by David Levithan
Published: May 2005 (originally). Reprint 1st August 2013 by Harper Collins
Version: Paperback from publisher (review my own, honest opinion)
Rating: 4.5 sofas
This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.
When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.
This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.
I originally read this book earlier this year for Faye’s LGBT Readathon. I loved the book, but didn’t document my thoughts. However, Harper Collins decided to do a reprint of this and another David Levithan book and I snapped at the chance to reread it!
We follow Paul as a kind of ‘out and proud’ gay boy in a town where there isn’t a lot of discrimination. Many of the LGBT books I have read deals with the hardship of discovering and categorising sexuality, and sharing this decision with friends and family. It was refreshing to see it from the other side; Paul’s parents are very accepting, and in this respect he has an easy life.
Although Paul is the main character, I don’t think the story would be half as amazing without the strong side characters. Paul’s best friends are Joni (who has problem boyfriends) and Tony (who is gay, but has to hide it as he has very religious parents). As well as helping to deal with their issues, he also has to tackle feelings for his ex, Kyle, who has ignored Paul ever since they split up. So when he meets Noah in the bookstore, he has yet more emotions to deal with.
Although the theme in this book is primarily LGBT, it also explores a lot about friendship and high school life. I think this is most prevalent in the bond between Tony and Paul. They’ve never dated but have an ever better connection. I really rooted for Tony throughout and felt his struggle more than anyone else.
“In other circumstances, this would have been the start of a romance. But I think we both knew, even then, that what we had was even more rare, and even more meaningful. I was going to be his friend and was going to show him possibilities. And he, in turn, would become someone I could trust more than myself.”
One of the things I love about David Levithan is the way he describes the world and relationships. It is just so beautiful. I found myself wanting to mark lots of passages because quotes really stood out to me, and I feel like I highlighted the whole book!
I think the only down side if this book was that it felt a bit safe for me; I would say it is aimed at younger YA audiences. The main boys are quite stereotypical; the out and proud, the shy one and the confused one. It is quite ‘safe’, and personally I would say unrealistic. It was good to show homosexuality in a more accepting light, but I just couldn’t believe that this world exists, sadly.
Overall I really enjoyed this book, and the romance was very cute. I liked how the side characters were just as important as the main ones, and look forward to reading more by this author! 4.5 sofas.