Lauren's Reviews > Boy Meets Boy

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
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's review
Feb 26, 12

bookshelves: lgbt, reviewed, young-adult
Read from February 25 to 26, 2012

This book takes place in a sort of gay-utopia. Everyone is gay or bisexual or at least bicurious. The school's star quarterback/prom queen is a drag queen. The only intolerant folks are cartoonishly evil in their religiousness, but they are an anomaly in a town where it is apparently appropriate for a kindergarten teacher to write "Paul is definitely gay" on a student's report card (????). Not only is it a gay-utopia, but it is an everything else-utopia as well: the school janitors are rich but work because they just looooove cleaning schools, the cheerleading squad is so special that they ride motorcycles instead of just doing cheers (wtf), and the local fast foot joint has been taken over by vegans. I kind of like the idea of a book set in a world where kids don't have to worry about hiding or being bullied for their sexuality, but the author just goes over the top in every possible way, surpassing magical realism into complete ridiculousness.

As far as the characters themselves, most are one-dimensional stereotypes (girl who is obsessed with her boyfriend, self-loathing closet case, sensitive artist whose work comes from his very soul), but the main problem is that the protagonist is so unlikeable. If this book were about Kyle becoming comfortable with his sexuality I think I would've enjoyed it a lot more. If it were about Tony standing up to his parents I think I would've enjoyed it a lot more. If it were about Amber, the girl who joins a lot of clubs and once dated a witch I think I would've enjoyed it a lot more. Hell, if it were still about Noah and Paul, but from Noah's point of view, I think I would've enjoyed it a lot more. But Paul... as a character to like and sympathize with, he just doesn't work for me. Am I supposed to feel bad for him because he screwed things up with his boyfriend by doing the exact thing that his boyfriend told him he was afraid of due to what happened with his last boyfriend? Am I supposed to be rooting for them to get back together because of the frankly somewhat creepy things Paul is doing to try to win him back? Am I supposed to feel sympathy for Paul because his life has been so great that he can't quite understand when other people don't have it as great as he does? Forget it.

There were some moments in this novel that I genuinely enjoyed: I liked when Paul thought about seeing a football player's funeral and all of his teammates talking about how much they loved him and Paul wondering if they had ever said to him while he was alive. I liked when Paul and Tony went for a walk in the woods. I liked when Paul found out Amber was more than just a "club kid." But overall this book was a mass of cliches and characters who just tried to be far more clever than they actually are.
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