cover image How They Met, And Other Stories

How They Met, And Other Stories

David Levithan, . . Knopf, $16.99 (244pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84886-5

With entries dating back to Levithan’s (Boy Meets Boy ) student years, this diverse collection gathers 18 stories about love: gay, straight, young, old, inspiring, silly, heartrending—one is even written in a mix of verse and song lyrics. In “Breaking and Entering,” Peter misses his ex-boyfriend, now away at college, so he sneaks into his house and falls asleep in his bed, while in “Flirting with Waiters,” a 12-year-old girl falls for an older pizza boy, saying, “It was enough for me to have Seth come to my house in his own car and say 'the usual’ with a smile.” Even the early entries showcase his trademark love of wordplay (in “A Romantic Inclination,” written when the author was a high school junior, physics students James and Sallie decide not to pursue each other because “the friction of a merging of their hearts wouldn’t be beneficial. It would be theoretically and realistically wrong.” They demonstrate, too, his love of fantasy: in the story he wrote in his last year of high school, the somewhat jejune “Memory Dance,” elderly Mary literally flashes back to when love was new. Throughout, the author quickly brings his characters to life, and he explores concepts that will resonate with teens, such as the randomness of love (“Person after person after person... they all converge at one moment, irrevocably changing the course of a thousand more lives. As it is with accidents, so it is with love”). Sweet, sometimes bittersweet, these stories will leave readers satisfied. Ages 14-up. (Jan.)