Saturday 17 May 2014

Book Review- Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Hey, it’s International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Go to AllOut for more info on queer rights around the world and things you can do to help improve them.
Also, I wrote a thing for the Guardian on why I ran Rainbow Reads last year. You may want to read it. 
Title: Two Boys Kissing
 Author: David Levithan
Published:  August 2013 by Knopf, March 2014 by Egmont
Length: 239 pages
Warnings: homophobic attack, suicide attempt
Source: library
Other info: Levithan has written other stuff.
Summary : The story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.
Review: Craig and Harry are attempting to break the world record for longest kiss. Peter and Neil kind of going steady, but do have issues in their relationship. Avery and Ryan recently met and started going out. Cooper is alone, but chats to men online. All are watched by the gay men of previous decades as their lives develop.
I was a little apprehensive before reading his because I was told that another of Levithan’s solo pieces, Boy Meets Boy, was good, and I didn't enjoy it, and I found his other work with partners was average or made better by the other person.
Still, within the first few pages it was clear that this was better than Boy Meets Boy because... not all these boys are white and cis! (Intersectionality makes me very happy).
I'm glad the couples and Cooper all got vaguely equal attention. What I found with Levithan’s other stuff is that the side characters were a lot more interesting, so I'm glad we saw more of Cooper than I expected. His story is definitely the most moving one in the book, and thus my favourite. Next favourite, Avery and Ryan. Peter and Neil and Craig and Harry, I didn’t really care much for, apart from the whole “seriously you’re kissing for thirtytwo hours how are you not going to die of thirst or hunger or tiredness or lack of air or something?” when Craig and Harry start and continue kissing.
The narration is hard to get used to at the start, but I got used to it and by the end it was really beautiful. It’s a chorus of men who died of AIDs narrating it which provides perspective on past, current and future generations of gay teens, and it really made me think about how lucky I, as a queer teen, am to be growing up in a world where attitudes towards queer people are slowly changing for the better, and made me more aware of queer history.
I love the fact that lots of different experiences are represented, from the happy to the sad to the painful to the beautiful. As well as the different positions of the characters, there’s also the support, the opposition and emotions and little things that I think lots of teens experience, regardless of their identity.
Oh, and added points to Peter and Neil for impromptu book spine poetry. Adorable levels through the roof.
Overall:  Stregnth 4 tea to an emotional book that lets you into lots of lives.
Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Author website |


  1. I've been meaning to read this one for ages now and I just can't seem to find the time but it sounds absolutely fantastic!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  2. Argh, loved the spine poetry and completely forgot to mention it in my Bookbag review! Great review. :)


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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