Pages: 185 Copyright: 2003
The official summary: “This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.
When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.”
In case you’re new around here, let me fill you in: I love David Levithan. Love love love him. And this book is a great example of why.
First of all, David writes characters who are gay, and he writes stories in which people are gay, but he doesn’t write Gay Characters or Gay Stories. In the world of David Levithan, that’s never the point. Which is how it should be.
Second of all, David Levithan’s writing voice is just awesome. His style has a great deal in common with John Green’s (a similarity that really shows in the book they wrote together, Will Grayson, Will Grayson). It’s witty, slick, and full of highly quotable bits of poeticism. “His books are kept on freestanding shelves hung at different angles on a sea-green wall. They defy gravity, as good books should.” “Seeing Kyle always takes some of the volume out of my soundtrack.” “Because sometimes you just have to dance like a madman in the Self-Help section of your local bookstore.” If David Levithan wrote an Ikea dresser assembly manual, I would read it, because he would make it sound good.
Thirdly, David Levithan’s characters! Are fabulous. They are so rich and quirky and diverse. And his romance is the sweetest thing ever. The progression of Paul and Noah’s relationship is so realistic and natural, and so lovely. And Paul as a narrator is extremely relatable. I think each of us is Paul, at least some of the time.
The style of this book is fabulous. The content of this book is fabulous. The author of this book is fabulous. It’s short, but it does so much in its space. Read it. Yes. Case closed. Goodnight.
I think the Soaring Eagle award is a reasonable accolade for excellent LGBTQ representation. Because even though it shouldn’t be impressive for a writer to write gay characters, it’s still worthy of praise when it’s done this well.