Levithan, David (2003). NEW YORK: Random House/Alfred A. Knopf. ISBNTrd. 0-375-82400-6, ISBNlib. 0-375-92400-0,
In this “gaytopia” (Booklist), everyone is accepting—the quarterback of the football team is also the homecoming queen, and PFLAG has more members than the PTA. Still there are lots of problems—Paul’s friend Tony, from the less accepting neighboring town, struggles to come out to his Christian parents; Joni, Paul’s best friend since kindergarten, has a jerky new boy friend, and misunderstandings keep messing things up between Paul and the cute new boy, Noah. Can they get everything straightened out before the Dowager Dance?
High school ‘gayboy’ Paul and his friends live in what Booklist called ‘Gaytopia’, where the crossdressing quarterback is also the homecoming queen. Even in Gaytopia, love is hard, as Paul’s encounters with his ex, Kyle, complicate his relationship with the attractive new kid Noah.
The style of this book was initially very confusing. Too much Weetzie Bat? Too many John Waters movies? A little bit gay Pleasantville too? So peculiar, and yet too familiar. In the end it seemed partly a healing medicine for gay men who have far less pleasant high school memories, but more importantly, for kids who all too often see themselves in stories as either tortured victims or quirky best friends, it’s a chance to be the beautiful couple at the center of the dance floor. Sweetness and love are the qualities of this book; in the end you have to be kind of mean not to like it.
About the author
David Levithan has been an editor at Scholastic for many years. He is coauthor of the book Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. , which was recently made into a feature film.
YA LGBT Romance
Nice girls; bad boys--why?
Compare Paul’s town to yours.
Look at the role of friends in the Coming-out process.
Reading Level/Interest Age
Cheerfully positive depictions of homosexuality and crossdressing
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Looking for LGBT YA books
YALSA Best Books For Teens 2004