Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Audiobook Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


“It's like being in love, discovering your best friend.” 
― Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity




  • Release Date: February 6th 2012
  • Publisher: Egmont Press
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Hours: 10 hours 7 minutes
Synopsis: I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.
That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.
He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.
We are a sensational team

Wow. Just Wow. Code Name Verity is one of those books that everyone raves about and you know what ? They have good reason to. Code Name Verity is an amazing story and the audio book version does this novel so much justice, I can't recommend it enough. Between this and Out of The Easy, I just may have a new thing for historical YAs.

So, I'm going to quote Heidi from Bunbury in The Stacks  review and say it seems like "The first rule of Code Name Verity is you don’t talk about Code Name Verity." And I think that is a great sentiment because you don't want to ruin the experience of the story for anyone, so I won't really reveal to much about this novel.

The titular Verity, is a British spy sent into German occupied France during  World War II, when she is captured by the Gestapo (Nazi police). She is held as a prisoner in what was once a  French hotel the story opens up as she begins her written confessions. 


The narrative in this story is interesting because it is all told in written confessions. We only get as much as her captors allow her to write. But Verity isn't telling just her story in these confessions; she is divulging the secrets through the story of her best friend Maddie. So while technically this is a first person novel, this convention turns it into a kind of third person.


I highly suggest the audiobook for this novel as it really adds to the story. Because this story is a confessional you feel like you are actually hearing a recording of the confessions. There is even a section where Verity is so exhausted she starts writing song lyrics and  the narrator starts singing and it just adds so much depth. 


 Also, because this book is focused on the European side of the war, there are a lot of German and French proper nouns and I liked not having to trip over them in print form.  I mean I doubt I'd have known how to pronounce Hauptsturmführer without the audiobook to help me out.

Verity and Maddie's story  feels so real. Wein points out in the author note that while much of the story is based on history all the places and people are fake. I think part of the reason so many readers  connect with it is because women like Verity very well could have existed. During World War II there really was a Women's Auxiliary Air Force where women helped in the war effort.  I'd actually be interested in Wein doing a book detailing where fiction and history diverged.

In the YA sphere specifically there is so much talk of "strong female characters" and I'm not usually fond of this phrasing, but I have to say Code Name Verity has some very strong female characters. I don't think they are strong because they fly planes as well as the boys or get to interrogate like the boys or get to enlist like the boys ; it's because they do something.This book is full of  female characters who do things, not to show up the boys or be strong but because it's the right thing to do. But Wein doesn't sugarcoat it either, they do face their share of discrimination and harassment. 

As an American I don't know much of the European version of WWII, so I was really drawn into this world of Europe in the crush of World War II. One of the parts of the novel that stood out to me is when a few characters begin to think  about where the safest place in the world would be because all the Europeans were living in fear; fear of bombs being dropped on their heads, fear of their own classmates being spies, fear of the Gestapo. They even black out all the signs in England so enemies can't see where they are. There is even an anecdote of how in Ireland they made a big sign that says  THIS IS IRELAND, so no German pilot would accidentally drop bombs thinking it was England. 

A beautiful story of friendship and war that creates a  powerful and flawless audiobook.



Shaking my head at the New York Times Review that said this book will appeal more to adults than teens because  of the original cover and because teens won't get all the historical references. This makes no sense to me because even I (a college educated "adult") didn't get a lot of the references, but I still enjoyed the book.

Also, I personally think this book will resonate more with teens than other WWII novels schools typically require since the characters are young adults.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Skylark by Meagan Spooner




  • Release Date: August 1, 2012
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Pages: 344
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Labs (Lerner Publishing)
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.
Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.



Steampunk, fantasy and dystopian collide to create the devastatingly unique setting of Skylark by debut author, Meagan Spooner.

In Lark Ainsley's  community everything is powered by the Resource, a type of magic that originates in all the citizens. At a young age, every citizen has their Resource harvested which strips them of any ability and then fully join society as adults.

Lark is getting older and  at 15-years-old is frustrated that she has yet to get harvested. Just when she thinks it will never happen Lark discovers she is different.  In a very bad way. Lark finds herself on the run, escaping the only life and civilization she knows into a great and dangerous unknown.

Judging by what I heard at the 2012 BEA editor's buzz, this story could an allegory for adolescence and growing up. When Lark doesn't like what being an an adult means in her community she has a choice to conform or rebel.

The story of Lark's journey  from home is  pretty linear. She spends much of the time alone so, there isn't a lot of dialogue and much of the story is internal narration. This is a book that is hard to discuss without getting into the spoilers.

