Saturday, 7 September 2013

Boy Meets Boy

Paul’s had plenty of boyfriends but when he meets Noah, he knows they could be something special. They’ve both been hurt in the past but this is the perfect new beginning. But Paul’s friends' lives are in disarray. Can he help them and have time to date? Will this be the one to last?

Boy Meets Boy is a sweet little high school story but not a lot more. Its main draw is that it doesn’t make homosexuality an issue, it just exists and it’s a story about a boy meeting a boy that he likes. And then promptly goes and screws things up. Just like any other high school crush story. I really started to dislike Paul; in his effort to help everyone, he ends up in awkward situations. It just felt like he didn’t think much about his actions beyond the moment.

There were quite a lot of supporting characters and none of them were covered in depth. I liked Tony’s story; the gay son of religious parents who believe his sexuality is damning him to hell and therefore like him hanging out with girls. I thought there were some really lovely moments with him. I didn’t quite get Joni’s motivation to date Chuck, a character who just oozes nobbiness. There are some wonderful little observations too that would make me pick up something else of his.

“The first time I met you,” he says, not directly to me, not directly to the floor – somewhere in between, “I honestly couldn’t believe that someone like you could exist, or even a town like yours could entirely exist.”

I’m with Noah on this. It’s a lovely utopian vision of a school where everyone is accepted, with a high percentage of gay kids and even a drag queen on the football team. I can sort of see Levithan is saying, look this is normal, but it all came across a little twee. And what on earth is that bit about a teacher telling a five year old that he (the boy) is gay about? I don’t think anyone at that age knows their sexuality; the opposite sex is generally considered weird and to be avoided. It’s hard to believe in these kids’ lives when you don’t quite believe their world.

Boy Meets Boy has recently been reissued by HarperCollins and is available in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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Also reviewed @ Pen to Paper | Book Nerd Reviews | The Aussie Zombie



Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

11 comments:

  1. Hmm, I'm glad I didn't request this now. I do like that being gay was presented as normal, but the rest of it sounds a bit corny for me.

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  2. I hadn't heard of this title--at first I thought it might be the UK title for his new book, Two Boys Kissing, but then you said it was a reissue. Sounds a bit too idealized, but I still may be on the lookout for it.

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    1. I think it's his first book, which might excuse some of the issues :)

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  3. It sounds a bit weird altogether, though I like the idea of gay being normal. What I don't like about that is that hetero is sometimes presented as abnormal, because so many characters in such books are gay. Is that also the case with this novel?

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    1. I don't think heterosexuality is presented as abnormal in this at all. It's just focused on the gay characters in the same way that the majority of books focus on the straight characters. Paul also tries to help Joni and Ted out with their relationship problems, both straight characters. It's not an us versus them scenario if that's what you're suggesting? I can't say I've really read any books that portray heterosexuality as abnormal.

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  4. I've had my eye on this one for a while, though not convinced enough to actually buy it, though it has recently appeared in Waterstone's with a pretty new cover (I am so shallow.) I saw it in the library ages ago but it seems to be always on loan.

    My general rule is that if I keep returning to look at a book, I'm clearly interested enough to read it.

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  5. Thanks for the review Ellie, sounds different and I would like to read it but I think I will wait to come across it rather than wishlist adding it.

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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  6. I'm writing my review of this right now. I really liked it, although it felt strange, I couldn't quite get my head around it at first.

    I think with Paul being told at 5 that he was 'definitely gay' was meant to make the point that you don't choose your sexuality, it's just something you are.

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  7. Bummer, Ellie.

    I'm becoming quite the fan of Levithan's books, though I haven't gotten around to this one yet. What I think I like most is how, in many of his works, it's not about gay/transgenered people, they just are who they are and it's a part of the story, which is a very natural thing. I also really enjoy how he manages to bring something new to the table in each of his works. I'm eager to see what he brings to the table in this one.

    If anything, I really ADORE his prose. His writing is just gorgeous!

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  8. I was really looking forward to reading this! Not so much now. I don't think I've ever read a book centered on homosexuals so I thought this would be interesting but it doesn't sound that different from other teen romance books out there. What a shame :(

    Laura @ What's Hot?

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    1. I think that's the point, that it should be no different from heterosexual romances. There's a lot of writers covering gay teens now though so hopefully you'll find something!

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