Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan 200 pages 10/23/13 pub 2013
“Every time two boys kiss, it opens up the world a little more… This is the power of a kiss: It does not have the power to kill you. But it has the power to bring you to life.” (62)
Eight teenage boys who mostly don’t know each other, have a momentous weekend, with a sort of Greek chorus/ dead grandparents from “Family Circle” – who are gay men who died of AIDS watching, commenting, wanting, hoping to help. Craig and Harry are attempting to set a world record for the world’s longest kiss. Ryan and Avery have just met at the gay prom. Peter and Neil have been together a year. Tariq was gay- bashed three months ago and has an i-pod full of music and arranged the cameras for Craig and Harry. (This book would be a stellar audio book with all the actors and music!) Cooper’s in a world of own; thrown out of his parents’ house, he’s spiraling, in a scary way. This book in prose, is written lyrically, as if it’s poetry, which it, joyously, sometimes breaks into.
“You can’t know what’s like for us now – you will always be one step behind. Be thankful for that. You can’t know what it was like for us then – you will always be one step ahead. Be thankful for that, too.” (1)
“Two boys kissing. You know what this means. For us, it was a secret gesture. Secret because we were afraid. Secret because we were ashamed. Secret because it was a story that nobody was telling. But what power it had.”(61)
A Whitman poem is where the title comes from, sort of “We two boys together clinging,/ one the other never leaving.” (42)
Neil writes Peter a poem in YA book titles that makes me very happy, and a little envious. “’I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This’ Just Listen/ Stay/ You’re the One That I Want/ So Much Closer/ Where I Want to Be/ The Difference Between You and Me/ Positively/ Matched/ Wonder/ You Are Here/ Where I Belong/ I’ll Be There/ Along for the Ride/ The Future of Us/ Real Live Boyfriends/ Keep Holding On.” (74)
I love love love this book. I hope Levithan’s teenage audience reads this book and I hope an older crowd also reads it. It’s very wonderful, full of wonder and great.