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19 Love Songs
Cover of 19 Love Songs
19 Love Songs
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The New York Times bestselling author of Every Day, Someday, and Two Boys Kissing is back with a short story collection about love!A resentful member of a high school Quiz Bowl team with an unrequited...
The New York Times bestselling author of Every Day, Someday, and Two Boys Kissing is back with a short story collection about love!A resentful member of a high school Quiz Bowl team with an unrequited...
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Description-

  • The New York Times bestselling author of Every Day, Someday, and Two Boys Kissing is back with a short story collection about love!
    A resentful member of a high school Quiz Bowl team with an unrequited crush.
    A Valentine's Day in the life of Every Day's protagonist "A."
    A return to the characters of Two Boys Kissing.
    19 Love Songs, from New York Times bestselling author David Levithan, delivers all of these stories and more. Born from Levithan's tradition of writing a story for his friends each Valentine's Day, this collection brings all of them to his readers for the first time. With fiction, nonfiction, and a story in verse, there's something for every reader here.
    Witty, romantic, and honest, teens (and adults) will come to this collection not only on Valentine's Day, but all year round.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Track One

    Quiz Bowl Antichrist

    I am haunted at times by Sung Kim's varsity jacket.

    He had to lobby hard to get it. Nobody denied that he had talent—in fact, he was the star of our team. But for a member of our team to get a jacket was unprecedented. Our coach backed him completely, while the other coaches in the school nearly choked on their whistles when they first heard the plan. The principal had to be called in, and it wasn't until our team made Nationals that Sung's request was finally heeded. Four weeks before we left for Indianapolis, he became the first person in our school's history to have a varsity jacket for quiz bowl.

    I, for one, was mortified.

    This mortification was a complete betrayal of our team, but if anyone was going to betray the quiz bowl team from the inside, it was going to be me. I was the alternate.

    I had been drafted by the coach, who also happened to be my physics teacher, because while the five other members of the team could tell you the square root of the circumference of Saturn's orbit around the sun in the year 2033, not a single one of them could tell you how many Brontë sisters there'd been. In fact, the only British writer they seemed familiar with was Monty Python—and there weren't many quiz bowl questions about Monty Python. There was a gaping hole in their knowledge, and I was the best lit-boy plug the school had to offer. While I hadn't read that many of the classics, I was extraordinarily aware of them. I was a walking CliffsNotes version of the CliffsNotes versions; even if I'd never touched Remembrance of Things Past or Cry, the Beloved Country or Middlemarch, I knew what they were about and who had written them. I could only name about ten elements on the periodic table, but that hardly mattered—my teammates had the whole thing memorized. They told jokes where "her neutrino!" was the punch line.

    Sung was our fearless leader—fearless, that is, within the context of our practices and competitions. Put him back into the general population and he became just another math geek, too bland to be teased, too awkward to be resented. As soon as he got the varsity jacket, there was little question that it would never leave his back. All the varsity jackets in our school looked the same on the fronts—burgundy body, white sleeves, white R. But the backs were different—a picture of two guys wrestling for the wrestlers, a football for the football players, a breaststroker for the swimmers. For quiz bowl, they initially chose a faceless white kid at a podium, probably a leftover design from another school's speech and debate team. It looked as if the symbol from the men's room door was giving an inaugural address. Sung didn't feel this conveyed the team aspect of quiz bowl, so he made them add four other faceless white kids at podiums. I was, presumably, one of those five. Because even though I was an alternate, they always rotated me in.

    I had agreed to join the quiz bowl team for four reasons:

    (1) I needed it for my college applications.

    (2) I needed a good grade in Mr. Phillips's physics class for my college applications, and I wasn't going to get it from ordinary studying.

    (3) I derived a perverse pleasure from being the only person in a competitive situation who knew that Jane Eyre was a character while Jane Austen was a writer.

    (4) I had an unarticulated crush on Damien Bloom.

    An unarticulated crush is very different from an unrequited one, because at least with an unrequited crush you know what the hell you're doing, even if the other person isn't doing it back. An unarticulated crush is harder to grapple...

