong.”

-read more here

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I love doing book challenges as the broaden my reading horizon and introduce me to book that I did not know existed or might not have picked up had it not been for the book challenge. So I challenge you to go out on a limb, and pick up this book, the writing is beautiful and evokes emotion.

2013 Named to the National Book Award Longlist
2014 A Lambda Literary Award Winner
2014 A Stonewall Honor Book