I’ve read both of Levithan’s current collaborations with Rachel Cohn, and have certainly enjoyed them, so I was looking to read some of Levithan’s solo efforts. (For some reason, I’ve not been tempted by Cohn’s own books, don’t know why…)
So, when I spotted this one while playing with the Kindle App on my Android, I really didn’t need any excuses to try it out. 😉
“There isn’t really a gay scene or a straight scene in our town. They all got mixed up a while back, which I think is for the best! And whether your heart is strictly ballroom or bluegrass punk, the dance floors are open to whatever you have to offer. This is my town.”
Paul is a sophomore in high school whose life is about to get as complicated as an episode of any teen TV drama. Just as he is getting to know and fall in love with his new love interest, Noah, his ex Kyle, is having some issues and decides he wants to get back with Paul. Whilst Paul really has only eyes for Noah now, he has a caring nature that won’t allow him to abandon his friend.
He desperately needs his best friend, but Joni, whose own love life is just as complicated has just about dropped all her friends in favour of her new Jock boyfriend who is likely just using her, but she’s not interested in listening.
Then there’s the other friend Tony from out-of-town, who’s fundamental religious parents, won’t let him out of the house unless it’s with a girl.
All very melodramatic, and that’s before we meet the supporting cast, who include amongst their number Infinite Darlene, drag queen and the high school’s star quarterback. It’s clear that this is a very different high school in a very different town. A town where you can be who you happen to be without worry. It’s beyond utopian, and everything is taken to the nth degree.
It’s clear that in creating this ‘perfect’ world, Levithan wanted to show that beneath the names, labels and stereotypes we apply to others, that we are all the same, and deal with the same trials and tribulations.
It could all be an absolute mess, but Levithan manages to pull it off, and because for all the glitter and sparkle, his characters are likeable, and their problems are just as real as any we as readers know about. It allows you to care for them, and just enjoy the rest of the wild ride, it turns out to be an immense amount of fun.