Two Boys Kissing
By David Levithan
New York Times bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events 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.
The novel was a very short read but I wouldn’t consider it light. The novel was a collection of snippets into the lives of several different boys. The lives of these boys was fragmented and pieced together so that we would get short glimpses into their minds and experiences with their sexuality. The various stories of boys coming together or being pulled apart felt so personal and sometimes heart wrenching that I almost felt like I was intruding. However, every time I started getting attached to a character the perspective would switch and I could feel myself foundering. There were a lot of interesting characters and not a lot of time to explore them all, which was a shame.
The novel was poignant and sharp, highlighting a lot of issues like discrimination, heartbreak, loneliness, self-loathing and so much more. The narration by gay men who died of AIDs was unique and moving. This creative yet strange narrative style is completely foreign to me and while I did enjoy it, I found it leaning towards repetitive. I breezed through the novel, but its abundance of characters and quick pace were a little overwhelming. I enjoyed the novel but it felt more like a collection of short stories because it lacked the continuity or fluidity of a novel.