Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Two Boys Kissing

New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS. While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are lock...

Title:Two Boys Kissing
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0307931900
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:196 pages

Two Boys Kissing Reviews

  • Blythe
    Mar 20, 2013

    This review is not really a review concerning the book's merits so much as me rambling about how important I feel this book is for gay teens. My apologies.

    has officially cemented m

    This review is not really a review concerning the book's merits so much as me rambling about how important I feel this book is for gay teens. My apologies.

    has officially cemented my love, appreciation, and respect for David Levithan. It has cemented my love, appreciation, and respect for him both as a person, from the standpoint of someone who is and always will be an active supporter of gay rights, and it has also cemented my love, appreciation, and respect for him as a writer, from the standpoint of a reader who is in a state of endless wonder and awe every time she picks up a novel of Levithan's.

    However, as much as I found myself loving Levithan's previous novel,

    , I have to say that

    is my absolute favorite work by him.

    is important.

    is gorgeous--stunning.

    is poignant, and it's touching, and it's an utter charm. And it needs to be read.

    The beginning may be rough for some readers--it was for me, however slightly. I initially found the narrative of gay men having lost their lives to AIDs at first odd, and to be honest, rather disconcerting. I found their use of "we" to note something, as well as their looking upon their lives and their deaths, irrevocably creepy at times. But as the novel progressed I grew to appreciate the originality of the narrative, and can say with absolute certainty that

    would in no way bear the same amount of poignancy had it not been narrated by, as the synopsis put it, a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDs.

    Levithan tackles multiple perspectives throughout the course of

    --some more interesting than others, some more emotional, but all utterly captivating and spellbinding. Each perspective follows a gay teenager and their daily plights being just that--a gay teen, in a world where such a thing is so deeply frowned upon by far too many. This is a problem so many gay teens face today: their struggle, seeing such contempt towards homosexuals as a whole almost every time they turn on the television, turn on the radio, go on the internet. Their hesitation to be who they are and embrace it, in fear of disappointing or even shaming their own parents, who are supposed to love them regardless. Their fear of being shunned and ignored eternally by their friends, with whom yesterday they were friendlier than ever, all for being who they are.

    This is what David Levithan depicts with

    , sometimes subtly, sometimes not. With one perspective, the fear of opening yourself up the others and welcoming yourself to love, in the fear that your partner may not accept you for who you are fully. Another perspective, depicting the fear of opening yourself up to your parents, and the everlasting fear of how they may react. And another, portraying the situation every gay teen dreads most: your parents don't accept you for who you are. While one was lacking the depth that I feel could have made it have more of an impact, each of these perspectives is met with such beauty and emotion seeping through the pages that you can't help but feel that each of these teenagers--Harry, Craig, Cooper, Avery, Ryan, Neil, and Peter, are real people. And the fact of the matter is, they are.

    The real-life parallels of these characters may not go by the names of the characters in the novel, but the undeniable fact is that people like the aforementioned characters do exist in real life, and their problems exist within each of those people, as well. Each of the problems the characters face in this novel are ones real teens, and even adults, face daily. But the thing is, they end up getting through it all, with support from friends. Support from family. Support from strangers. There will always be the haters. There will be the people who oppose what you stand for and make it a point to let you know. But then again, isn't there always? Among all of the valuable things to be understood while reading

    , this much is true, and I feel is crucial for any gay teenagers living in the constant fear of disproval, dereliction, or anything else: for every person to go out of their way to strike down everything you are, and everything you stand for, there will be ten people waiting there for you to help you restore the damage and build you up again. And that, in essence, is

    .

    To quote the Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDs that narrates this beautiful novel, please know that the above is true. Please, always keep these things in mind.

  • Ari
    Apr 03, 2013

    THE COVER!

    CAN.NOT.WAIT!!!

    EDIT AFTER READ

  • Melanie
    Aug 15, 2013

    See more reviews at

    I have never read a GLBT book in my life. I have never had an opinion on gay people. I have never needed to. I have never really thought about gay people.

