Review: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

boymeetsboy 1 Review: Boy Meets Boy by David LevithanTitle: Boy Meets Boy
Author: David Levithan
Format: Paperback, 185 pages
Publisher: May 10th 2005 by Alfred A. Knopf
Source: Purchased
3 owls Review: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan


This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.

My thoughts

Paul is lucky to have a supportive and loving family who accept him as he is. He’s apparently screwed up his chance with the one who might be “the one” and his best friend Joni is losing herself in a new relationship. The ex-boyfriend (who broke his heart) seems to want him back and his closeted gay friend is drowning in his parents’ religion. It’s a big mixed-up world and Paul is only trying to find a way to make sure everyone (including himself) is okay, if not happy.

On the one hand, I liked this book a lot. It had the same writing style that made me love David Levithan so much. There were funny, sweet and sad moments. I cheered (on the inside), I smiled and I was sad. On the other hand, Paul’s neighborhood was just too fantastical to be believable and some of the story was just too cutesy for me.

The characters were the real draw in this book. Most of them are well fleshed out and complete. Even better, I actually cared about them and what happened to them. With so many characters in the story, it was difficult to know them all, but I felt like I had a good grasp on them. Infinite Darlene, the cross-dressing homecoming queen quarterback, reminded me of a kinder version of Tiny from Will Grayson, Will Grayson. She was loud and proud, but not quite as loud as Tiny. She was a wise shoulder for Paul to lean on when he felt out of control. Joni was a perfect example of a girl disappearing into her new boyfriend. Suddenly, she only wanted to do what he did, when he did. And anybody that pointed that out to her became an enemy. Several times, I wanted to smack her on the head and knock some sense into her. I felt so sorry for Tony, whose intolerant parents prevented him from being the person he wanted to be. But I was also glad he had friends like Paul and Infinite Darlene, to help him when he needed it. Poor Kyle had realized his mistakes and was trying hard to atone for them.

The writing was similar to David Levithan’s previous works, which was a good thing. It was seamless, and really helped set the scenes. Though this is considered contemporary, there really was another world for David to build, and he did it well. This also led to the things I did not like about the book. The book was based in a town that was about as inclusive as you could want. There were gays, lesbians, bisexuals, cross dressers, transvestites, straights and everything in between, and they were all just considered normal and average. While it was a nice idea (and I would love it if the whole world were like that), you have to suspend your belief long enough to enjoy the story. While that in itself wasn’t hard, it seemed to me that, in an effort to create a fun and whimsical world, David got a little too cutesy. For example, the town’s local music store is described like this:

I stop at the tune store, where I’m greeted by Javier and Jules. Half the store is Javier’s, half is Jules’s—they have entirely different musical tastes, so you have to know going in whether the tune you’re looking for is more like Javier or Jules.

The bookstore was similarly unusual:

…I’m headed to Spiff’s Videorama, where newbies are discouraged. Spiff is the reason most of us still have VCRs-he’s a tapehead like djs are vinyl freaks. He refuses to carry DVDs or any of the new technology.

Spiff arranges the videos in his store according to his own logic. American Pie is filed under Action/Adventure, while Forrest Gump sits in Porn along with other international classics. Spiff will never, ever tell you where a tape is, or even if it’s in. You have to find it for yourself or leave empty-handed. He doesn’t give a damn about any of us-just the movies.

Maybe Spiff doesn’t need his business income because he’s independently wealthy, like the janitors?

The janitor’s closet has the usual brooms, mops, and buckets. At its center, though, is a state-of-the-art computer. Our janitorial staff is one of the richest in the country because of their day-trading skills. They could have retired long ago, but they all have a compulsion to clean schools.

Seriously? This was just too cheeky for me. It was like David was trying too hard to come up with unusually cool things for this make-believe small town. The little things like that pulled me out of the story, which was a shame.

The cover is perfection. Simple, classic and just cute enough.

The sum up

Though it had issues, Boy Meets Boy was entertaining and sweet. Perfect for contemporary or romance fans.

Connect with the author



The Book Depository hardback
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Other opinions

Coffee & Wizards
Story Carnivores
In the Next Room

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I love to hear your thoughts and read every single one of them.

  1. I’m glad you read this one for the Literary Others event! I think a few others are, as well. I agree with you about Levithan’s skill at creating fluid/engaging prose and great characters. And I definitely agree with you that Levithan creates a bit of a fantasy world, here – I can see why some readers would be put off by it, but I took it another way. I saw this as Levithan creating an idyllic world – a fantasy town, indeed, where being gay or different isn’t anything out of the ordinary at all. It’s a non-existent place, but a place Levithan thinks should exist everywhere. Is it realistic? Unfortunately, no… but I’m not sure he’s going for total realism. I think he’s going for his own version of “joy.”
    Roof Beam Reader recently posted..Review: The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst (#OthersLitLGBT)My Profile

  2. What is up with that Spiff Videorama paragraph? Strange! I do want to read this, one day. I’m not big into contemps but I’m curious!
    Smash Attack recently posted..Middle Ground Blog Tour: Review + GiveawayMy Profile

  3. I agree the town is quirky, but I think you’ll find that in a lot of stories, and I’m not sure how that relates to the fact that the town is inclusive. I know that inclusivity isn’t a reality now, but I really don’t see how that relates to your description of the town as overly cutesy, nor how it would jolt anyone out of the story. Any fiction book we read we need to suspend our belief because they’re works of fiction. To expect more reality out of an author writing about LGBTQ characters than we do out of writers who focus on heterosexual characters seems wrong to me.

    But maybe that’s just me.

    Anyway, thanks for the link. I enjoyed reading your review even if I didn’t agree with a portion of it.
    Meghan @coffeeandwizards recently posted..[Top Ten Tuesday] Books to Get You Into the Halloween SpiritMy Profile

    • thebusybibliophile says:

      I didn’t mean to imply that the town’s inclusivity had anything to do with its quirkiness; I describe them as 2 separate things. In fact, I state that the inclusiveness is easy to believe, but the other parts are what I found to be too much.

      I agree that some amount of quirkiness is fun, even in a contemporary novel, but the above examples (which have nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the characters) are prime examples of “too cutesy” and what make this novel somewhat silly to me. Even if I read those in a “heterosexual” novel, I would find them unbelievavble and distracting.

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