This book follows the classic dystopian rules; the world building relied heavily on the Capital Letters Are Magic trope; The Wall, the Resource, Adjustment, Architects, The Administrator, The Institute, The Machine and Renewable. At times it was hard to juggle so many new terms and concepts.

Skylark has a nightmarish edge I haven't seen in a lot of dystopians. There are a lot of fates worse than death and some pretty depressing stuff in the world of this book.  The bleak world Lark inhabits reminded me a bit  Pure by Julianna Baggot. However, Lark is so removed from the horrible stuff that it doesn't have the same impact.

Skylar builds a distressing and interesting world for a young girls coming of age, but the plot falls flat at times and can be hard to stay in the present.



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Audiobook Review : The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater



"Ganseythat's all there is."
- Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys


  • Release Date : 9/18/2012
  • Genre : Urban Fantasy
  • Publisher : Scholastic
  • Length : 11 hours 18 minutes
Synopsis:  It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them-not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He has it all-family money, good looks, devoted friends-but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys

Going in to The Raven Boys  I  heard a lot of good things from other bloggers and based on Kat's review I had pretty high expectations, all of which were met.

The Raven Boys reads like a modern day fairytale. In the small town of Henrietta, Virginia three boys who attend the elite Aglionby Academy and a psychic's daughter embark upon a clandestine quest into the mystical, occult and magic; lead by the enigmatic Richard Gansey III.

In short, this story has  an amazing sense of setting  and eccentric characters you find yourself rooting for.  This isn't just a story about boy meets girl, so this was way different from what I'd  read of Stiefvater's  Mercy Falls series.

I grabbed the audiobook from my local library's Overdrive. Will Patton's low slightly accented performance lent itself well to the characters and third person narration.  I live in Virginia and  went to college with a few people from the real "southern" parts of  Virginia and I think Patton's accents are spot on.


I also noticed in this audiobook that when 2 or 3 characters would say the same things at once, the recording would talk over itself. It was a nice touch and gave a jarring effect.

For some reason, the character of Gansey was such an enigma to me. I had a hard time trying to figure out if he was supposed to be a likable character or not. He is always described as this larger-than life put together guy. He is cool and confident, so confident that at one part of the book he doesn't have to worry about looking back to see if his friends will follow him, because he knows they will.

I suppose what get me is  I didn't get any indication that he would do the same for them. I think on some level Gansey is aware of this and as one character always notes "he doesn't mean to be". 

I liked Gansey for the complex character he was and what I'll be looking out for in the sequel Dream Thieves is if there is any indication that he reciprocates the respect he is given. 

The Raven Boys is a great audiobook and just an all around unique story that will amaze, frighten and make you believe.


Maggie Stiefvater performed and wrote the music that plays at the beginning and ending of the audiobook. You can listen to "Henrietta" here





Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Not Just A Rowling Thing : Six Authors Gone Undercover

The book world (and the rest of the world) imploded when it was discovered that the debut mystery author Robert Galbrath, was none other than J.K. Rowling. I can understand why Rowling would want to publish a book under a pseudonym, so she could judged purely on the merit of her writing and not on her legacy.

But, Jo Rowling isn't the first author to go undercover. Check out these other authors who have published books under the cover of a pen name.

Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler)

Author of the  beloved childhood series, A Series of Unfortunate Events,  Daniel Handler went undercover with the pen name Lemony Snicket, one of the characters in the book. In 2011 Handler wrote the Printz honored YA novel Why We Broke Up as himself.

James Frey (aka Pittacus Lore)

In 2009 James Frey, the author who was famous for basically lying to Oprah, started a book packaging company for YA fiction. His goal was to create highly marketable fiction that would sell to Hollywood. Working with MFA student Jobie Hughes the two put together I Am Number Four under the name Pittacus Lore.


Paula Stokes ( aka Fiona Paul)

Fiona Paul's Venom swept readers into the world of Renaissance Venice,  in 2014 Fiona Paul will be taking a break while Paula Stokes releases two contemporary novel from HarperTeen; Liars, Inc and The Art of Lainey.

Stephen King (aka Richard Bachman)

This is probably the closest incident to what happened with Jo Rowling. In the 1970's  and 1980's King published a few novels as Richard Bachman so as not to oversaturate the market of his brand. He even went as far as to use his literary agent's insurance agent's picture as the author photo. However when one bookseller figured it out, the sale of the books skyrocketed.

