Author Spotlight: David Levithan
The romance genre has had a pretty bad rap for many years, and with good reason. It’s riddled with clichés, tends to get cheesy, and can be pretty sexist at times. Many a writer has tried over and over to come up with romances that go beyond the box. Some try way too hard; others fall short. Few get it just right. David Levithan is a writer that belongs to this happy few.
Early in life, Levithan knew that his work someday will involve words, but he wasn’t sure which way to go. He grew up in New Jersey, and although he was bookish as a teenager, he never pressured himself academically. Before he became known for his barrier-breaking romances, David Levithan worked as an editor. At the age of 19, he worked as an intern at Scholastic. He’s also the founding editor of Scholastic’s young adult imprint, PUSH. His early work as editor had a great impact on his work as a writer.
Levithan’s first novel, Boy Meets Boy, is pretty straightforward with its title. Published in 2003, the novel is a gay teen romance which breaks away from the stereotypes of its genre. The novel focuses on the relationship of the two characters, unlike other gay romances where the focal point of the novel is often the fact that its lead characters are gay.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, published in 2006, is a novel written in collaboration with Rachel Cohn, wherein they took turns writing in the perspectives of the title characters. The story takes it two leads on a whirlwind adventure in one night, looking for an elusive band’s pop-up concert.
In 2012, Levithan published yet another groundbreaking novel. Everyday tells the love story of Rhiannon and A, who since birth had been waking up in the body and life of a different person every day. One day, A wakes up in the body of Rhiannon’s boyfriend in the middle of their crumbling relationship. A falls in love with Rhiannon and goes to lengths to look for her and spend time with her, despite the challenge of being an entirely different person every day. In 2015, an accompaniment book was published, Another Day, which tells the story from Rhiannon’s point of view.
Other than these three, Levithan has written other novels, both solo and in collaboration with other authors, and has had stories published in anthologies. Despite his lack of accolades, David Levithan’s novels break the barrier of the stereotypical romance novel, which in itself is a very important achievement.
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