About the Author-

  • When not writing during spare hours on weekends, David Levithan is editorial director at Scholastic and the founding editor of the PUSH imprint, which is devoted to finding new voices and new authors in teen literature. His acclaimed novels Boy Meets Boy and The Realm of Possibility started as stories he wrote for his friends for Valentine's Day (something he's done for the past 22 years and counting) that turned themselves into teen novels. He's often asked if the book is a work of fantasy or a work of reality, and the answer is right down the middle—it's about where we're going, and where we should be.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 25, 2019
    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.

  • School Library Journal

    December 13, 2019

    Gr 9 Up-Every year for Valentine's Day, Levithan writes a short story for his friends. Set up like a mixtape carefully crafted for a new crush, this is a collection of those stories, as well as tie-ins to his novels, told in 19 tracks that explore the love of friends, families, and relationships. One selection chronicles a mother's love for her child and how it can infiltrate the details of memories, while another tackles the secrets kept in relationships and how they can bring a couple closer together. There are stories about Taylor Swift fandom, the Women's March, 1972 gold medalist Mark Spitz, and librarians. Told in Levithan's signature prose-driven style, this book encompasses the anticipation of new crushes, first love, and first-and second, and third-kisses. LGBT teens who often feel erased within the YA landscape will feel seen, as love of all kinds is represented: trans, gay, lesbian, as well as the love people have for words and for a community. Several stories are autobiographical, and they are honest, relatable, and will resonate with readers. Like a good mixtape, this book builds, flows, and transports readers. VERDICT A first purchase for all collections. Both teens and adults will be drawn to this title. -Alicia Kalan, The Northwest School, Seattle

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2020
    Levithan (Someday, 2018, etc.) curates a playlist of 19 love-themed short-story "tracks." The first story, "Quiz Bowl Antichrist," places a "lit-boy" on a quiz bowl team with STEM nerds--one of whom becomes his "unarticulated crush." In "Day 2934," A--from Levithan's Every Day (2013)--wakes up in a child's body and shares a special mother-child Valentine's Day. Another story, "The Woods," lets a guy in on his boyfriend's greatest secret: His boyfriend authors viral Taylor Swift fan fiction. Levithan spins sequential art by Eliopulos (The Adventurers Guild, 2017, etc.), poetry, and story together for a sentimental, hopeful, and sometimes-nostalgic look at the myriad manifestations of love. Chock-full of beautiful prose and literary allusions, the collection is more a serenade to books and writing than to music. Many stories have appeared in other anthologies. Characters from Two Boys Kissing (2013) and Boy Meets Boy (2003) also appear. Told mostly in first-person and without many descriptors, many of the stories have an ambiguous yet deeply personal feel--some, like "How My Parents Met," are outright autobiographical. The majority queer cast consists mainly of cisgender gay male romances but also contains some heartfelt lesbian and trans representation. Most stories lack racial descriptors, but a few names code diversity beyond the default white majority. Easy listening for the lovesick. (liner notes) (Anthology. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from December 15, 2019
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Let's start with a declaration: Levithan never disappoints, a fact skillfully evidenced in this collection of 19 stories: 16 in prose, 2 in verse, 1 in pictures, and all celebrating love. Readers will recognize some of the characters from previous Levithan novels: from Boy Meets Boy (2003), we have Infinite Darlene in one of the best stories in the collection; from Two Boys Kissing (2003), boyfriends Avery and Ryan, still sporting pink and blue hair, respectively; and from Every Day (2012), A, who, in this winsomely sweet story, exists as an eight-year-old boy celebrating Valentine's Day with his single-parent mother. Others offer new characters for readers to befriend, some of them Levithan himself, for at least four of the stories are clearly autobiographical. The tone of the entries varies from elegiac to matter-of-fact, from yearningly nostalgic to up-to-the-minute, from acerbic to empathetic, but all are, in their various ways, deeply satisfying and emotionally resonant. There are, of course, lovely turns of phrase: thunder sounds like a car falling from the sky and hitting the ground, a crabby character is as pleasant to be with as a news channel, and so forth. And finally, seeming to talk to the reader, one of Levithan's characters says to another, I am words, and there you are to read them. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

  • Publishers Weekly, starred review " [An] optimistic reminder of the transforming power of love."
  • Booklist, starred review "Deeply satisfying and emotionally resonant."

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    Random House Children's Books
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