 Michelle Rowen (aka Morgan Rhodes)

Michelle Rowen is known for her supernatural romances for teens and adults. In 2012 she debuted the high fantasy, Falling Kingdoms, under the name Morgan Rhodes. Interesting fact--Rowen also published a futuristic thriller in 2008 under the name Michelle Maddox, but it will be republished  under her real name with Harlequin Teen.

Robyn Schneider ( aka Violet Haberdasher)

Having previously published YA fiction and non-fiction Schneider published her middle grade series, Knightley Academy, under the pen name Violet Haberdasher.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lazy Days of Summer Spontaneous Giveaway Hop : Signed ARC of Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian



So, this is a spontaneous giveaway hop ! If you want to sign up just go here.

With the release date of this book pushed up, I realized I am just not going to have time to read and review this before the release. So, I'm giving it away ! 

*** 1 signed ARC of Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian ***


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This is a giveaway hop ! Hop on to the next blogs !



Monday, July 22, 2013

Sense List Vol. 24



TV/Film




Publishing






  • Acclaimed YA author Victoria Schwab's middle grade series has a title; Everyday Angel


On The Web





  • Don't count Generation Y out just yet ! Senior Community Manager for Book Riot.com says there is more to this generation than texting and Angry Birds. . . we are readers too.


Cover Reveals

 Pawn by Aimee Carter
Wings by Elizabeth Richards (Black City #3)







Summer of Love Blog Hop (U.S Only)


Darker Still by Leanne Renne Hieber with Signed Book Plate

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.
There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.
I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.



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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Listen Up ! : My Top Three Bookish Podcast


I recently updated my iPhone and the new Podcast App has made it easier (when it's not being glitchy) for me to browse and download new book related podcast. Here are some bookish podcast I've been listening to. All of these do streams online so you don't have to have an iPhone to listen.



Book Riot Podcast









An extension of Book Riot  this fun and laid back podcast discusses books , industry news and gives a few fun facts about authors on their birthdays. While I usually read YA,  I've discovered so many literary and adult fiction titles I want to read.

Host 
  • Jeff O'Neal, Editor-In-Chief,  Book Riot
  • Rebecca Schinsky - Senior Editor and Community Manager, Book Riot


Bookrageous












 Bookrageous! "Serious about books, but not exactly serious.Bookrageous talks about a large range of books and I've been listing to their blacklist of episodes. The three hosts bring a slew of different  perspectives and on books. The first half of the show is spent talking about what books they are reading and loving and the next half is on various topics.

Host 
  • Rebecca Schinsky - Senior Editor and Community Manager, Book Riot
  • Jenn N, Indie Bookseller Extraordinaire
  • Josh, Indie Bookseller and author of Maine Beer


Swoony Boys Podcast











This is the podcast for fans of Young Adult and YA boys. I love how dedicated the host are to making sure the boys in YA fiction get some love. I've certainly been paying more attention to the male leads since listening to them.

Host
  • Meg, swoonyboyspodcast.com
  • Kassiah, swoonyboyspodcast.com


This is just a sample of bookish podcasts out there. Do you listen to any book related podcast ? Have one I should check out ?  Let me know !




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Keneally (Thousand Oaks #3 )


  • Publication Date March 1st 2013
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Pages: 308
  • Genre: Contemporary
Synopsis: Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker. Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt--with her.Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…


Much like Kenneally's last book, Stealing Parker this book is about a good Christian girl. But unlike Parker in Stealing Parker, our main character Kate wants nothing more to stay that way. She likes being called a  "a good, good girl." Which is why everyday she wrestles with helping with her estranged best friend's abortion.

Kate tries to put all that behind her, but her summer job at Cumberland Creek Camp will test her faith and resolve and remind her there are some things she can't forget.

This is the third book in Kenneally's Thousand Oak collection  and this novel has pretty much what  I expect from her series writing and story wise. Kenneally's writing is to the point, casual and littered with sarcasm and jokes. Her stories involves introspective girls going through the emotions of  first real romance. I think the biggest difference that seems to throw off so many reviewers is that  Things I Can't Forget has pretty much zero sport themes and more religious ones.

Our protagonist Kate is somewhat of an anti-hero. She is kind of a rare YA female protagonist because I'm  sure  most teens and young adults will hate her. Kate is judgmental and overtly righteous--when all the other counselors want to sleep in a cabin together, she sleeps outside because she thinks someone will get pregnant--which seems kind of a silly thing to think at 18 years old.  One of the last things Kate's best friend Emily does is call her a judgmental bitch, and that pretty much is Kate.

