**This book contains mentions of self-harm, suicide, and bullying based on sexual orientation.**
“We watch you, but we can’t intervene. We have already done our part. Just as you are doing your part, whether you know it or not, whether you mean to or not, whether you want to or not.”
I need words stronger than “beautiful,” “heartbreaking,” and “inspiring” for this one. Because, all though it was all of those things, it was just so much more.
Two Boys Kissing is, on the surface, about two boys kissing in order to break the Guinness World Record for the longest kiss, while also drawing awareness to the fact that two boys kissing should not be a big deal.
But at its core, it’s about life. Or lives rather. The story follows different gay teens through their own storylines, sometimes overlapping, sometimes not.
There’s Cooper, who spends his time on gay hook up apps, in an attempt to fill a void in himself. His story is the most traumatic to read, and I found myself sobbing hysterically as his reached a conclusion.
Then there is Avery and Ryan, the former a trans boy with pink hair, and the latter a gay boy with blue hair. We watch a budding relationship form and grow from honesty and trust.
Neil and Peter are an adorable couple, navigating their relationship in a world where one’s parents are accepting and the others choose to ignore who he is.
Finally, we have Craig and Harry, the former couple taking on the longest kiss. Harry, with the support of his parents, is openly gay. Craig, however, is not. And his family doesn’t find out until their kiss is going viral.
These characters are so uniquely written. Each one has a different story, one that you can trace to their support systems, or lack thereof, in a world that’s become more accepting of the LGBTQ community (while also harboring hatred for what is different). It’s proof that being under the label of “gay” does not make anyone’s story the same.
But the most beautiful part of this story lies in David Levithan’s narration choice. This story is told by a Greek Chorus of the gay men who died from AIDS in the 80’s and 90’s. It creates this all-knowing, parent-like narrator, that wants the characters to feel happy, and loved, and have so much more than the generations before them.
This book is not only beautiful, it’s also necessary. It’s needed. I picked it up because it was short and I wanted a quick read, and I never could have imagined how important this book actually is. Everyone should read this, if only be a little less ignorant of the world around you. You will learn something, and you will feel everything.