Friday, February 28, 2014

Abducted by Two Boys Kissing

I read Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan as part of my...

THE HEADLINE: How long can you kiss? Thirty-two hours sound long enough?

TIME IN CAPTIVITY: I had a really hard time coming up with what the headline for this book would be because the book is about so much more than two boys trying to break the world record for the longest kiss. The book works its way through 5 different story lines, but in the end I decided for the headline I would stick to the story line the book was titled after...simply because it was easiest.
The book gets its name from the story line of Harry and Craig. They are ex-boyfriends who are trying desperately to maintain a friendship. Then one night a friend of theirs is attacked simply for being gay. Harry and Craig decide to break the world record for the longest kiss as a way of showing the world that there is nothing wrong with two boys kissing. In the book the world record they have to break is just over 32 hours, so the book takes place over that weekend.
Ryan and Avery are two boys who meet the night before the big kiss and then have their first couple of dates throughout the course of those two days. They were my favorite couple because everything was so new and exciting.
Neil and Peter are two boys who have been together for over a year. Even though their relationship is pretty solid they still have obstacles and bumps along the road to navigate.
Then there is also a story line that follows a teenager named Cooper. His life seemingly implodes when his parents violently confront him about being gay and he runs from the house. He spends the weekend completely lost.
I had read that the book was based on the fact that two boys, Matty and Bobby, actually did come together and broke the world record for the longest kiss in real life and then four days later, in a town not to far away, another boy, Tyler, committed suicide. Knowing this made reading Cooper's story line extremely emotional because I had an idea of what message he was supposed to be demonstrating.
The 5th story line, technically wasn't a story line at all, it was the narration. Levithan uses the voice of the universal "we" to represent all of the past generations of homosexual men who have passed on. As angels they are watching over then current generation of men as they start to figure out their place in the world. Levithan was using the contrast between the past generation and the current one to show how far we have come in excepting and supporting equality, and at the same time, how very very far we still have to go.

THE ABDUCTOR: I was completely abducted by that 5th story line. That ingenious decision elevated the power and volume found in this book.
So many of us had to make our own families. So many of us had to pretend when we were home. So many of us had to leave. But every single one of us wishes we hadn't had to. Every single one of us wishes our family had acted like our family, that even when we found a new family, we hadn't had to leave the other one behind. Every single one of us would have loved to have been loved unconditionally by our parents. 
THE POINT OF ABDUCTION: I was excited to get to when Harry and Craig actually started their Big Kiss because I wanted to see all the work that went into it. But I think each of the story lines had their own point of abductions. When Neil and Peter hit their first bump in the road (at least the first one featured in this book). When Ryan and Avery first went out in the canoe. When Cooper ran from his parents. And most moving of all, each time the "we" reflected on their battle with AIDS.

PICK UP LINE: My pen was working overtime underlining in this book. And while there were so many quotes I could share that were incredibly powerful, there was one lighter one that I personally loved.
We often believe the truest measure of a relationship is the ability to lay ourselves bare. But there's something to be said for parading your plumage as well, finding truth as much in the silly as the severe. 
It may seem strange, but sometimes I do feel like it is easier to be serious with people and yet incredibly difficult to show off my silly crazy ridiculous side. Because believe me...I can get pretty silly!

ABDUCTION RATING: The heartrending power behind having one generation that was lost to a senseless disease reflect of the hope and promise found in the generations to come was brilliant. In the end I sincerely believe Two Boys Kissing will forever be one of the most important books I have ever read.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Abducted By Love Is The Higher Law

I read Love is the Higher Law as part of my 

If you'd like to participate just read and post about ANY David Levithan book in the month of February and enter your link HERE

THE HEADLINE: New York City, Sept. 11th 2001. Billions of lives changed forever. Here are three of those stories.

THE ABDUCTOR: Of all the main characters my favorite by far was Peter. Mostly just because he was the most likable of the three. He was very much the "everyday" type character who turned to music for his healing.

TIME IN CAPTIVITY: I have always been slightly hesitant to read this book because I rightly assumed this book would be overflowing with emotions, and since I easily cry at everything, I assumed this book would be beyond depressing.
However, I am glad to say that on that account I was wrong.

Love is the Higher Law is split between three perspectives for the narration; Claire, Jasper, and Peter. So the first three chapters were pretty shaky for me because that was when each character told their story of where they were when the planes crashed and the towers fell. Of course those stories are going to bring up emotions and memories of that day for any reader. But that was really the only part of the book that was emotional for me. The rest was their story of recovery.