But not everyone has given up on her. She builds a relationship with fellow counselor Matthew Brown who is not only a preacher's son  but also a crazy impulsive frat bro who runs barefoot marathons and drives a jeep without doors. As her feelings for Matt grow, she begins to questions everything she knew about right and wrong.

Overall this book didn't work for me. I couldn't really emotionally connect with any of the characters or the story. It was focused so much on the daily relationships and camp activities that it lost a lot of the emotional resonance. There  isn't much in this book about Kate's struggles against  her own version morality.

For someone who is so obediently religious, Kate didn't seem that emotionally connected to the church. This book creates some heavy issues and questions, but the content of this book is surprisingly light.

I do like how Keneally's always done a good job of representing issues for teens and young adults. She touches on the fact that we are in a struggling economy, with characters like the camp director Megan who has a Master's degree, and works at the summer camp waiting or the next best thing.

At the end of the day if you enjoy the romance of Kenneally's books you will enjoy this book.



So, it looks like Kenneally's next book, Racing Savannah will feature  Matt's little brother Jeremiah who gets a little page time in this novel. But am I the only one who wants to know what is going on with the other counselor Brad who was too afraid to go home on the weekends ? I want to see more of him.

Monday, July 15, 2013

ARC Giveaway : Boy On The Bridge by Natalie Standiford ( U.S Only)

Fall in love, risk it all and take a chance with Boy On The Bridge. A  bleak, hopeful and realistic romance set in the early 80's during the height of the Soviet Union.

Win an ARC of Boy On The Bridge by Natalie Standiford

  • Release Date : July 30th 2013
  • Genre : Realistic Fiction
  • Pages : 256
  • Publisher : Scholastic





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Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Sense List : Vol. 23








TV/Film






Publishing



On The Web





  • A.G Howards gives readers a peek behind the scenes of the publishing process by showing off the pass pages for Unhinged



Cover Reveals
  • See Me by Wendy Higgins
  • Into The Dark by Bree Despain




Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review : The Boy On The Bridge by Natalie Standiford

  • Release Date : July 30th 2013
  • Genre : Realistic Fiction
  • Pages : 256
  • Publisher : Scholastic

Synopsis : Laura Reid goes to Leningrad for a semester abroad as Cold War paranoia is peaking in 1982. She meets a young Russian artist named Alexei, and soon, with Alexei as her guide, Laura immerses herself in the real Russia--a crazy world of wild parties, black-market books and music, and smuggled letters to dissidents. She must keep the relationship secret; associating with Americans is dangerous for Alexei, and if caught, Laura could be sent home and Alexei put under surveillance or worse. . . 
Nineteen year-old Laura Reid has always dreamed of going to Russia.  She wants to experience the passion, violence and history of the nation's past. When her studies bring her and a group of American students to Russia it is hardly what she expected.

It’s 1982 and the Russia of her dreams and Communist USSR are not one in the same.

Her days consist of dull classes, harassing gypsies, empty grocery stores and the constant reminder that her US passport makes her an object of scrutiny and jealousy.

Then she meets Aloysha, the titular boy on the bridge. As a relationship forbidden by society, the government and their peers grows between the two Laura has to decide what she is willing to give up for a chance at true love. Because it is love. Right?

Standiford's writing effortlessly builds the world of 1980's Russia. While the book does have a cultural learning curve there aren't all these obvious "teachable" moments and lets the reader live in the world.

The Boy on the Bridge takes place during the years between the rise and fall of Communist Russia. The time period and setting is far from the norm in today's contemporary YA. The bright spots of creativity and defiance give the story a tinge of hopefulness in what seems like a bleak situation. It opened my eyes to what communist Russia was like and how Russia's democracy transformed the country.

I would have wanted a bit more growth from our female protagonist. I feel that after this transformative experience in Russia that she comes out on the other side the same as she came in. I didn't get the indication that she had changed as much as I wanted her to.

The plot is very focused on the romance and parts of the romance can be predictable, but I think the historical aspects are what readers will be drawn to.

One item of note about this book is that the main characters are nineteen and twenty two. Laura  is a sophomore at Brown  studying abroad and Aloysha has been given his first job out of school, yet this book falls under a YA category This book is an example of   how we can have stories about college students and those early year experiences (studying abroad) without sticking it in the new adult category

The Boy On The Bridge test the belief in true love, deceit and fear.  This is not a typical light fluffy romance and will have you thinking long after you have finished it.





OMG, Trailers Always Spoil. The synopsis of this book on Goodreads and Amazon basically give away most of the plot. READ WITH CAUTION. 

