19 LOVE SONGS by David Levithan


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Age Range: 14 & up
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Levithan (Someday, 2018, etc.) curates a playlist of 19 love-themed short-story “tracks.”

The first story, “Quiz Bowl Antichrist,” places a “lit-boy” on a quiz bowl team with STEM nerds—one of whom becomes his “unarticulated crush.” In “Day 2934,” A—from Levithan’s Every Day (2013)—wakes up in a child’s body and shares a special mother-child Valentine’s Day. Another story, “The Woods,” lets a guy in on his boyfriend’s greatest secret: His boyfriend authors viral Taylor Swift fan fiction. Levithan spins sequential art by Eliopulos (The Adventurers Guild, 2017, etc.), poetry, and story together for a sentimental, hopeful, and sometimes-nostalgic look at the myriad manifestations of love. Chock-full of beautiful prose and literary allusions, the collection is more a serenade to books and writing than to music. Many stories have appeared in other anthologies. Characters from Two Boys Kissing (2013) and Boy Meets Boy (2003) also appear. Told mostly in first-person and without many descriptors, many of the stories have an ambiguous yet deeply personal feel—some, like “How My Parents Met,” are outright autobiographical. The majority queer cast consists mainly of cisgender gay male romances but also contains some heartfelt lesbian and trans representation. Most stories lack racial descriptors, but a few names code diversity beyond the default white majority.

Easy listening for the lovesick. (liner notes) (Anthology. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-984848-63-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2020


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