Thursday 20 November 2014

Review on 'Two Boys Kissing'

When Harry and Craig decide to attempt the world record for the longest kiss, they don't realize that they will become the focus point for other teen boys around the world going through the same things as them. While they kiss, events start to unfold for other gay teens, including Peter and Neil, who have been together for a year, and Ryan and Avery who have only just met. Meanwhile Cooper is addicted to gay hookup sites, but feels empty inside. Although they all have separate lives, they all share the struggle of being gay in a homophobic world.

I thought this book was amazing and really captured the thoughts and feelings of the characters. I loved that so many issues were dealt with, such as relationship problems, coming out, homophobia, depression and gender identity. The gay characters are all very different as individuals, but as a group they share the same problems.

I think gay teenage boys would be able to identify with this novel, as sadly many of them have homophobic parents, and choose to stay in the closet for as long as possible to avoid confrontation. We live in a world where the older generation tend to cling to what they see as social norms. Being gay used to be a crime which could be punishable by imprisonment, and some people still see it as “abnormal” or “not natural.” It's not uncommon for parents to estrange themselves from their gay child, which is shown brilliantly in Craig and Cooper's cases.

I loved Avery, as it is even rarer to come across a transsexual character in YA fiction than it is to come across a gay character. Ryan's acceptance of Avery for who he is was adorable , and I loved how a big deal wasn't made out of it. I thought Avery was a strong character for standing up for himself, and empathised with him for not feeling 100% confident about his body, as I feel as if every teenager, no matter their gender or sexuality has felt like this at some point.

Cooper's storyline was important, as teenagers feeling unsafe in their homes is a huge issue. A lot of teenagers feel like Cooper does, but do not get the help they need, which results in hundreds of teen suicides every year. The book gives a strong message that teenagers shouldn't be like Cooper, and should get the help that they need.

I thought the narration was slightly strange, and it put me off the book slightly to start with, but got into the flow of things as it went on. The issue of gay men in the past not getting the help they needed having contracting AIDS is important, but I found it slightly strange that they were narrating from the afterlife, and gave a supernatural sense to an otherwise contemporary novel.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It is aimed at an audience of gay teenage boys, but as I am neither of those things and still enjoyed it, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA contemporary novels.

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