TWO BOYS KISSING by David Levithan
This new novel presents a panorama of gay male youth today, unfolding numerous storylines with a touching eloquence. What elevates this novel into something extraordinary is an intriguing narrative device – a Greek chorus of ghosts, the generation lost to AIDS, serve as narrators. They watch over the boys who came after them – commenting, reflecting, remembering and marvelling at how much has changed... although not everything. Hatred, gay bashing, and the demons of the closet persist. The main storyline is devoted to Craig and Harry, ex-boyfriends who attempt to break the world record for the longest kiss (32 hours, 12 minutes, 10 seconds). This challenge is not merely about cementing their place in the Guinness Book Of Records but to highlight the recent gay bashing of their friend Tariq. Other storylines include a fledgling romance between two boys, Ryan and Avery – although there is a twist. Another couple, Peter and Neil, have been together for a year, but their relationship is complicated by the fact that Neil hasn’t come out to his parents. Cooper is also in the closet and is only out online. When his father discovers his secret and reacts violently, Cooper flees his home but with nowhere to go. His online contacts prove to be fraudulent and empty but have also handicapped his ability to make connections in the real world. Utterly isolated and lost, he can see no future for himself.
This is a novel primarily written for teenagers, but it possesses a substance and sophistication that will more than satisfy adult readers. With a stream of glowing reviews and early award success already, this book seems destined to become a classic in its genre.