Named to the 2013 National Book Award Longlist
A 2014 Stonewall Honor Book
In his follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Every Day, David Levithan, co-author of bestsellers Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, 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 locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing (former) couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.
The Los Angeles Times called Two Boys Kissing "Open, frank and ultimately optimistic," and Entertainment Weekly gave the novel an A-. With Levithan's trademark sharp-witted, warm-hearted tales of teenage love, Two Boys Kissing will appeal to fans of Levithan's breakthrough debut, Boy Meets Boy, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013.
About David Levithan
"A story doesn't have to always reflect reality; it can create reality as well."--David Levithan
David Levithan is a children’s book editor in New York City. He lives in Hoboken, NJ.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Levithan finds it downright baffling to write about himself, which is why he's considering it somewhat cruel and usual to have to write this brief bio. The factual approach (born '72, Brown '94, book '03) seems a bit dry, while the emotional landscape (happy childhood, happy adolescence - give or take a few poems - and happy adulthood so far) sounds horribly well-adjusted. The only addiction he's ever had was a brief spiral into the arms of diet Dr Pepper, unless you count My So-Called Life episodes as a drug. He is evangelical in his musical beliefs and deathly afraid that his bio will end up sounding like the final paragraph in an on-line dating ad.
Luckily, David is much happier talking about his book than he is talking about himself. Boy Meets Boy and The Realm of Possibility started as stories he wrote for his friends for Valentine's Day (something he's done for the past sixteen years) and turned themselves into teen novels. When not writing during spare hours on weekends, David is a senior editor at Scholastic, and the founding editor of the PUSH imprint, which is devoted to finding new voices and new authors in teen literature. With Boy Meets Boy, he basically set out to write the book that he dreamed of getting as an editor - a book about gay teens that doesn't conform to the old norms about gay teens in literature (i.e. it has to be about a gay uncle, or a teen who gets beaten up for being gay, or about outcasts who come out and find they're still outcasts, albeit outcasts with their outcastedness in common.) He's often asked if the book is a work of fantasy or a work of reality, and the answer is right down the middle - it's about where we're going, and where we should be.
Of Boy Meets Boy, the reviewer at Booklist wrote: "In its blithe acceptance and celebration of human differences, this is arguably the most important gay novel since Annie on My Mind and seems to represent a near revolution in the publishing of gay-themed books for adolescents" - which pretty much blew David away when he read it. Viva la near revolution!
BOY MEETS BOY
“In a genre filled with darkness, torment, and anxiety, this is a shiningly affirmative and hopeful book.”—The Bulletin, Starred
“Levithan’s prophecy of a hate-free world in which everyone loves without persecution makes this a provocative and important read for all young adults, gay or straight.”—School Library Journal, Starred
Entertainment Weekly, August 21, 2013:
"Author David Levithan's poignant novel follows the stories of gay teens joined through an unconventional protest. A-"
The Washington Post, August 20, 2013:
"Over the years, Levithan has consistently explored new creative territory...'Two Boys Kissing' reveals his command of an intriguing, complex narrative with an unusual point of view: the first-person plural. This 'we' is the combined voice of men who died during the AIDS pandemic several decades ago. As the boys’ stories become more closely entwined and connect in a satisfying finale, the reflections of these 'shadow uncles' lend a quality of retrospection that is rare (and refreshing) in YA literature."
The Los Angeles Times, September 1, 2013:
"Open, frank and ultimately optimistic."
The Wall Street Journal Speakeasy, October 24, 2013:
"'Two Boys Kissing’ couldn’t have arrived at a more timely moment, just months after the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. The shift in society’s attitudes towards the LGBT community has long been embraced by many in the young adult crowd. Levithan seems to intuitively understand this generation—and his new book allows him to bring their particular struggles and joys to life."
Newsday, August 21, 2013:
"We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, goes an oft-paraphrased line. David Levithan gives vivid voice to it in his latest YA novel, 'Two Boys Kissing'.
BookPage, August 28, 2013:
"Levithan’s powerful, multifaceted novel explores just how far things have come for many gay teens—and how far things still need to go."
Starred Review, The Bulletin, September 2013:
"Both celebratory and elegiac… There’s much to discuss here about identity, about social media, about community—and it would be a particularly stellar choice for a multi-generational LGTBQ-focused book club.”
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, June 3, 2013:
"A landmark achievement from a writer and editor who has helped create, in literature, a haven for queer youth."
"No one does heart-pulling emotion like Levithan, and this book, coming a decade after his groundbreaking debut, 'Boy Meets Boy,' has special resonance."
- Gayle Forman, author of Just One Day and Just One Year, for Bookish.com
"Brilliant, moving, important, and wise."
- Jennifer E. Smith, author of This Is What Happy Looks Like and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
WAMC Northeast Public Radio, September 19, 2013:
"Two Boys Kissing will make you laugh and cry, but best of all, it will make you relive those perfect innocuous moments of finding and then being with your first love."
Romantic Times Book Review, September 2013:
"Thought provoking, poignant and beautifully written, above all this is an unbelievably important book for anyone who has struggled with identity, love and loss. The omniscient narration is incredibly moving and appreciative of the fragility of life. A groundbreaking addition to the LGBT genre and community."
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2013:
"The novel has genuine moments of insight and wisdom...Inspiring."
Hypable.com, August 23, 2013:
"Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan takes the stories of all these boys and spins them into an interconnecting web that will leave you emotionally exhausted and absolutely thrilled to have read something so beautiful and unique...Will educate, entertain and move you."
Bookish.com, May 6, 2013:
"Levithan takes contemporary to a whole new space with this novel, finding new ground in storytelling around important issues that directly affect teens today."
Booklist, August 1, 2013:
"Levithan leans intensely into this work...There’s little doubt that this title, with its weight, significance, and literary quality, will find its way into LGBTQ and wider cannons. Stock up."
School Library Journal, September 2013:
"The story will engage readers, both female and male."
"The high level of imaginative and intuitive empathy that is apparent in all of his works is especially strong here—as not only are his protagonists fully realized, but so are the voices of the collective narration, whose experiences are as varied as the characters on the page... It is the best book I have read this year."
- Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Books Inc.
"Everyone needs to read this, not just YA. How perfectly David puts the past, present and future into one small novel. Now, as soon as my eyes stop watering and the goose bumps on my arms go away, I can continue my day."
- Carolyn Anbar, Watchung Booksellers
"Levithan's choice of narrator was inspiring and heartbreaking. Giving a voice to that generation and exposing young kids to those voices, blew me away...Two Boys Kissing feels like a very important book, something I think everyone should read and something that's touched me in a way no YA has in a really long time."
- John Kwiatkowski, Murder by the Book
FINALIST Lambda Literary Award