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Bland YA gay romance set in a LGBT utopia
on 26 December 2012
Paul's a sophomore at a high school in a small town where homosexuality is completely accepted by all except the most religious (including the ultra religious parents on his gay best friend Tony) and the captain of the football team is also the homecoming queen known as Infinite Darlene.
When Paul meets Noah, he knows that he's in love. But Paul's life isn't simple. His best friend, Jodi, is dating the piggish Chuck who's got a grudge against Infinite Darlene. Paul's ex-boyfriend, Kyle, stalks and bad-mouths him, convinced that Paul tricked him into a relationship. Guilty at how their relationship ended and knowing that Kyle is confused about his sexuality, Paul's attempts to help lead to him losing Noah. To win back Noah, Paul must regain his trust but doing so will involve Paul wooing him all over again ...
David Levithan's YA novel is a sweet LGBT romance but while I liked the fact that it's set in a LGBT utopia, the plot is paper thin, key plot lines don't get resolved and the re-wooing of Noah is sadly skipped over given that it's supposed to be a main strand of the book.
The big problem is that the main characters of Paul and Noah are pretty bland. Paul's led a largely charmed life until he meets Noah, while Noah has trust issues following a bad break up in a previous relationship. Although their romance is sweetly depicted, the re-wooing is dealt with main in exposition during the last few pages when it should be a main plot strange.
There was potential in the argument between Paul and Jodi, his oldest friend who's completely absorbed with Chuck but Levithan fails to explore it and the resolution is poorly handled while Tony's problems with his parents felt superficial and has nothing new to say on a very difficult subject that's real to many LGBT teens.
Infinite Darlene was the only vibrant character in the book, with her brash confidence and common sense and I missed her when she wasn't on the page. As an aside, there are no notable female characters in this book, which I found a shame for a story that's supposed to be in a utopia of equality and acceptance.
All in all, it's not a bad book and while I did feel it was a wasted opportunity, I'd be interested in reading Levithan's other work.
Free review copy from publisher.