/ LGBTQ / Young Adult Books

Two Boys Kissing

Two Boys Kissing, by David Leviathan, is a novel that explores what it is like being gay for today's teens. It follows several gay teens over the course of two days, showing a diverse set of experiences. For instance, one plot line follows Avery, a transgender teen as he embarks on a new relationship. Another follows Craig and Harry, an ex-couple who are aiming to win the record for longest kiss and take a stand for gay rights. In contrast, a third plot line follows Cooper, a teen who is alone, lonely, and heading for a crisis.

Woven throughout these threads is a Greek chorus of gay men from the previous generation who have died from the AIDS epidemic. Their insights help the reader contrast what has changed for the gay community, as many teens can now be more openly gay than in the past. However, their dialogue also emphasizes how serious issues have not disappeared, particularly homophobia, lack of acceptance from family, violence, and suicide. These are effectively mirrored to differing extents in the living characters' lives.

The novel is most appropriate for high school, particularly due to the focus on suicide and some more mature content in one plot line. Moreover, the back and forth between the chorus and current action would likely confuse middle school students, even though it was particularly effective. The book is very powerful and illustrates how many teens struggle with finding acceptance and safety in their family and community, even as the world changes for the better.

Ellen Bees

Ellen Bees

I am a middle school teacher with a passion for sustainability and human rights. Opinions are my own.

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