Thursday, February 6, 2020
Book Review: "19 Love Songs" by David Levithan
"He liked the idea that when you fall in love with someone, the other person becomes your lighthouse keeper, even if it means staying up all night, even if it means staring out into the darkness until the darkness assumes the shape of your love and comes back to you."
In this collection, Levithan explores the highs and lows of love, from the exhilaration of the first spark to the moments where a relationship rises and where they sometimes fall. It’s also a look at how it feels to fully know yourself, to accept yourself for who you are.
Many, but not all, of the stories have LGBTQ themes or characters. Some deal with major moments and some deal with everyday occurrences. From a first date between a transgender football player and a male cheerleader or a young boy’s memories of Valentine’s Day with his mother, to a boy dressing as Santa Claus as a favor for his boyfriend or a story about self-discovery amidst participation in a school quiz bowl, these stories are heartfelt, sometimes funny, thought-provoking, and just gorgeously written.
Three stories feature characters from three of Levithan's books—Every Day, Boy Meets Boy, and Two Boys Kissing—but you don’t need to have read those to enjoy the stories.
"Words were my tools of creation. And love, I learned, is a constant act of creation, just as creation is almost always an act of love."
Levithan is among my favorite YA authors. (His one book for adult audiences, The Lover's Dictionary, is pretty fantastic as well.) His writing, his use of imagery, and the way he conveys emotions often brings me to tears because I feel so connected with what he’s saying. I got seriously choked up more than a few times while reading this.