Title: 19 Love Songs
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books/Random House
Length: 289 Pages
Category: LGBTQ Fiction, Love and Romance
At a Glance: 19 Love Songs is a diverse and sublime collection of love stories, it’s a love note to the written word, an homage to music, and a celebration of both the fleeting and enduring kinds of love that touch our lives over the course of that slippery thing we call time.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: A resentful member of a high school Quiz Bowl team with an unrequited crush.
A Valentine’s Day in the life of Every Day’s protagonist “A.”
A return to the characters of Two Boys Kissing.
19 Love Songs, from New York Times bestselling author David Levithan, delivers all of these stories and more. Born from Levithan’s tradition of writing a story for his friends each Valentine’s Day, this collection brings all of them to his readers for the first time. With fiction, nonfiction, and a story in verse, there’s something for every reader here.
Witty, romantic, and honest, teens (and adults) will come to this collection not only on Valentine’s Day, but all year round.
Review: David Levithan happens to be the author of my all-time favorite Young Adult novel Boy Meets Boy. Sweet, quirky, funny, and replete with colorful and loveable characters, the book stole my heart from the first page, and ten years later it remains memorable for being a unique fish in the ocean of YA romance. One of the book’s most beloved characters, Infinite Darlene—star quarterback and homecoming queen—gets a story in 19 Love Songs, and I might have screamed a little when she was right there being herself, being a little vulnerable, being magnificent, and being wooed by the head cheerleader from a rival school. Infinite Darlene tells Cory why she is Infinite, because he asks, and she gives him a thoughtful and eloquent answer. But to me she’s Infinite because she is written and unforgettable.
19 Love Songs is the narrative version of a mix tape, for lack of a better description, with the common theme being love and romance, obviously. It introduces new characters, revisits old, offers a glimpse into the author’s own life and family, and Track Twelve, A Brief History of First Kisses, is even in graphic format. This collection of Levithan’s previously published works alongside new material discovers love in unexpected places, explores unrequited love, unarticulated love, delves into familial love, and loving friendships, and self-love and acceptance as well, through myriad voices that span the spectrum of what it means to be human and present in this life.
The things we do for love, to be noticed, to not be noticed, to who we remain and who we become when we become one of two, when we become a story in and of ourselves, are each explored through verse and prose in David Levithan’s unique voice. This book celebrates the sharing of stories and how those stories come to shape who we are and how we see the world, not only through our own eyes but through other’s. There are countless events that can happen between Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After, and sometimes The End is just that, The End, because love is sometimes a short journey and the destination is fixed.
The final piece in this novel is a dedication to the Freedom to Read Foundation, “and all of the librarians, teachers, booksellers, writers, and others who fight for such freedom.” It is a love song to books and reading and the infinite grace with which the written word comforts and unites, charms and invites us in, each and every one of us, in our own time and our own way.
“Words are the bridge.
Words are the balm.
Words can take us out of the hands of the people who believe in closed borders and closed minds.
Words are the open base from which we build.”
19 Love Songs is a diverse and sublime collection of love stories, it’s a love note to the written word, an homage to music, and a celebration of both the fleeting and enduring kinds of love that touch our lives over the course of that slippery thing we call time. It is unifying in its message, uniting us all in the simple, complicated, unabashed joy of reading.
You can buy 19 Love Songs here:
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