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. (Goodreads)
I have never read any David Levithan before, and I actually went for it based on a review – clearly I have been living under a rock somewhere. This book was fantastic! I loved the style of writing and the way in which we followed the lives of a few people who were connected through one fact – they are all gay. It showed their lives and what they have to deal with everyday and how each family takes it differently.
We read the story through the eyes of the people who are now dead and came before them. It showed us how the times and reactions have changed toward gay people depending on society. We feel involved no matter what we are because it is written in the form of “you” “us” and “we” – I liked this because I felt like I was a part of something. I felt connected with both the ghosts of the past and the people of the present.
Craig and Harry are the two boys kissing. They are attempting to break the world record for the longest kiss, but they also hope to achieve more. They want to draw attention to the way in which gay people are treated and they want it to be as public as possible – they want to bring people together. Harry’s parents know that he is gay, but Craig’s doesn’t and Levithan portrayed the two families and their reactions brilliantly. Not every set of parents loves to hear the fact that their child is gay and in places it was actually hard to read the reactions – especially knowing that these things take place.
We also followed Cooper. He is depressed and his family don’t take it well that he is gay. His story was the most difficult to read because of his depressiveness and the fact that he felt so alone and disconnected from everything and everyone. I don’t want to give too much away about his story, but I felt connected to him on a different level than I did with any other character.
We followed a couple more people as well, with which Levithan showed different reactions within different people to the gay community. Some were violent and there was gang violence against one boy, bullying, support, help, segregation. Everything that they go through as a community was portrayed within this book and there were also some facts thrown in about Aids for example. It really opens the readers eyes to the fact that some people have it harder than it actually needs to be based purely on their sexual preferences and it is horrible. My favourite aspect of this book was the fact that it was as if we were watching all of these lives from the people who died before the next generation. I thought this was extremely unique and I felt like it added an element to the book because it is written in a way that assumes that we know what they are going through. It includes us on a whole new level. I definitely need to read some more of his work!
I gave this book 5/5 stars! 😀