    See more reviews at

    I have never read a GLBT book in my life. I have never had an opinion on gay people. I have never needed to. I have never really thought about gay people. I have never. So I thought it was time to read a GLBT book. I decided to see what my opinion on gay people would be. I thought what it would be like to have an opinion. I have read Two Boys Kissing and I fell in love with it. It's unconditionally relevant and wistful. Hopeful and full of meaning. This is my first David Levithan book. This is my fist GLBT novel. And this will not be my last.

    The narrative view-point of Two Boys Kissing is not something that I have come across before. It's the voice of hundreds of dead gay teens, who died out from AIDs. Unlike other readers who took some time to grow to love this narration, I connected with it instantly. The included quote at the top is an example of what I mean. The inclusive pronoun, 'we', made this book even more heartbreakingly beautiful than ever. There are scenes of urgency, rage and pure joy, and I could feel these emotions so vividly thanks to the narration which clearly took a large advantage. Trust me people, they don't sound like a mob of zombies.

    What makes Two Boys Kissing such an imperative read for basically everyone, is that it follows the stories of different gay teens in different relationship statuses. Craig and Harry don't care what other people think, they may not necessarily be a couple anymore but they are planning to set a new record for the longest kiss. In front of their school. Peter and Neil have been a couple for a while now, but there are terms to be met and hidden facts to be faced. There's Avery and Ryan who have only just met, and don't know what to do next. But then there's Cooper. Alone. Confused. Falling from reality. Not caring anymore. All these boys have a story worth sharing, all share their situations. All share how their friends and families deal with the new facts that; Craig, Harry, Avery, Ryan, Cooper, Neil and Peter are gay. I surprised myself, by loving every single character David Levithan placed forward, each and every single one of them felt genuine. I could feel their pain, anger, hope and love. Two Boys Kissing ached with its rawness.

    There are messages here to realise. David Levithan did not write this novel for the sake of just writing it. He wrote it to the world. He wrote it to gay males, more importantly. Two Boys Kissing is about falling in and out of love. Embracing and hiding from the truth. Fighting and cowering from families and friends. Two Boys Kissing may just be following a few days of a few people's lives, but the way it's addressed and presented is so ground shaking.

    All in all, Two Boys Kissing is phenomenal. Beautiful. And I highly recommend it. Everything about this novel was authentic and moving.

  • Emily May
    Nov 14, 2013

    This kind of book is still very much needed. What the blurb doesn't tell you is that this feels like several short stories woven into one, all of them surrounding the theme of gay t

    This kind of book is still very much needed. What the blurb doesn't tell you is that this feels like several short stories woven into one, all of them surrounding the theme of gay teenage boys coming out, having relationships with other boys, and coming to terms with who they are. The central plot of the two boys participating in a kissathon is really only one small part of this book, the rest is built around it.

    There are some beautifully written passages that are brimming with genuine emotion. It was a quick read and I breezed through the individual stories of young men dealing with families who wouldn't accept them, online hookup sites, and first love.

    What I like most about David Levithan and what makes me want to check out his books every time - even when some didn't work for me in the past - is his experimental style. He never writes the same style of book. He never attempts to fit in with trends that are taking over the market. He hits you with something unique and surprising, if often depressing, every single time. And once again he has delivered something strange and completely different - a chorus of narrators who are the generation of gay men that have died from AIDs.

    Sadly, this is one of those cases where the style of narration just didn't work for me. The "voice" of the AIDs victims was exhausting and sometimes stopped me from fully engaging with the individual stories, especially when the novelty factor ran out. Sometimes experimental styles get it just right - as I believe Levithan did with

    - but this one wasn't doing it for me. I also found some of the victims' monologue to be repetitive.

    My face during some of the more emotional parts of this book.

    Whatever I may say about it, this book is very relevant and some of the stories are incredibly sad and/or moving. I recommend

    but with some hesitation. How much do you enjoy experimental writing styles that offer something completely different and totally weird? If your answer is "a lot", then this could be your next favourite book.

  • Nancy
    Feb 16, 2014

    Don’t let the provocative cover stop you from picking up this book. It is about two boys, Craig and Harry, who are still good friends, but no longer together, locking lips to break the world’s record for the longest kiss.

