Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lover's Dictionary” as Want to Read:
The Lover's Dictionary
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lover's Dictionary

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  36,192 Ratings  ·  4,592 Reviews
basis, n.

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you're in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn't pass, that's it―you're done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it's even there when you thought you were search
Hardcover, 211 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Lover's Dictionary, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Oishi Chakraborty loved the theme! of course its love but never thought that someone can put it this interesting point of view. it was a delight reading it!
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra ClareClockwork Prince by Cassandra ClareDelirium by Lauren OliverSilence by Becca FitzpatrickThe Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Best Books of 2011
97th out of 2,339 books — 7,124 voters
The Lover's Dictionary by David LevithanI Wrote This For You by pleasefindthisThe Syrian Virgin by Zack LoveSex in the Title by Zack LoveEvery Day by David Levithan
books i briskly fell in love with
1st out of 29 books — 51 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Raeleen Lemay
May 29, 2015 Raeleen Lemay rated it liked it
I really liked how brutally honest the protagonist was in the entries, but the story was too disjointed for me to love it. It was interesting how there were entries about positive things from their relationship, and then suddenly I would get three negative ones in a row. I liked that it was unpredictable, just like an actual relationship.

Enjoyable, but I was hoping for a bit more.
Emily May
Apr 03, 2014 Emily May rated it really liked it
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana
Shelves: romance, 2011

People who get super creative with books are always taking a big risk, you know... writing in verse, two authors writing a POV each, and now this: a novel written like a dictionary. A series of random words from A to Z each representing something about the protagonist's most recent relationship:

abstraction, n.
Love is one kind of abstraction. And then there are those nights when I sleep alone, when I curl into a pillow that isn't you, when I hear the tiptoe sounds that aren't yours.

It's a very
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 05, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it did not like it
Recommended to K.D. by: Angus Miranda
Read this book only when you are in love or you are in love with love.

I was neither both when I read this in one sitting last Saturday. Then last night, I happened to catch some scenes of the Korean movie Love Phobia at Cinema One. Korean filmmakers have been producing excellent, i.e., very sensitive, love stories that are much attuned to Filipino’s notion of love. That’s maybe one of the reasons why we patronize not only their movies but also their many television series.

That movie put me in th
Megs ♥
Feb 14, 2012 Megs ♥ rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, z-2012-reads
I read this today, on Valentine's Day , and it was a very interesting read. I love how this book explores the range of all different emotions people could ultimately experience in a relationship. I could really relate to so much of this book. This is not only a lovey-dovey story that will melt your heart. It is far more than that, and it is beautifully written.

The format of this book is very clever. Each page starts with a word dictionary style, and that's the format for the whole book which tel
Aug 07, 2011 Monique rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tintin, Lynai
Recommended to Monique by: Tina
I've been trying to construct a review in my head for this book all weekend, having finished reading it on Saturday morning, but no matter what I came up with, I feel that it will not fully represent the feelings I had while reading this book. To say that I loved The Lover's Dictionary would be an understatement.

In a nutshell, The Lover's Dictionary is the simple love story of a couple, left unnamed by the author, told in dictionary form. Through carefully-chosen words, their love story unfurle
Feb 17, 2011 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Practically devoured this book. It reads like poetry - sparse, raw, emotional. It could as well have been a novel-in-verse so popular right now - just rearrange sentences in fancy ways and you are all set. But Leviathan does something very neat here - he writes a love story as a series of dictionary entries, each highlighting some part of the relationship. The entries are funny, infuriating and heartbreaking. And the love story itself is messy and complicated and yet so very real and touching.

Mar 15, 2011 Alison rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2013 Jenn(ifer) rated it really liked it



re•view [ri-vyoo] noun
1. a critical article or report, as in a periodical, on a book, play, recital, or the like; critique; evaluation.

I really wish I had had the mental energy to review this book back when I finished it, but I just wasn’t in the right psychic place to do so at the time. I read it soon after finishing AM/PM, and it fit right in with that sort of flash-fiction vi
Feb 04, 2012 Jo rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jo by: Catie
blemish, n.
The slight acne scars. The penny-sized, penny-shaped birthmark right above your knee. The dot below your shoulder that must have been from when you had chicken pox in the third grade.
The scratch on your neck- did I do that?
This brief transcript of moments, written on the body, is so deeply satisfying to read.

Wow, this book was gorgeous.

It took me about an hour to read (well, technically about 40 minutes... the other 20 minutes was taken up with me scrawling large chunks of this book
Adita ✨The Slumbering Insomniac✨
Anachronism- noun
In a story, chronological order is indispensable. What? It doesn't have to be. David Levithan writes,

We do not divulge our histories chronologically. It’s not like we can sit each other down and say, “Tell me what happened,” and then rise from that conversation knowing everything. Most of the time, we don’t even realize that we’re dividing ourselves into clues.

