19 Love Songs
19 Love Songs

List Price:

$29.97
School Discount
Price:

$20.98
Qty(25-99)
Discount Price:

$20.56
Qty(100-249)
Discount Price:

$20.35
Qty(250-499)
Discount Price:

$20.14
Qty(>500)
Discount Price:

$19.72
To purchase this item, you must first login or register for a new account.

Annotation: A collection of fiction, nonfiction, and a story in verse celebrating love.
Catalog Number: #209690
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 310 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-9848486-3-1 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7543-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-9848486-3-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7543-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019019912
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
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)
Publishers Weekly
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. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
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 firstand second, and thirdkisses. 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
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*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."
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (12/1/19)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews (12/1/19)
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly (12/1/19)
School Library Journal (12/1/19)
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 9-12
Lexile: HL830L

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 with, because it's a crush that you haven't even admitted to yourself. The romantic forces are all there--you want to see him, you always notice him, you treat every word from him as if it weighs more than anyone else's. But you don't know why. You don't know that you're doing it. You'd follow him to the end of the earth without ever admitting that your feet were moving.

Damien was track-team popular and hung with the cross-country crowd. If he didn't have any problem with Sung's varsity jacket, it was probably because none of the other kids in our school defined him as a quiz bowl geek. If anything, his membership on the team was seen as a fluke. Whereas I, presumably, belonged there, along with Sung and Frances Oh (perfect SAT, tragic skin) and Wes Ward (250 IQ, 250 lbs) and Gordon White (calculator watch, matching glasses). My social status was about the same as that of a water fountain in the hall--people were happy enough I was there when they needed me, but they didn't particularly want to talk to me. I wish I could say I was fine with this, and that I found what I needed in books or food or drugs or quiz bowl or other water fountain kids. But it sucked. I didn't have the disposition to be slavishly devoted to popularity and the popular kids, but at the same time, I was pretty sure my friends were losers, and barely even friends.

When we won at States, Sung, Damien, Frances, Wes, and Gordon celebrated like they'd just gotten full scholarships to MIT. Mr. Phillips was in tears when he called his wife to tell her. A photographer from the local paper came to school to take our picture a few days later, and I tried to hide behind the others as much as possible. Sung had his jacket by that time, its white sleeves glistening like they'd been made from unicorn horns. After the article appeared, a couple of people congratulated me in the hall. But most kids snickered or didn't care. We had a crash-course candy sale to pay for our trip to Indianapolis, and I stole money from my parents' wallets and dipped into my savings in order to buy my whole portion outright, shoving the crap candy bars in our basement instead of having to ask my fellow students to pony up.

Sung, of course, wanted us to get matching varsity jackets to wear to Nationals. Damien already had a varsity jacket for cross-country that he never wore, so he was out. Frances, Wes, and Gordon said they were using all their money on the tickets and other things for Indianapolis. I simply said no. And when Sung asked me if I was sure, I told him, "You can't possibly expect me to wear that." Everybody got quiet for a second, but Sung didn't seem fazed. He just launched us into yet another practice.

 

If there were four reasons that I'd joined the quiz bowl team, there were two reasons that I stayed on:

(1) I had an unarticulated crush on Damien Bloom. (These things don't change.)

(2) I really, really liked defeating people.

Note: I am not saying I really, really liked winning. Winning is a more abstract concept, and in quiz bowl, winning usually meant having to come back in the next round and do it all again. No, I liked defeating people. I liked seeing the look on the other team's faces when I got a question they couldn't answer. I loved their geektastic disappointment when they realized they weren't good enough to rank up. I loved using trivia to make people doubt themselves. I never, ever missed a literature question--I was a fucking juggernaut of authors and oeuvres. And I never, ever attempted to answer any of the math, science, or history questions. Nobody expected me to. Thus, I would always win.

The hardest were the scrimmages, when we would split into teams of three and take each other on. I didn't have any problem answering the questions correctly--I just had to make sure not to gloat. The only thing keeping me in check was Damien. Around him, I wanted to be a good guy.

If I had any enthusiasm for Indianapolis, it was because I assumed Damien and I would be rooming together. I imagined us talking all night, bonding to the point of knowledge. I could see us laughing together about the quiz bowl kids from other states who were surrounding us in their quiz bowl varsity jackets. We'd smuggle in some beers, watch bad TV, and become so comfortable with each other that I would finally feel the world was comfortable, too. This was strictly a separate-beds fantasy . . . but it was a separate-from-the-world fantasy, too. That was what I wanted.

The closer we got to Indianapolis, the more I found myself looking forward to it, and the more Sung became a dictator. If I'd thought he was serious about quiz bowl before, he was beyond any frame of reference now. He wanted to practice every day after school for six hours--pizza was brought in--and even when he saw us in the halls, he threw questions our way. At first I tried to ignore him, but that only made him YELL HIS QUESTIONS IN A LOUD, OVERLY ARTICULATED VOICE. Now anyone within four hallways of our own could hear the guy in the quiz bowl varsity jacket shout, "WHO WAS THE LAST AMERICAN NOVELIST TO WIN THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE?"

And I'd say, much lower, "James Patterson."

Sung would blanch and whisper, "Wrong."

"Toni Morrison," I'd correct. "I'm just playing with ya."

"That's not funny," he'd say. And I'd run for class.

It did, at least, give me a reason to talk to Damien at lunch. I accidentally-on-purpose ended up behind him on the cafeteria line.

