Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Abducted by Boy Meets Boy

Well, I have to say I have had the best time during my...


This is one of the best ideas I have had in a long time and I can't wait to make it a tradition every year! 2013 is going to be even better! It is going to be so hard not reading any new David Levithan books through out the next year, but it will be so worth it!

The winner of my Levithan Love-a-thon was Jane A.! She has selected for me to send her The Lover's Dictionary! Congratulations Jane! I hope you love it as much as I do!

My friend Andrea over at the Overstuffed Bookcase also read a David Levithan novel, Boy Meets Boy, this month and wrote about it as part of the Levithan Love-a-thon! Thanks Andrea! Next year, I'm really hoping that I can get some more bloggers to take part in the celebration, and then maybe (just maybe) I'll get so many people to join in that word will get back to Mr. Levithan himself and then maybe I'll email him, and he'll respond, and he'll let me interview him for my blog, and then we'll become friends, and then I'll get added to the list of friends that he sends stories to as Valentine's Day gifts, and that will mean that I'll have a preview of all his future novels!!!

Awe, a girl can only dream!

I started out the month with my favorite Levithan novel, The Lover's Dictionary. Then I got to read three new books; Are We There Yet?, Marly's Ghost, and Every You Every Me. And now I get to finish up the month by re-reading my 2nd favorite Levithan novel, Boy Meets Boy!

There is a popular form of literature that is taking the world by storm right now, and that is Fantasy Dystopian novels. For example series like the Uglies by Scott Westerfield, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Matched by Ally Condy, or XVI by Julia Karr. I've read a lot of these, not all but quite a few, but the only novel that I have read that you can remove the "fantasy" element and feel that it is just a simple Dystopian novel is when I read 1984 by George Orwell. Now, there may not be as many Utopian novels as there are Dystopias, but Boy Meets Boy is a Utopia that shines!

I want to be clear about making this distinction, because just as novels like the Hunger Games are not reality and were never written for the purpose of portraying a reality, the same can be said of Boy Meets Boy. It is not reality and, as far as I know, it was not written to portray a reality. 

This is a town that paints a picture of acceptance in its truest form. Not just the main characters, but the entire town. When the main character, Paul, is describing the town he lives in, one of my favorite parts is when he says; "We used to have a troop of Boy Scouts, but when the Boy Scouts decided gays had no place in their ranks, our Scouts decided the organization had no place in our town; they changed their name [to Joy Scouts] and continued on." 

So aside from the fact that homosexuals are accepted in this community without any question, what makes this book a Utopia? 

Okay, well, this is a fictional town, located near NYC. The cheerleading team is made up of biker chicks that form their pyramids while riding on Harleys. The quarterback of the football team also serves as the reigning homecoming queen named Infinite Darlene. Now, Infinite Darlene doesn't have it easy though. The other drag queens in the school think she is too buff. The high school has the richest janitorial staff in the country due to the fact that the janitors also have excellent day-trading skills on the stock market. The janitors only remain at the high school because of their "compulsion to clean schools".

Levithan also paints the portrait of the ideal New England town. They have an ice cream parlor called "I Scream Parlor" that plays horror films while you wait for your dessert. The cemetery keeps locked boxes next to each grave site. Inside each box is a book where the family and friends can continue to leave messages and updates for their dearly departed. Spiff's Videorama organizes their collection of VHS's (Spiff refuses to update) by his own personal preference. The town's music store is the run the same way. It is owned by a couple that have been together for 20 years, yet they have opposite tastes in music. So they divided the store in two so they can each sell the music they like. 

We are no closer to gaining a reality like that of this fictional town then we are the realities in The Hunger Games or even the corrupt government of 1984. Levithan knows this, and therefore along with this perfect town he includes characters that have realities all their own. 

One of Paul's best friends is Tony. Tony lives in the next town over. When Paul is informing us of his friendship with Tony and the conversation they had the first time they met, he says; "He told me about his school, which was not like my school, and his parents, who were not like my parents...He had [had] told his parents he was going on a church retreat. Then he'd hopped on a train to visit the open doors of the open city."

Tony's parents are religious and worried about the life Tony will have as a gay adolescent. Tony is the perfect contrast to Paul, because he is brave and strong. He is a constant source of "calm" for Paul, in spite of his difficulties at home. And what I love most about this story line, is that even though Tony's parents are reluctant to accept him for who he is, Tony consistently accepts his parents for who they are. He trusts that they do love him in their own way, and you get the sense that he doesn't blame them for anything. 

And, of course, along with showing us these two realities, Levithan also provides us with the gushy romance between Paul and his new found love, Noah. They have the type of relationship that makes me smile and curl into my blanket and wish I had a boyfriend of my very own!

I love that their relationship starts with a prayer when Pual says; "I don't ask for much. I swear. But I would really love Noah to be everything I hope he'll be. Please let him be someone I can groove with, and who wants to groove with me." And then later Paul declares: "I know he's not going to be amazing all the time, but there's more amazingness in him than in anyone else I've known. He makes me want to be amazing, too."
I love this book. I'm glad I got to re-read it. I'm glad I got to buy a signed copy from The Book People when I was down in Austen. And, I'm glad I got to give my old copy to Andrea, and that she read it, and liked it too! 

Boy Meets Boy is a sweet and caring story that makes for a great fast read! I'll be giving it an abduction rating of...

because I for one can't wait to pack my trunks and move out there. My first stop will be the I Scream Parlor!


fakesteph said...

I feel terrible for not participating. The month got away from me (and I've been working nonstop and didn't even blog for a whole week!!!!). I was totally going to read one of these books. You make them sound awesome and I am sad now.

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I am totally going to read some Leviathan books- and you know Boy Meets Boy is on the top of my list since I want to work at the I Scream Parlor! I did love the Lover's Dictionary, but for the next 3 months I'm going to focus on John Green. But I will be happy to participate in your next Leviathan-thon.

Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase said...

Congrats on a successful Love-a-thon and giveaway! And thanks for mentioning me! ;) I loved Boy Meets Boy and can't wait to read more!

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