This is not another of those stories where you expect a happy ending. Or a sad ending. Or an ending. A dictionar
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
love, n.


1. an intense feeling of deep affection.

2. feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).

3. "...a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;
Being vexed, a sea nourished with loving tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall, and a preserving sweet."

4. not a single emotion, but an umbrella term for the entire range of emotions you experience in tandem with someone else.

When you're in love, you're also in hate. When
I seriously need a word for my signature squeal.

No, really. Sometimes when I read books like Gone With the Wind or Pride and Prejudice, I squeal. Well-written romance tends to do that to me. The Lover's Dictionary did that to me.

Allow me to share one of my favorite entries.

"brash, adj.

'I want you to spend the night,' you said. And it was definitely your phrasing that ensured it. If you had said, 'Let's have sex,' or 'Let's go to my place,' or even 'I really want you,' I'm not sure we would have
Feb 14, 2013 Tina rated it really liked it
Original post at One More Page

When I first heard about David Levithan's latest book, The Lover's Dictionary, I wanted to read it only because of the clever idea behind the book. I love anything that involves wordplay. I loved the idea that this book is told using dictionary words, and for some reason, this gives me the feeling that this book has a universal feel to it, like anyone could relate to an entry here at one point. I ordered a copy off Book Depository a few weeks ago after I realized
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Apr 03, 2014 Kelly (and the Book Boar) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
Find all of my reviews at:


Since I’m a huge Levithan fangirl, I got myself prepared to write this review by deciding to flag every “definition” that made me feel something while I was reading. Well, I definitely felt some things and flagged all some of the pages . . .

My feelings ranged from magical

like in the definitions of cache and gingerly and meander and posterity and rifle and sacrosanct and transient and unabashedly and woo and yesterday

to amus
Inés Izal
Jan 28, 2016 Inés Izal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

"Y me descubrí pensando: si esto sigue adelante, si no se acaba, cuando muera, los recuerdos que deje en ti serán mi mayor logro en esta vida."

Cuanto cuquismo junto en un mismo libro, por Dios.
Jul 29, 2011 Isamlq rated it really liked it
Full disclosure, I might have blinders on where this author is concerned because every book of his that I've read, I've really enjoyed... (Nick and Norah, Dash and Lily, the Will Graysons even Naomi and Ely were all wonderful reads!) With Lover's Dictionary, I didn't know what I was getting into. But good golly, that was different... and refreshing!

It tackled what's familiar from all the possible angles. One need not strain one's imagination to see how a word applied, because it just DID. Each
Dec 29, 2014 Mimi rated it liked it
It's been a long time since a book made me cry. This book didn't make me cry. It just reminded me that I haven't cried over fiction since Charlotte's Web.

Simply put, thisbook is an interesting way to tell amodern love story (from a writer's perspective), and an interesting way to seevocabulary words in new ways (from a reader's) while you watchdifferent aspects of a relationship come together, stay together, fall apart, and then gothrough these stages again. If you're not currently in love or in
Mar 15, 2012 Leyoh rated it it was amazing
This little book is written beautifully. Perfect reading for a Sunday evening, Id imagine it'd be good for travelling too, when you have time to ponder and look out the window. It's delightful and sombre, honest too I think. Those that really stood out were:

Abstraction, arrears, blemish, breathtaking, disarray, juxtaposition, only and yearning.

My favourite's being:

Sacrosanct and posterity.

But if I had to pick one....

rest, v. and n.

Rest with me for the rest of this.
That’s it. Come closer.
We’re h
Aug 21, 2012 Alyssa rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers who appreciate lyrical prose
The Lover’s Dictionary is my first Levithan book, but it definitely won’t be my last. I mean, when an author can come up with this,

juxtaposition, n.

It scares me how hard it is to remember life before you. I can’t even make the comparisons anymore, because my memories of that time have all the depth of a photograph. It seems foolish to play games of better or worse. It’s simply a matter of is and is no longer.

and later this,

lover, n.

I have never wanted a lover. In order to have a lover, I must
Jan 24, 2011 Paul rated it it was amazing
I saw David Levithan read the book tonight at Borders in NYC--a moving evening. David's passion comes through each line read, each written. I love his books, but I didn't know he was such a wonderful performer. He feels deeply as he reads, and he's hilarious when he isn't breaking your heart--no, he's hilarious when he's breaking your heart too. His is a beautiful heart, such a generous artist. The Lover's Dictionary is one of the most creative novels I've read. Alphabetized entries headed by be ...more
Sep 06, 2011 Maggie rated it really liked it
I can't remember what grade I was in when I first started highlighting, but I remember my teacher looking down at my now entirely fluorescent yellow page and saying, "You're only supposed to highlight what's important." I replied, "But this is all important." That's how I felt reading The Lover's Dictionary. I wanted to highlight everything. I only meant to read the first few pages, just to see what it was about, but I didn't end up closing the book until I was done. Each entry provides a pictur ...more
Jun 22, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Everyone knows love is complex, but having it articulated by someone who can really write is somehow infinitely comforting. I don't feel so much fear that I'm doing it wrong. David Levithan is my hero. I might have to buy this so I can re-read it now and again.

