cover image 19 Love Songs

19 Love Songs

David Levithan. Knopf, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-9848-4863-5

Levithan (Someday) celebrates different aspects of love through song, verse, graphic art, and stories in this collection of “tracks,” many previously published in other anthologies, written with tenderness and humor. Most selections focus on gay male relationships, beginning with a story about a high school student’s “unarticulated crush” on a quiz bowl teammate and progressing on to an examination of a couple’s ups and downs through the changing seasons of one year. “Day 2934” offers a child’s perspective of his mother’s affection during one special Valentine’s Day. “We” captures the pervading atmosphere of warmth and kinship (“You are yourself and something much larger than yourself, all at once”) during a massive, peaceful protest march. Levithan’s voice resounds strongly throughout, communicating a passion for kindness, individuality, and storytelling, and frequently encapsulating the mood and profundity of single moments. Threads connect the diverse protagonists (some of whom have appeared in previous works): many characters are struggling to find their identity, and most possess a strong desire to feel understood and wanted in this optimistic reminder of the transforming power of love. Ages 14–up. [em](Jan.) [/em]