Bibliographic information: Boy Meets Boy. David Levithan. Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. $8.99. 185p. ISBN-13: 9780375832994.
Summary: Paul’s school is unlike any other. His best friend since kindergarten, Joni, is dating a new guy that puts a strain on their relationship. His other best friend cannot leave his home unless it is with a girl. Kyle, Paul’s ex-boyfriend suddenly becomes too friendly. And Rip, the school bookie, is placing bets on who Paul will end up with. Things are not looking good for Paul. But the biggest distraction is Noah, who changes everything in Paul’s life.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 12 and up IL: 8th grade and up
Review: Cleverly written in the first person point of view by Paul, the protagonist of this story, Boy meets boy is a wonderful book about being comfortable with who you are, just the way you are. Paul brings the story of his life to the forefront and carries the reader through with humor and poise. It has great character development because you get to see Paul and his friends grow into young adults and discover who they are on the inside and out. The text flows and grabs your attention making it hard to put the book down. The positive influence will speak to young readers who are facing similar choices and situations about their identities and gender.
Readers’ annotation: Paul has a dilemma. A new boy moved into town, his best friend is not speaking to him, his other friend is on house arrest, and his ex-boyfriend has had a change of heart.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This is a great book that expresses the positive side of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, and queers. It shows that some parents are loving and accepting of their children’s choices while other parents are in a bit of denial, but they are all working through their feelings in hopes of a positive outcome. It shows that no matter what choices you make their will be some road blocks, but you will be able to overcome them. Teens can read this book and feel good about their sexual identities and genders.
Issues present: There are persons of every sexual orientation and gender in this book and some parent may not like their teen reading a book that makes these out to be a positive thing. However, every person has a choice to like and dislike whomever they choose. Sometimes a child feels like they are different from everybody else just because they might like somebody of the same-sex, or maybe people of both sexes, and that shouldn’t matter. Books like Boyfriends with girlfriends are great examples that will give that child confidence in their identities and gender even if they are not getting it from their friends and family. Perhaps the parent should even read the book so that they may understand where their child is coming from.
Booktalk ideas: The start of page 8 where it describes Paul finding out that he is gay at age 5.
On page 3 when Paul first meets Noah, “I look up. And there he is.”
Talk about the variety of Paul’s friends, one is gay, one is bi, one is a drag queen, one is a lesbian, one is a bookie, one is straight, etc.
Genre or subject: GLBTQ; coming of age or Bildungsromans
Readalikes: Boyfriends with Girlfriends or anything by Alex Sanchez; Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle; John Green books.
Awards and Lists: Lamba Literary Foundation Award (2003); ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2004); Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2008).
Links to reviews: Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-375-82400-5
Why I chose it: Based on the back of the cover it looked like it would be an entertaining book that had great growth as well as humorous. The writing style seems like it would be fun and intelligent at the same time. These are all things that tend to interest me in a book.