Author: David Levithan
Publish Date: September 2013
Genre: Romance, realism, LGBTQ+
Audience: Teens and up, young adult
I picked up ‘Boy Meets Boy’ when I saw it on my library’s LGBTQ+ History Month stand. The plot sounded fairly basic, but I am a huge fan of David Levithan’s book ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ which he co-wrote with John Green – in fact, it is one of my favourite books of all time – so I thought I would give it a go!
‘Boy Meets Boy’ tells the story of Paul, a gay teenage boy tackling his relationships whilst at high school, both romantic and friendly. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I had anticipated. Levithan’s writing style is utterly beautiful in some of the novel’s slower paced moments, with gorgeous and not overly-cliché metaphors, and thus the setting created feels wonderfully safe and friendly. Most of the characters within the novel such as Paul, Noah, and Kyle were beautifully fleshed out with plenty of depth and realism, making them easy to connect to; however, I am still a little unsure as to whether I actually liked Paul or not, as he proved to be both lovable and irritable throughout the novel.
As expected, the plot in ‘Boy Meets Boy’ was fairly basic as far as young adult fiction goes, with a simple love triangle and a somewhat predictable ending. However, what made this book special for me was how seamless the LGBTQ+ theme is incorporated. Most LGBTQ+ young adult fiction brings light to the struggles of coming out and feeling accepted, and whilst this is undoubtedly important, it’s incredibly refreshing to read a novel in which the main relationships feel simply normal. Thus, its premise of a basic love story works beautifully in depicting a young gay relationship, and I absolutely adore how the title of the novel conveys a parody of the typical ‘boy meets girl’ story line!
What stopped me giving ‘Boy Meets Boy’ five stars was a couple of factors. Some characters who were important to the story such as Joni and Tony (Paul’s best friends) were lacking considerable development, and I did not feel like there was a substantial connection between character and reader. Whilst Tony’s story line did evoke slightly more interest in me due to its LGBTQ+ themes, I was fairly disinterested in Joni which was a shame as I felt it had a lot more potential. In addition, dramatic points of the plot felt incredibly fast; so much happened in only a couple of pages at a time, and I would have liked to have seen the drama spread out more as it was a huge contrast to the slower paced resolution.
Overall, ‘Boy Meets Boy’ is a wonderful little romance which will leave you feeling warm-hearted with a smile on your face. Levithan’s writing is stunning, and the characters are on the whole likeable and connectable. Whilst some parts of the story could be more appropriately paced, it is an ultimately feel-good read with plenty of charm. This is a definite must-read for anybody wanting to read more LGBTQ+ fiction!