Published on: August 27th 2013
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Contemporary
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From the New York Times best-selling author of Every Day, another thoughtful and original perspective on the things we do for love.
The two boys kissing are Craig and Harry. They’re hoping to set the world record for the longest kiss. They’re not a couple, but they used to be.
Peter and Neil are a couple. Their kisses are different.
Avery and Ryan have only just met and are trying to figure out what happens next.
Cooper is alone. He’s not sure how he feels.
As the marathon progresses, these boys, their friends and families evaluate the changing nature of feelings, behaviour and this crazy thing called love.
No one but David Levithan would even consider a book about gay men from the POV of deceased gay men who died from Aids. And no one, other then David Levithan, would be able to write that book in such a haunting but beautiful way that sticks with you for hours and even days afterward.
I think it was when I found out about the POV that this book was written from that I decided that it would be one that I would HAVE to read. It is just so unique, and the way in which they talk about the differences from their past world to the way the world is today, they help us to see how much has changed, but at the same time they help us to see how much there is still to change. The POV drew me into this book, but then at the same time it was the thing that delayed my reading of it. I like interactions between characters, without them I really struggle to stick with a story (this also happened to me whilst reading Love, Rosie) and so it took me some time to really get into this story.
“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?”
We get a few different stories in this book, all about gay men but all in different situations. We have an ex-couple, a new couple, an established couple and we have a boy. They all have their own struggles, whether it is coming out of the closet or having to stand on their feet and kiss someone for over 32 hours. The story that engaged me the most had to be Craig and Harry and their marathon kiss, and I liked the way that ‘the big kiss’ managed to integrate itself into all of the boys stories, even if it was just as a quite news report on the radio.
“He has no idea how beautiful the ordinary becomes once it disappears.”
I have come to realise that David Levithan has a very unique writing style. I don’t really know how to describe it, but its there. When reading a book I usually highlight or copy down a few quotes from the book, but with David Levithan every single line he writes seems to stand out, each page is written to give you a message, to help you learn something new. There is no other author that has this effect on me, and it is incredible but at the same time it can be pretty exhausting.
“We do not start as dust. We do not end as dust. We make more than dust.
That’s all we ask of you. Make more than dust.”
Another thing really liked about this book was that it doesn’t contain any chapters. The words are written, dashing between each boys story, as if it is being told to us by someone watching the entire thing unfold before their eyes. Which is exactly how it is meant to feel. We get glimpses of our characters as they struggle and triumph, and then we are gifted to a struggle or triumph tale from our narrator. It is the mix of the two that make this book special and which showcase the extraordinary writing talent of David Levithan.
“There is the sudden. There is the eventual.
And in between, there is the living.”
It was only after reading this book that I found out it was based on the true story of Matt Daley and Bobby Canciello who in 2010 broke the guinness world record for the longest kiss at 32 hours, 30 minutes and 45 seconds.
I would recommend this book to fans of: David Levithan, characters overcoming adversity, stories about coming to terms with sexuality, “coming out” books.
Have you read Two Boys Kissing? What did you think?
Have you read any other David Levithan books as well?