This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.
When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.
This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.
I didn't really know what to expect from this, it being my first David Levithan book. And although some of it seemed a little fantastical - I'm thinking the Drag Queen clique here - I did like it. It tells of Paul bumping into Noah and falling instantly head over heels. Paul needs to find out more about him and soon they grow quite attached. I liked Noah and I liked Paul when he was around Noah, they complimented each other very nicely. However, I didn't like Paul very much at the beginning but he did sort of grow on me. He was very aware of his self, which was admirable but also a little annoying. If only because no one else did and it obviously frustrated them! Paul also had this one moment half way through the book that made me want to slap him. Even though I knew it was because he was being selfless, he couldn't see beyond the immediate to see how it might effect him personally. It's ok to be a little selfish and because he wasn't seeing how it messed things up with Noah... grr!
Anyway, no matter what my problems with the story, his writing more than made up for it. Levithan's writing was just amazing. It was lyrically descriptive and incredibly detailed, flowing between narrative and speech smoothly. I also loved how he managed to give all the secondary characters their own stories and backgrounds that would fade in and out of Paul's focus, allowing us to delve into their worlds as well. It wasn't just Noah with his art and past boy troubles that Paul learned about, but also Tony with his strict parents, Joni and her need to be loved how matter how awful a match it is, and Kyle with his sexuality issues.
It took a while to get started and, like I said, a while for me to warm up to Paul, but even though the world was too forgiving, too open to the different, I loved it. I knew the world was too perfect but for just a little while, I wanted to believe that our world could be like that. I loved how there was such a solid gay community, how the different was accepted and how weird and wonderful their high school was. Levithan's writing really made it all come together smoothly and I loved how Paul's story of finding and accepting love wove in with happy endings for everyone else he cared about.
Published 1st August 2013 by Harper Collins. Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for my e-copy.