David Levithan is the author of many acclaimed young-adult novels, including Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility, Love is the Higher Law, and (along with Rachel Cohn) the New York Times bestselling Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, which has been adapted into a popular movie. He is an editorial director at Scholastic in the US.
This cute "novel" by YA author Levithan consists of a series of words and their definitions, each evoking a phase or theme about a fledgling romance. (e.g., fledgling: "Part of the reason I preferred reading to sex was that I at least knew I could read well"). The entries do gradually unravel a love story: the narrator has met a woman ("you") through an online dating site (aberrant: "Å‰I don't normally do this kind of thing,' you said. ‰Neither do I,' I assured you"). He endures all the writhings of new love, by turns eager, reserved, and hopeful about their evolving relationship, and transported by the joy of mutual exploration, the two move in together (balk: "If it all went wrong, the last thing I'd care about was who was to blame for moving in together") and are eventually undone (livid: "You went and broke our lives"). Levithan attains some heartbreaking moments as well as pitches of hilarity with his concise, polished writing. Inherent in such an endeavor (that just happens to hit shelves around Valentine's Day) is an adorableness thankfully grounded by Levithan's wit. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
'[An] inspired idea! both [narrator and partner] come wonderfully alive, emerging as complex, multidimensional human beings, happy and unhappy, ebullient and angry, sweet and sour, and so -- delightfully -- forth! accomplished artfully and satisfyingly.' Michael Cart, Booklist (Starred Review)
YA author Levithan (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) enters the adult market with a novel posing as a dictionary. Written from the perspective of a man in an unnamed couple, each entry, from "aberrant" to "zenith," defines a word within the context of their relationship. The entries follow the couple from their online meeting forward into cohabitation. It's not all hearts and flowers: entries are philosophical or melancholic as often as romantic, documenting, among other things, his shyness and intimacy issues and her drinking problem. The results read like little prose poems or especially pithy Facebook posts. This is an easy book to zip through in one or two sittings, but be forewarned: a dictionary doesn't end with happily, or unhappily, ever after. It's a book of moments, not conclusions; reading them can get addictive. VERDICT This intimate, honest look at how one plus one can be both more and less than two is strongly recommended for readers who don't need a high degree of specificity or resolution. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/10.]-Neil Hollands, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.