There is so much poetry in the choices of words listed in this dictionary, and how each word is related to the unfolding of a couple's relationship.

Favorite entries (promise I won't type them all):


Awhile - "It is easy for me to s
Nov 01, 2012 Rissie rated it it was ok
I saw this book on NPR's website. The way it's written seems very creative. Whether or not it's any good remains to be seen.


Is it possible to love the way a story is told, but dislike the story itself? I hope so, because that’s what I’m feeling about this book.

What did I love about the book? First, I loved the way the story was presented – a dictionary in which each definition pieces together the story of a relationship. Second, I loved how poetic the writing felt – sparse but weighty.

Adam Silvera
May 23, 2012 Adam Silvera rated it it was amazing
Short commute to work? Buy this book.
Short attention span? Buy this book.
Need a bathroom read? Buy this book.
Love got you feeling down? Buy this book.
Love got you feeling up? Buy this book.
Love hiding from you? Buy this book.
Need your socks rocked off? BUY THIS BOOK!
Marty :}
Sep 03, 2016 Marty :} rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Have you really not read this book yet??? What are you waiting for?
“livid, adj.
Fuck You for cheating on me. Fuck you for reducing it to the word cheating. As if this were a card game, and you sneaked a look at my hand. Who came up with the term cheating, anyway? A cheater, I imagine. Someone who thought liar was too harsh. Someone who thought devastator was too emotional. The same person who thought, oops, he’d gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Fuck you. This isn’t about slipping y
Jul 10, 2010 Sophie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
To be perfectly honest, the third star is only because of the format of the book, otherwise I'd only given it two stars.

A love story told in the form of dictionary entries. The words are - not picked at random, but not exclusively "love" or "relationship" words. And because of the format, the story is told in a more or less non-linear way. I liked that a lot - it allowed the reader to piece the story together one by one. I also liked that it's obvious that love and relationships aren't simple -
Jan 20, 2011 Jasmine rated it really liked it
Shelves: american
So recommended this book to me, and I didn't realize it was a foray into the adult by a teen author. Karen read one of his books: . And well this book is not at all the same. This is not a utopia book it is a very sad book.

The format of this book works. It takes words and defines them based on a relationship. So it reads all jumbly and out of order, and I love it. It mimics both love and memory. Life isn't a straight forward story, it's more o
Airiz C
Jun 05, 2011 Airiz C rated it it was amazing
Hundreds of books, songs, plays, and other forms of media have been so celebrated because they successfully conveyed their answer or just artistically zeroed in on that one slam book item: define love. What do we talk about when we talk about love? How exactly do we talk about it? Does anyone possess the right words to describe the word?

For David Levithan, love—a thing that can be both “utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of
Jan 05, 2012 BlueLilyxLilyBlue rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
In this book, you do not know who was really telling the story.
You have to figure it out on your own.


This would be my first book of David Levithan and it definitely would not be my last.
The whole book was amazing.
Start from this book being in a dictionary format to the anonymity of the main characters.
Dictionary format?
Yep, that’s right.
This book was like a journal in a way.
The entries were alphabetized words that have a certain connection to each entry.
It was very creative.
It was heartfe
Marlin Elina
Aug 04, 2016 Marlin Elina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I don't think I've ever dog-eared so many pages in a book. I hope it'll still fit in its spot on my shelves...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List
  • Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure
  • The Vast Fields of Ordinary
  • I Wrote This For You
  • Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns
  • With or Without You
  • A Little Wanting Song
  • The Talk-Funny Girl
  • Gone, Gone, Gone
  • Infinite Sky (Infinite Sky, #1)
  • Survival Songs
  • Don't Let Me Go
  • Winter Town
  • Eleven
  • What They Always Tell Us
  • Brooklyn, Burning
  • The Big Crunch
  • Dear Old Love: Anonymous Notes to Former Crushes, Sweethearts, Husbands, Wives, &  Ones That Got Away
David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children's book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

More about David Levithan...

Share This Book

“It was a mistake," you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.” 2914 likes
“livid, adj.

Fuck You for cheating on me. Fuck you for reducing it to the word cheating. As if this were a card game, and you sneaked a look at my hand. Who came up with the term cheating, anyway? A cheater, I imagine. Someone who thought liar was too harsh. Someone who thought devastator was too emotional. The same person who thought, oops, he’d gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Fuck you. This isn’t about slipping yourself an extra twenty dollars of Monopoly money. These are our lives. You went and broke our lives. You are so much worse than a cheater. You killed something. And you killed it when its back was turned.”
More quotes…