Author: David Levithan
Genre: YA contemporary – verse novel
Length: 210 pages
Published by: Text Publishing Australia
Source: Received for review (thanks, Text!!)
One school. Twenty voices.
There’s the girl who is in love with Holden Caulfield. The boy who wants to be strong who falls for the girl who’s convinced she needs to be weak. The girl who writes love songs for a girl she can’t have. The two boys teetering on the brink of their first anniversary. And everyone in between.
As he did in the highly acclaimed Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan gives us a world of unforgettable voices that readers will want to visit again and again. It’s the realm of possibility open to us all – where love, joy, and the stories we tell will linger.
There are…so many people in this book. Twenty of them, in fact. And since it’s in verse, and it’s only 210 pages, that’s like…
Hang on, let me maths.
That’s like 10 pages per person. Which meant that I did not connect to ANY of the characters.
I like David Levithan. I do.
This is the fourth book I’ve read by David Levithan.
I LOVED Every Day.
Really liked Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Kind of. But that might be because I’m biased towards John Green.
Every You, Every Me was interesting but kind of unmemorable. It had photos, though. That was cool.
So he’s a kind of hit and miss author for me, but in every book I read of his, I really want to experience a book that hit me as much as Every Day did (side note, what’s with two of his books starting with Every?). But apparently verse novels just aren’t for me.
The only other verse novels I’ve read are Run by Tim Sinclair, Tricks by Ellen Hopkins and Perfect, also by Ellen Hopkins. I do not have an inner poet. I am not a fan of poetry. You’d think that I would have stayed away from this book because of that.
BUT I BELIEVED IN DAVID LEVITHAN.
And I still do.
And don’t get me wrong, there were parts in this book I DID like. Some of the writing was so, so beautiful. My favourite POVs were
1) Where there was the girl who wrote everywhere.
2) The sisters who were lying in the backyard.
I just really struggled to connect to the story.
Like I didn’t…I didn’t get what the POINT was. Obviously other people did because it has a lot of amazing reviews. But it just wasn’t for me.
I think the best approach with this book is to focus on the writing whether trying to keep track of every character’s story – which is what I tried to do. Because the writing IS really beautiful, and if it was, say, 3 POVs, I could have really loved it. But I don’t do well with multiple POVs in general – I like sticking with maybe one or two characters, and getting to know them.
I think verse is a really interesting format to tell a story through. But in this instance, it just made it even harder to connect to the story. I wasn’t invested in the characters. It was written in a way that seemed like everything was supposed to connect into one larger story, but it just…didn’t. As soon as I’d finished reading one character’s story, I pretty much forgot about it.
Despite all that, David Levithn IS a good writer. You can see that in some of these stories, in some of the lines that I read a few times over because woah, they were awesome. I think this is just the wrong format for the story he was trying to tell, and I just couldn’t connect to it.
But if you like Ellen Hopkins, or beautiful writing, or verse novels, this is definitely a book for you.