Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Title: Boy Meets Boy
Author: David Levithan
Publication Date: September 9, 2003
Length: 6 hours (audiobook)

Boy Meets Boy is a sweet teen romance story that takes place in a town that has more than the average amount of acceptance for LGBT+ people. Gay students are totally accepted by their peers, and a trans girl named Infinite Darlene is both the homecoming queen and the quarterback. The story is told by Paul, who meets the new boy, Noah, and falls head over heels. Of course, complications ensue, including an ex-boyfriend who suddenly needs Paul's help, and a best friend (Joni) who starts dating a total jerk.

I enjoyed the setting of this novel. While it's often described as utopian, David Levithan has said that he intended it to be basically the real world as it is currently becoming. Basically it's one town in which progress has been made to the point where LGBT+ people are just accepted for who they are. (It's not the whole world; just one town over is Paul's friend Tony, whose religious parents are more familiar to people living in the real world.) It was refreshing to read a story about gay characters whose biggest problems are misunderstandings with new boyfriends.

Tony was one of my favourite characters, showing the most growth over the course of the story. He goes from hiding his whole life from his parents to finally standing up to them and forcing them to see him as he really is.

One warning: I'm assuming it's because this book is over a decade old, but the treatment of Infinite Darlene is not the greatest. Throughout the story she seems to be pretty clearly portrayed as a trans girl, but then near the end they suddenly call her a drag queen. So, that was weird. In my mind she will remain definitely a girl, no matter how much football she plays.

On the audiobook: I listened to the Full Cast Audio production of this book, and it was excellent. I've read reviews of this book saying that the narrative was flat, but I think it's impossible to see it that way when hearing it read by Nicholas Robideau, who portrayed Paul in this edition. Good acting, music, and other sounds combined to make this better than the average audiobook I've listed to.

4 stars.