 Also I love that this book uses the font Lavanderia in the title and pages however it doesn't work for this book. Like one Goodreads' reviewer suggested the cover screams cutsey Russian romance, but this is not that book. Cover Flip ?

*ARC received at BEA for review





Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday Vol. 15



  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  • Sept. 2013


Synopsis: While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?


I'm really on a historical fiction kick right now and after finishing Wein's amazing Code Name Verity I am ready for her next book. Although, I'm sure I need to prepare since it is about a girl in a co
concentration camp.








Reality Boy by A.S. King
October 2013



Synopsis: Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth—which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he’s tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone’s just waiting for him to snap…and he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.


Someone on Twitter joked that this book is Honey Boo Boo when she gets older. I adored A.S. King's Everybody Sees The Ants and this idea of reality TV child star all grown up is such a current and interesting topic for a YA book.

What are you waiting on ? Please leave a link below so I can stop by ! I need to update my Goodreads Want To Read shelf.


Days of David Levithan : Boy Meets Boy




  • Release Date: Sept. 8th 2003
  • Publisher: Knopf 
  • Genre: Contemporary
  • Pages: 185

It's pretty fitting to start my reading David Levithan with his debut novel Boy Meets Boy. In fact, Boy Meets Boy just released its 10 year anniversary edition which has an excellent Q&A with Levithan in the back and I'll be referring to a bit.

As I was reading this Q&A I began to think about how this novel is pretty significant to the "YA canon", if there is one. In a lot of interviews about this book  Levithan talks about how in 2004 there weren't many books featuring queer teens, and if there were they usually leaned on the Bury Your Gay and the Gayngst tropes--that is a gay teen usually ended up dead or in another equally angsty situation at the end of the day. That's not to say the intolerance doesn't exist in the novel, but what Levithan  does is offer a new narrative, a story of hope for those gay  teens who never see positive stories about themselves.

Boy Meets Boy is exactly what it says on the cover. It's about what happens when boy meets boy, but the plot is about if  boy can keep boy. At the National Book Festival Levithan called this a "dippy happy love story" and I think that is the perfect description,

Paul is a sophomore in high school who has always known he was gay, and even had it confirmed in Kindergarten when his teacher wrote "Paul is definitely gay and has a very good sense of self" on his report card. Paul's had a long series of boyfriends since elementary school, but has taken a break after coming of a breakup with Kyle, his now straight ex-boyfriend who says Paul tricked him.

And then Paul meets Noah, the new boy in town. Like most of Levithan's characters Noah is very spiritual, artsy and creative. He has "cool hair" , suede blue shoes and is kind of  boy who "paints some music" after school. But despite his coolness, Noah has his own fragile heart and Paul wants nothing more to make this relationship work, but his crazy life seems to want to get in the way.

The main storyline is pretty simple, but Levithan weaves so many side characters and elements to create a really robust story and world. I  like how he can tell a whole story  in only about 185 pages. Which by the way is another thing I love about most of Levithan's books--he keeps it short.

One of the biggest criticisms about this book is the culture shock from the unnamed town Paul lives in. His town is kind of this surreal-ish utopian town where all kinds of LGBT is celebrated and accepted. The football quarterback, Infinite Darlene, is the also homecoming (drag) queen,  the cheerleaders ride Harley's, They've renamed the Boy Scouts the Joy Scouts in protest of the gay ban,  the members of the Gay-Straight Alliance outnumber the members of the football team and the French Cuisine club gets an applause at the pep rally for rising the perfect souffle. Just to name a few.

My first thought was that Levithan created the community to take some of the "special issue"-ness about of the LGBT novel. Levithan explains why he created this world really well in the back of the book, but essentially he wanted to picture things how they should be not how they are. As you read more into this story even the more absurd things fall away because, at its heart the story is so real.  Apparently this idea is explored more in Levithan's Wide Awake, so I'll be looking forward to that one.

This novel isn't entirely sunshine and rainbows, Levithan does touch on intolerance with Paul's  friend Tony who lives in a different town and is under strict scrutiny by religious parents. The friendship between Tony and Paul is so powerful. Tony is  self-conscious and afraid. He doesn't know a life where he can be okay with who he is until he meets Paul and hangs out with him. Paul  says he "fell in hope" with Tony and wants a fair world where Tony can shine, which I thought was a great sentiment.

While the story isn't perfect, the message of hope and acceptance is clear. Boy Meets Boy was a book ahead of it's time and I'll be really interested in comparing this book back to Levithan's most recent novel Two Boys Kissing.

Paul meets both Tony and Noah in a bookstore--I have a feeling this will be a recurring theme in Levithan's  books.





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