    Don’t let the provocative cover stop you from picking up this book. It is about two boys, Craig and Harry, who are still good friends, but no longer together, locking lips to break the world’s record for the longest kiss.

    Peter and Neil are an established couple whose kisses may not be nearly as intense, but are no less meaningful.

    Avery, the boy with pink hair who the world thinks is a girl, and Ryan, are dealing with the anxiety that is common in all new relationships.

    Cooper is not in a relationship at all. He struggles with his loneliness, spending time on his computer texting strangers and having difficulty with parents who cannot accept him as he is.

    Even though this was a fast and easy read, this is a powerful, moving, beautiful story that should be read by everyone. It deals with the past and present. It explores the lives, loves and struggles of a group of teenagers. It shows that as cruel and mean-spirited as people can be, they can also be kind, supportive and generous.

    I’ll admit I was reluctant to read this book because of the unusual narration. Told by the voices of men who lost their lives to AIDS, I saw my friend Mark’s ghost among them, observing the lives of boys who share some similarities but in many ways are living a very different kind of life than he was.

    Mark would have been ecstatic that gays now have the right to marry in the US, but he would have lamented the loss of all the clubs and bookstores that closed once Internet changed the world. He worked in the computer industry and would have adapted, though. He would have embraced the chat sites and discovered that his social life would be as active as it was when he was frequenting the clubs. The easy access to all kinds of books, more than the stores ever stocked, would have made him happy too. He probably would have even stopped subscribing to those porny magazines I had to pick up from all over the apartment just before my mom dropped by.

    Minor complaints aside, I am sad that Mark died so young and missed so much. He was always out and proud, but even he would have appreciated how far we’ve come in spite of all the problems that still exist.

    He would have loved this book. Even though it made me cry, it touched me deeply. It is full of love, hope and wisdom. As soon as I return the book to the library, I’m going to buy copies to push on other people.

    Very highly recommended.

  • Lola  Reviewer
    Dec 02, 2014

    has just become my new

    author. Every time I will find my heart aching for an LGBT book or a meaningful read, it’s in

    works that I will look forward to plunge myself. And there are so many books of his that I have not had the occasion to devour yet.

    It’s with a lingering sensation that I turned the last page. While this may be the kind of story that

    a certain conclusion to its plot (and you can feel it), I didn’t want to let go of the endearing, realistic

    has just become my new

    author. Every time I will find my heart aching for an LGBT book or a meaningful read, it’s in

    works that I will look forward to plunge myself. And there are so many books of his that I have not had the occasion to devour yet.

    It’s with a lingering sensation that I turned the last page. While this may be the kind of story that

    a certain conclusion to its plot (and you can feel it), I didn’t want to let go of the endearing, realistic and remarkably well-developed and original characters that became so dear to me with every new page read.

    I always thought that you couldn’t love

    character in a book at a same intensity level or some maybe not at all – and still think so – for they are all different and sharing various traits that may or may not appeal to you. It can also depend on the degree of connection and reliability you feel toward those characters in question. Nonetheless, it’s with joy that I can announce that every character in this book felt utterly unforgettable to me and I like to think that they will not be the cause of you not enjoying the novel after all – if such thing happens. Of course, there are some that are very flawed: there is no ‘perfect’ being in this and that only made

    look even more authentic. I have no negative comment to make regarding those elements.

    There is one ‘main’ story inside this and three less prominent but still important ones that are linked in a way to the principal one. You can also see it as four short stories being connected to one another due to something they all have in common and with characters that are beautifully crafted and looking for something of most importance: love & self-discovery and acceptance.

    I have to admit that I had read the blurb a while ago before starting this novel, and so had no idea who actually narrated the story. Although, throughout my read, I had these hypotheses: could they be guardian angels? A metaphor for hope, love and courage brought to life somehow? Dead relatives? At some point, I ran out of ideas and believed what prettied the writing and tone for me most, which worked well in the end. It is after reading the actual summary that I realized how I searched too far and deep when the answer was right in front of me. Nonetheless, my reading experience wasn’t affected and I actually appreciated having the possibility to ‘choose’ my narrators. I felt the same while reading

    (a quite interesting book!)

