Two Boys Kissing
by David Levithan
Genre: Contemporary/Young Adult
Publication Date: 27 August 2013
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Summary (from Goodreads): 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 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.
Two Boys Kissing is not only a very powerful and important book to read, but it was also very entertaining. Many times, the “important” books are dreadfully boring, but Levithan manages to break this mold in this novel.
The writing style of this book is hit-or-miss. It’s narrated by a Greek chorus of gay men lost to AIDS, which may be distracting and hard to read for some people. This wasn’t the case for me. I personally really enjoyed the writing, and it had almost a poetic feeling to it. However, if you do not like experimental styles of writing, then this book probably is not for you.
I really enjoyed how the different stories were told. Even though Harry and Craig’s kiss was the focal point of the book, the other arcs still feel important. I especially liked how they sort of intertwined without it feeling forced. I liked all of the characters in this book, though my favorites were definitely Harry and Craig, which is likely because they have the most time. None of the characters wanted to make me kill anyone due to their stupidity, which is a good sign.
However, this book wasn’t perfect. The main thing that annoyed me was that sometimes Levithan would have the characters say something “deep” and “meaningful” just for the sake of something deep and meaningful being said, even though no teenager is that smart and no teenager talks like some of the characters in this book do. This is extremely common in contemporaries though, so I was expecting that going in to this book.
Overall, this book was really, really good. It made me laugh, and while it didn’t make me cry, there were times where I was pretty close. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone. It’s a very powerful story and I feel like anyone can get something out of it.