Someone's Utopia

Levithan, David. Boy Meets Boy. New York: Random House, 2003.
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While some may be quick to dismiss Boy Meets Boy as a piece of literature that would only appeal to members of the gay community, this is absolutely not the case at all. Boy Meets Boy is a love story with universal appeal that just happens to revolve around the lives of gay characters. Any one who has ever braved the perils and pitfalls of high school dating (or is currently facing them) will find something to relate to in this book. The book does tell the story in a sort of fantasy world where homosexuality is much more openly accepted than it is in our day and age. For instance, no kindergarten teacher could label a student as clearly gay and not be swiftly fired, and the chances of a High School having a Gay Club are quite slim. If a reader is willing to immerse his or herself in the book and take some of the story elements with a grain of salt, they will walk away from the book wholly satisfied.

The story follows Paul, an openly gay High School student who has spearheaded the gay rights movement in his town since he was young, turn his town into a very gay friendly one. So much so that a drag queen becomes both the Homecoming Queen and and the star quarterback of the football team in the same semester. While out with his friends Joni, a straight girl who has been his best friend since fifth grade, and Tony, another gay boy who lives in the next town over which is less accepting of homosexuality, causing Tony to have a strained relationship with his parents who hope to change his sexuality, Paul meets Noah, a boy who is new in town and also gay. The two hit it off right away and Paul is smitten with Noah, who seems to take an interest in him as well. The two begin to date and all goes well until Kyle, an ex-boyfriend of Paul's who stopped taking to him after breaking up with him and telling people that Paul tricked him into being gay, walks back into Paul's life, causing complications in Paul and Noah's relationship. Paul sets out to resolve all of the love issues in his life along with those of his friends.

Recommendations for Teachers
It would be wonderful if we lived in a world where teaching this book would be perfectly acceptable, but unfortunately this world does not exist quite yet. Until then, teaching "Boy Meets Boy" must be done with strategy and preparation. It is necessary to devote a fair amount of time to the education of not only homosexuality, but bisexuality and transgendered as well. We recommend discussing tolerance, as well as what it means to be homosexual and the steps to reaching that point. The gay life cycle is an interesting place to start. It is imperative that upon teaching this book, to encourage open-mindedness, because without this, nothing will get absorbed. As an introduction to the book, we suggest to explain the background of the town. The idea of this utopia is also a good way to explain why this town would be a utopia for many LGBT people. We also recommend that you get parent signatures and encourage talking about the topics in the book at home so that the gateway of communication is open between parent, child and the teacher to try to avoid problems. Try to emphasize that there is nothing inappropriate in the book; no drugs, no sex, and minimal swearing. It's meant to provoke thought and enjoyment from the students and teaching it with open discussion is a great way to spread tolerance and understanding among the next generation.

About David Levithan

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David is afraid of having a boring sounding biography. He was born in 1972 and had a happy childhood and adolescents, with his largest addiction being to diet Dr. Pepper. He graduated from Brown in 1994. Because he finds himself so bland, he enjoys talking about his books a bit more than talking about himself. Boy Meets Boy actually began as a short story he wrote for friends for Valentine's Day. He didn't want the book to be just another gay teen piece of literature which normally depict gay teens as outcasts, so he took another approach: a well-adjusted gay teen. He stated that the book is "about where we're going, and where we should be." David is a senior editor at Scholastic and the founding editor of the PUSH imprint. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Other books by David:

The Realm of Possibility-
Are We There Yet?-
Marly's Ghost-
Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist-
Wide Awake-

David has also edited or co-edited several anthologies ranging in subject matter, from questioning your identity to friendship stories.

Multimedia (Video or Audio)

This video explains why it is important to talk and educate students about homosexuality in schools. Parents worry that this type of education is "recruiting" their children to be homosexuals, but in reality is just giving them sources of information. This is important when talking to parents about the importance of reading books such as Boy Meets Boy.

Additional Resources:

--Megan Motz
--Ray Radwanski
--Abby Franks