Goodreads synopsis: New York Times bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.To read Two Boys Kissing is to swim in a sea of poetry beautiful and raw, full of truth & hope & heartbreak and unbridled joy. This book captured my heart in a way few books have. Narrated by the voices of a collective "we" of past generations of gay men, Two Boys Kissing follows the lives of Craig and Harry, Peter and Neil, Avery and Ryan, and Cooper. These seven boys don't all know each other, they won't all meet, but they are connected in ways none of them can begin to imagine. Levithan masterfully blends the stories together allowing readers to glimpse into the myriad of complex relationships--romance, friendships, and families are tested, some becoming even closer, some teetering on the edge of destruction, all strikingly real, all completely honest. Each story is presented through the lens of the narrators, who can empathize with the boys and their families, for they've battled the same battles and more.
While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.
Craig and Harry are the centerpiece of the story, as they set out to break the world's record for longest kiss. As the lens pulls back from their story, we see the crowds gathering to watch their feat. Not everyone is supportive, and their are hecklers, yes; but there are others who build a human wall to block out the hecklers in a profound show of humanity. This scene reminded me of the angels who blocked out the Westoboro Baptist Church as they protested Matthew Shepherd's funeral. The lens pulls back further still and we are allowed glimpses into the lives of other boys, from the mundane to the extraordinary. From quiet moments spent on a lake to tense moments running from bullies. From boys surrounded by loving families to boys cast out for simply being who they are. All sides of humanity are presented in this book and what we learn more than anything is that we are all the same. We all desire to be loved. We all desire to be accepted for who we are. We all have ordinary days. And we all have extraordinary days. We are all on this big spinning ball trying to do the best we can.
Lyrical and profound, this book made me laugh out loud and made be gasp back sobs of despair. I was left wanting to hug each of the boys and tell them they are loved, tell them there are people out there who want to hear their stories, cheer them on in their successes, and listen to their dreams of tomorrow. It's been over a week since I turned the last page and still I am haunted by Levithan's prose, his characters have forever found a place in my heart.
Please, please, please, do yourself a favor and read this book.