    This is not my first read by

    , since I have devoured

    sometime ago, but that is a book that he co-wrote with

    and I was perhaps, somehow, too caught up in Green’s words – because of how excited I was to be reading an LGBT book by him – to be astonished as I am now by Levithan’s. Incidentally, regarding this novel, the author’s note was absolutely perfect and so wonderfully honest! I feel like I am going to be amazed by this writer some more, if I continue reading his works. Which I will. For sure.

    This was the loveliest of surprises I had this month - hum, that doesn't say much since I read it in December but I do mean it! - and would love for you to feel the same! If the story and plot don’t end up making you react in any positive way, there are still good chances the writing and characters will. It is not a book for everyone, I agree, but it contains such…such – I am lost for words – marvellous ingredients that I cannot help but excitingly recommend it to you!

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    Jul 11, 2015

    This small little 196 page book packs more of a punch that some 800 page puppy squishers that I've read. Just beautiful.

    Craig and Henry: they are the two boys kissing. Going for the world's record longest kiss.

    Peter and Neil: already a couple

    Avery and Ryan: new to a relationship and trying to make their way

    And Cooper-who feels so lost

    Tariq. My favorite character in the whole book.

    Just read this book.

    This small little 196 page book packs more of a punch that some 800 page puppy squishers that I've read. Just beautiful.

    Craig and Henry: they are the two boys kissing. Going for the world's record longest kiss.

    Peter and Neil: already a couple

    Avery and Ryan: new to a relationship and trying to make their way

    And Cooper-who feels so lost

    Tariq. My favorite character in the whole book.

    Just read this book.

  • juan carlos
    May 15, 2016

    SOY GAY Y SOY FELIZ SIÉNDOLO :)

    TARDE 2 SEMANAS EN LEER ESTE LIBRO, POR QUE NO ESTABA BIEN EMOCIONALMENTE, PERO AHORA QUE LO HE ACABADO, SE QUE ERA EL LIBRO INDICADO PARA SALIR ADELANTE.

    Este libro es un muegano de voces y emociones. Un compendio de alegrías, desesperaciones y tristezas. Dos chicos besándose es una monografía y descripción perfecta de la belleza de la diversidad, la naturalidad y el amor.

    DAVID LEVITHAN ES UN GENIO Y GRAN ESCRITOR.

    ¿PARA QUÉ LEER DOS CHICOS BESANDOSE?

    1. El tema d

    SOY GAY Y SOY FELIZ SIÉNDOLO :)

    TARDE 2 SEMANAS EN LEER ESTE LIBRO, POR QUE NO ESTABA BIEN EMOCIONALMENTE, PERO AHORA QUE LO HE ACABADO, SE QUE ERA EL LIBRO INDICADO PARA SALIR ADELANTE.

    Este libro es un muegano de voces y emociones. Un compendio de alegrías, desesperaciones y tristezas. Dos chicos besándose es una monografía y descripción perfecta de la belleza de la diversidad, la naturalidad y el amor.

    DAVID LEVITHAN ES UN GENIO Y GRAN ESCRITOR.

    ¿PARA QUÉ LEER DOS CHICOS BESANDOSE?

    1. El tema de la literatura juvenil, esta muy bien tratado por el escritor, usa frases coloquiales y matices reales de la vida de cualquier chico homosexual.

    2. La manera en que plasma el tema de la homofobia y la critica es creíble y muy bien sustentada.

    3. la narrativa es original, ya que es la primera novela que se narra a través de varias voces.

    4. El tema del rechazo, la aceptación de padres, es creíble y te identificas.

    5. Las frases de gritar y decir SOY GAY, en este libro te marcan profundamente.

    6. El final es esperanzador y lleno de realidad. BUSCA SIEMPRE VIVIR PARA CONOCER TU SER DEL FUTURO, gracias David Levithan, era la frase que necesitaba escuchar en este momento de mi vida.

    7. El tema del significado del amor, la confianza y el beso, es tratado por el autor de una manera gigantezcamente creativa y llena de frases llegadoras.

    8. La muerte en este libro, es una idea muy bien planteada y sensibiliza al lector.


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