cover image Ryan and Avery

Ryan and Avery

David Levithan. Knopf, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-55309-7

In this brief and intense read, Levithan nonlinearly chronicles 10 dates between queer teenagers Ryan and Avery, supporting characters from Two Boys Kissing. The opening entry, “Snow Day,” finds 16-year-old Ryan and transgender high school junior Avery’s fifth date impacted by a snowstorm that forces Ryan, who lives two hours away, to spend the night at Avery’s house. It takes time for Ryan—who worries about being judged for being queer—to get comfortable around Avery’s supportive parents; once he does, however, the boys revel in their extra time together, using it to kiss unbothered and make snow angels. On their sixth date, they approach the quintessential “what are we” dilemma, prompting a simultaneously awkward and sweet conversation that further establishes their deepening feelings. While the third-person narration sometimes reads as precious, vulnerable prose emphasizes the boys’ fierce intimacy (“It’s still early enough that each kiss contains the revival of all the earlier kisses... and then brings its own twist, its own reason for being”) and forefronts the power and gravity of all-encompassing first love. Ryan and Avery read as white. Ages 12–up. Agent: Bill Clegg, Clegg Agency. (Sept.)