by David Levithan
reviewed by Sarah Custance
David Levithan is the author of Every Day, Someday, Two Boys Kissing, and the co-author of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist among other works. 19 Love Songs is a collection of short stories that arose from a tradition he started in high school of writing a story for his friends and family each Valentine’s Day.
Each story features a different character, setting, decade, age, and gender. Each one is unique and not to be compared to the one before or after it. To add to the diversity of each story there is even a mixture of genres. Some of the stories are fictional, others are autobiographical, some are in verse, some are told through the changing of seasons, and one is even a graphic novel.
Every person who reads this collection will find one particular story that resonates and tells of a profound truth. I found moments of beauty in each story, but it was not all smooth reading for me. I would be quite frustrated that some of the pieces ended too abruptly. It was often hard to switch my brain over to the new stories formula when it was so different from the last, and some of the writing was so ‘witty’ that I must admit that it went straight over my head as I couldn’t for the life of me understand what was going on or why.
The best way to read this book would be to read one instalment each night over 19 nights, not back to back like I did. It could be a lovely and sweet read if done slowly and with time to adjust to each piece. Overall it was a charming read that I’m sure will become a favourite each year around Valentine’s Day.
Text Publishing 2020 Paperback $19.99 Age 14+ 320 pages ISBN 9781922268921