Review: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I've been lucky to be able to read this gem before its release date. But before we get to my review, I just want to say that YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK NOW. It comes out today and so, no need to wait! You can buy it now! Moreover, David Levithan is donating $2 out of every copy sold before September 10 to The Trevor Project, an organization that supports queer youth. You can read all about it in David Levithan's website here. So for now, let's get to my review!

Two Boys Kissing
Title: Two Boys Kissing
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: August 27, 2013

New York Times bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Lauren of Random House and to NetGalley for the review copy. This in no way affected my views of the novel.

I actually got the egalley of Two Boys Kissing way back in April. I don't know how I did it but I held back from reading it because I would be even more stressed if I read the book and I can't talk about it that much and that I don't have anyone to talk to. So I decided to read it closer to its release date. And there goes another reason why I hate myself. How. can. I. have. postponed. reading. this?!?!?!?!?!

David Levithan is my favorite author EVER. Ever ever. So any book of his is a must-buy for me and he's an auto-buy author for me. But being a bad fan, I actually didn't know a lot about Two Boys Kissing. I knew it's about two boys kissing but I didn't know that it's told in the perspective of a chorus of dead gay men. I absolutely had no idea. So imagine my surprise when I read the summary in the egalley. I thought, "uh oh". But once again, what a bad fan am I for doubting David Levithan or doubting myself that I'll love his novel? Oh my, did I love it? Does the sun rise from the east? OH HECK YEAH, IT IS.

It might take some getting used to but Two Boys Kissing is told in the perspective of a chorus of gay men who died of AIDS during the AIDS epidemic. I honestly don't know that there was an AIDS epidemic and TBK certainly made me research on that. The chorus watches over these several gay kids and imparts advice and shares their own stories too. The chorus follows Harry and Craig, Ryan and Avery, Tariq, Cooper and Peter and Neil. These boys are gay but they're different from each other and their situations vary. Harry and Craig were once a couple but now, they're trying to break the Guiness World Record for the longest kiss, which is well past thirty-two hours. They are the focus of the novel as we follow this big event and how everyone is related to this event. We also glimpse the life of the other gay kids as they try to surpass different obstacles - coming out, the uncertainty of the first date and loving.

What I thought wouldn't work was apparently the best element of this novel. Aside from being an omnipresent narrator, the chorus is also a character with so much depth. The chorus has emotions, regrets and memories. As they've already went through all of what our characters are going through, they provide a lens in which we see the story. Not only are we able to connect with the characters, we're also able to connect and sympathize with the chorus. Though the stories of these kids are not entirely entwined with one another, they were still connected and I think it's a stroke of genius in how David Levithan did that.
Once again, I was floored by David Levithan's prose. Beautifully written but with just simple words, David Levithan just knows how to pack a punch into his words. I don't know how long I cried but I was crying most of the time I was reading it. Crying and smiling and sometimes swooning. I wanna hug the chorus, I wanna hug my gay friends right now, I wanna just show the world how much love they deserve. How much love all people deserve. David Levithan has successfully written characters you'll empathize and who you care for. I just want all of them to be happy. Even though there were lots of characters, no one felt like a cardboard cut-out. Everyone was a complete character with a background, an identity, a way of speaking, humor and everything. 
Two Boys Kissing was utterly heartbreaking and bittersweetly perfect. Reading it was like reading a diary as it relayed events and showcased such personal emotions. Only this diary encompasses a lot of stories, so many facets, types and set-ups where love bloomed, love is and love was. I'm a loud crybaby but with this book, I sobbed quietly all the way. Two Boys Kissing is too beautiful, too much. By far, I think this is the best LGBT book by David Levithan. He certainly outdid himself and that's saying a lot because David Levithan is the pinnacle of YA fiction for me. I recommend Two Boys Kissing to EVERYONE. There is no excuse, this book should be read by all ages.
About David Levithan
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.


  1. I totally agree, David has such a beautiful way with words. Ever since I read Everyday, I knew I had to read more from him. I'll definitely have to check this one out even though this may not be my cup of tea.

    Holly @ Absorbing the Content

    1. David Levithan doesn't disappoint with his new novel. Hope you give it a chance, Holly! Thanks for dropping by! <3


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