"Is Sung driving you crazy, too?" I asked. "With his pop quizzes?"

Damien smiled. "Nah. It's just Sung being Sung. You've gotta respect that."

As far as I could tell, the only reason to respect that was because Damien was respecting it. Which, at that moment, was reason enough.

The afternoon hallway quizzing wore me down, though. Sung got increasingly angry as I was increasingly unable to give him a straight answer.

"WHAT WAS JANE AUSTEN'S LAST FINISHED NOVEL?"

"Vaginas and Virginity."

"WHO IS THE LAST PERSON IAGO KILLS IN OTHELLO?"

"His manservant Bastardio, for forgetting to change the Brita filter!"

"WHAT IS THE ENDING OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN'S 'THE LITTLE MERMAID'?"

"She turns into a fish and marries Nemo!"

"Fuck you!"

These were remarkable words to hear coming from Sung's mouth.

He went on.

"Are you trying to sabotage us? Do you WANT to LOSE?"

The other kids in the hall were loving this--a full-blown quiz bowl spat.

"Are you breaking up with me?" I joked.

Sung turned bright, bright red.

"I'll see you at practice!" he managed to get out. Then he turned around and I could see the five quiz bowlers on the back of his jacket, their blank faces not-quite-glaring at me as he stormed away.

When I arrived ten minutes late to our final pre-Indianapolis practice, Mr. Phillips looked concerned, Damien looked indifferent, Sung looked flustered and angry, Frances looked flustered, Gordon looked angry, and Wes looked distracted by whatever game he was playing on his phone.

"Everyone needs to take this very seriously," Mr. Phillips pronounced.

"Because there are small, defenseless koalas who will be killed if we don't make the final four!" I added.

"Do you want to stay here?" Sung asked, looking like I'd just stuck a magnet in his hard drive. "Is that what this is about?"

"No," I said calmly, "I'm just joking. If you can't joke about quiz bowl, what can you joke about? It's like mime in that respect."

"C'mon, Alec," Damien said. "Sung just wants us to win."

"No," I said. "Sung only wants us to win. There's a difference."

Damien and the others looked at me blankly. This was not, I remembered, a word-choice crowd.

Still, Damien had gotten the message across: Lay off. So I did, for the rest of the practice. And I didn't get a single question wrong. I even could name four Pearl S. Buck books besides The Good Earth--which is the English-geek equivalent of knowing how to make an atomic bomb, in that it's both difficult and totally uncool.

And how was I rewarded for this display of extraneous knowledge? At the end of the practice, as we were leaving, Mr. Phillips offhandedly told us our room assignments. Sung would be the one who got to room with Damien. And I would have to share a room with Wes, who liked to watch Lord of the Rings battle scenes to prepare for competition.

On the way out, I swear Sung was gloating.

 

If it had been up to Sung, we would have had the cheerleading squad seeing us off at the airport. I could see it now:

Two-four-six-eight, how do mollusks procreate?

One-two-three-four, name the birthplace of Niels Bohr!

Then, before we left, as a special treat, Sung would calculate the mass and volume of their pom-poms. Each of the girls would dream of being the one to wear Sung's letter jacket when he came back home, because that would make her the most popular girl in the entire sch--

"Alec, we're boarding." Damien interrupted my sarcastic reverie. The karma gods had at least seated us next to each other on the plane. Unfortunately, they then swung around (as karma gods tend to do, the jerks) and made him fall asleep the moment after takeoff. It wasn't until we were well into our descent that he opened his eyes and looked at me.

"Nervous?" he asked.

"It hasn't even occurred to me to be nervous," I answered honestly. "I mean, we don't have to win for it to look good on our transcripts. I'm already concocting this story where I overcome a bad case of consumption, the disapproval of my parents, a terrifying history of crashing in small planes, and a twenty-four-hour speech impediment in order to compete in this tournament. As long as you overcome adversity, they don't really care if you win. Unless it's, like, a real sport."

"Dude," he said, "you read way too much."

"But clearly you don't know your science enough to move across the aisle the minute I reveal my consumptive state."

"Oh," he said, leaning a little closer, "I can catch consumption just from sitting next to you?"

"Again," I said, not leaning away, "medicine is your area of expertise. In novels, you damn well can catch consumption from sitting next to someone. You were doomed from the moment you met me."

"I'll say."

I wasn't quick enough to keep the conversation going. Damien bent down to take an issue of Men's Health out of his bag. And he wasn't even reading it for the pictures.

I pretended to have a hacking cough for the remaining ten minutes of the flight. The other people around me were annoyed, but I could tell that Damien was amused. It was our joke now.



Excerpted from 19 Love Songs by David Levithan
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

The New York Times bestselling author of Every Day, Someday, and Two Boys Kissing is back with a short story collection about love--perfect for Valentine's Day or year-round reading!

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.

Quiz bowl antichrist
Day 2934 (an every day story)
The good girls
The quarterback and the cheerleader (a boy meets boy story)
The mulberry branch
Your temporary Santa
Storytime
A better writer
8-song memoir
Snow day (a two boys kissing story)
The woods
A brief history of kisses
As the Philadelphia queer youth choir sings Katy Perry's "Firework"
The vulnerable hours
Twelve months
The hold
How my parents met
We
Give them words.

*Prices subject to change without notice and listed in US dollars.
Perma-Bound bindings are unconditionally guaranteed (excludes textbook rebinding).
Paperbacks are not guaranteed.
Please Note: All Digital Material Sales Final.