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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 cover

    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-

  • David Levithan's many acclaimed novels include Someday, Another Day, Every Day, Two Boys Kissing, and Boy Meets Boy. His bestselling collaborations include Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, and Sam and Ilsa's Last Hurrah (written with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (written with John Green). In 2016, David was named the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for his contribution to YA literature. You can learn more about him at davidlevithan.com and follow him on Twitter at @loversdiction.

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.

  • AudioFile Magazine This crowd-pleasing short story collection from the prolific Levithan focuses on love in all its variety, including representation from several points on the LGBTQIA spectrum and topics ranging from quiz bowl to Taylor Swift fan fiction. Longtime fans will relish hearing from familiar characters, such as Boy Meets Boy's Infinite Darlene, in a story titled "The Quarterback and the Cheerleader," narrated by Elle Cohen, who nails the playful banter and soft hope of a first date. Shorter but no less sweet is Rebecca Lowman's intimate, emotive performance of a love story in verse. It takes seven narrators to deliver the angst and excitement of the members of a queer youth choir. Most memorable, however, may be the autobiographical works narrated by Levithan himself, especially the concluding track about the profound effects of sharing one's words with others. R.A.H. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine

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