I said earlier that my favorite character was Peter because I was really rooting for him. But the flip side of that would be why didn't I like the other two.

Well, I think I didn't like Claire as much because she left me unsettled. Claire responded to that days tragic events by jumping up and doing something about it. She volunteered, she got involved. She educated herself about the world around her and took charge as best she could in her community. I think she unsettled me because in an ideal world I would like to say that I would do the same, but I know that isn't true.

No, if I had been in New York that day I can pretty much guarantee I would have reacted the way Jasper did. Jasper reacted with anger. He didn't go around punching walls or seeking revenge, I don't mean that kind of anger. But you could just tell that he felt so violated by what had happened and his anger and bitterness towards that day reacted in him withdrawing from the people around him and just not really caring. Which is not to say that Jasper was a bad guy, because he wasn't. It just unsettled me because I could see so much of myself in those coping mechanisms.

In the end I loved the way that David Levithan gave each of these characters their own path and their own redemption, and the way he intertwined them through out all of it.


I feel emptier this morning. That empty space goes inside. It is not the whole story, but it is a part of it. And the rest of the story is: We love and we feel and we try and we hope.

POINT OF ABDUCTION: For me the point of abduction was right at the beginning, reading how the events unfolded for each character. It is crazy for me to think that there are teenagers out there in the world reading this book who don't remember the events of that day because they were so young when it happened. But the way that Levithan hits the ground running with each  of their stories sucks you right into that day.


Highly emotional but there isn't an author out there that I would trust more to write about that day. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Abducted by How They Met And Other Stories

THE HEADLINE: A collection that brings back the nostalgia of falling in love, having our hearts broken, and the process of picking up the pieces.

THE ABDUCTOR: David Levithan. This is a book that is a collection of 18 of his short stories. Although there were definitely some I liked more than others, all in all Levithan is the thread that connects them.
And let us not forget, even what could be considered the worst of Levithan is still better than no Levithan at all!

TIME IN CAPTIVITY: A collection of short stories by any author is going to have its ups and downs. There will be stories that are adorable and leave you smiling and others that leave you scratching your head going “Huh?”

One of the aspects of Levithan’s writing that makes this collection of short stories stand out, is his ability to highlight the unsuspecting relationships. Most of the stories are not just about the two people who might be falling in or out of love. Most of the stories feature amazing relationships between strangers, siblings, friends, and parents.

My favorite story was the first piece titled Starbucks Boy, but the relationship that is featured primarily in that
story is not that of Gabriel meeting Justin. No, the most endearing relationship in the story is between the Gabriel and the little girl he is babysitting for the summer, Arabella.

I’m a hopeless romantic at heart so of course my favorite pieces are going to be the ones with the perfect-bow-tied-happy endings. However, the ones that had the more thought provoking endings offered a needed balance to the collection.

PICK UP LINE: The very first sentences I underlined in How They Met And Other Stories was actually found in the author’s note that was featured prior to the table of contents!

As you guys may know the reason I decided to host Levithan Loveathon in February was because I had read the David Levithan started writing short stories as Valentine’s Day gifts for his friends. Well, Levithan elaborates on this in the Author’s Note at the beginning of this collection (fun fact: he mentions that it all started in his Junior year of high school!). The last lines of the note read:

How They Met refers not only to the characters in the stories but to the stories themselves. Here they are, meeting for the first time. In the same way that paragraphs meet, and sentences meet, and words meet. Enjoy the intersections.

POINT OF ABDUCTION: As I said my favorite story included in the collection was the very first story called Starbucks Boy. And for me the point of abduction in that story was when Gabriel mentions that each time you do something for a crush, you run the risk of writing a new chapter in your own book titled “Things Done In The Name of Crushes.” When I read that I instantly flashed back to all of the horrifically embarrassing things I did in the name of a crush. Then I thought it would be funny if I actually ever did write a collection of all the stories of the stuff I did in the name of a crush. Then my stomach immediately started turning and I thought better about it.

After mentioning the idea of each of our own books titled “Things Done In The Name of Crushes” he writes…

One successful gesture, one successful relationship would suddenly turn it into a History of Stupid Things Done In The Name of Crushes That Were All Redeemed In the End.
Gotta love that optimism!

ABDUCTION RATING:  How They Met And Other Stories was a great choice to kick off this years Loveathon! And a must read for any true Levithan fan, since these are the stories that started it all!

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