Review of Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan.
Quickie: Absolutely adorable. It will melt your heart.
Full: Noah's a new boy in town. His parents travel all the time and move the family continuously to be closer to their work. This time though, they've promised to stay and settle. It means more traveling for them, less time at home, but Noah and his sister will be able to stay and make friends that they can keep.
Paul has recently been dumped by Kyle. It's all very dramatic; Kyle dated Paul for a while but then decided that he (Kyle) wasn't gay. In fact, his brief stint as a gay boy was all Paul's fault. Kyle dumped Paul and spread all kinds of lovely rumors around the school. Paul's been coasting through life ever since, hanging out with his best friends, Joni and Tony, and just being a regular guy.
Paul meets Noah. There's a spark. A real spark, the kind that keeps you tingling for days. The kind you can't seem to forget even though your life keeps on going forward, with or without you. Paul is mesmerized by Noah. By his easy smile, his genuinely interesting personality, and of course, there's that spark.
He'd like to talk about it with Joni, but she's started seeing this guy Chuck, who Paul really doesn't approve of or connect with. Tony's parents are super religious and are petrified that Tony (also gay) will go and "be gay" with some boy. They think that his sexuality is like a switch, if you hit the right button you can switch it off. So they're desperately trying to do just that... by sending him to church camps and watching his every move. It's hard for Tony to get out of the house, let alone talk to Paul (a gay boy! *gasp*).
Meanwhile, Kyle (Paul's ex) has started acknowledging Paul in the hallways again, even giving him a smile and a few words. Paul is intrigued, but wary. Is Kyle playing a trick on him? Is Kyle gay, or not? Seeing him making out in the halls with that girl says "not", but if that's the case, then why is he speaking to Paul again? And most importantly, how does he feel about all this? Will this change things?
Confusion abounds, but one thing's for sure: Paul like Noah, and Noah likes Paul....Right?
This book is lovely. David Levithan can write a love story, no doubt about that. It's whimsical and emotional and so very honest. Paul's a sweet kid and I was rooting for him the whole time. He's sure of himself, but awkward. He's insightful, but oblivious. You can't help but love him.
In fact, the whole cast of characters is lovable. Infinite Darlene, the homecoming queen/football quarterback has sass and personality coming out her pores. Joni, the bestie-since-second-grade-turned-mortal-enemy-(maybe). Kyle, the confused but endearing ex-boyfriend who sort of dumped Paul in a very cruel way. Chuck, the lughead. Tony, the boy who knows who he is but has to wear a mask at home and live two very different lives. Noah, the new boy who's sweet, charming, artistic, and all around wonderful. And of course Paul, the one who ties them all together.
The best part about this book for me, is that I knew Paul. Or, I knew a few mixes of Paul, Noah, Tony and Kyle. Chances are, you know one of them too, or maybe a combination. I felt like I was reading the story of my best friend through middle school. He was a lot like Noah, with a few bits of Paul. His room was an amazing place, it was his personality turned decor. He was strong and vulnerable and his energy and enthusiasm was contagious. I saw all of that as I read Boy Meets Boy. I felt like I was seeing though my old best friend's eyes. And it made me love him and all the characters just that much more.
Of all the LGBTQ books I've read, this is my favorite (so far). The honesty and understanding this book gives the reader is simply delightful. What is Boy Meets Boy? It's a love story. And it's not one to miss.
5 out of 5 stars.
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