Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan is a contemporary novel that has a strong focus on LGBT diversity.
Paul has been openly gay since he was in kindergarten. He lives in a very open minded town somewhere outside of New York City (this is not explicitly stated, but the mention of the Strand bookstore in Manhattan is mentioned). Paul’s family is very loving and open; he is best friends with a straight girl and another gay boy from a very religious family. He is also friends with a transgender football player/homecoming queen, and is well-known at his school. Despite a somewhat recent break-up, Paul is quite happy with life.
One day while out with Joni and Tony, Paul meets Noah, a new transplant to the town. Both boys feel an attraction to each other. Noah is an artist and photographer who paints music. He and Paul find they have a lot in common and feel comfortable enough with each other to share things they normally keep to themselves. Like Paul, Noah has just come out of a break up. His feelings are fragile and Paul makes a point to try and be careful with their new relationship.
Things are going well – but then Paul’s ex, Kyle, comes back into the picture wanting Paul’s help. Their relationship did not end well, and though Paul is angry at the way things ended he’s too good of a person to just leave Kyle when he needs help. But helping Kyle is more complicated than Paul anticipated; soon the whole school has gotten wind and Noah is hurt.
Paul loses the boy he believes he is in love with as quickly as he found him. The question becomes, how to get Noah back while maintaining a friendship with Kyle? There’s also his deteriorating relationship Joni. And how is Paul going to help Tony, who also needs Paul’s help? High school can be so complicated.
Boy Meets Boy was a nice, quick, and lighthearted read compared to the fantasy novels I have delved into of late. David Levithan is a wonderful writer who captured the complexity of high school life well. He also created a wonderful, imaginary town where everyone is accepted for who they are – no matter what that is. I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel, the open mindedness that is what the world should be like.
However, I still have difficulty getting as engaged in contemporary novels as I do in fantasy. Oddly enough, I have a more difficult time relating to characters in contemporary novels. I feel this novel warrants a solid 4 stars for writing and story, but a 3 stars for my overall enjoyment.
My rating: 3.5/5