How They Met and Other Stories

Common Sense Media says

Love story collection is sweet but edgy.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

This may be a good fit teens who don't exactly consider themselves "readers," but will find the short stories easy to digest.

Positive messages

Sweet -- sometimes bittersweet -- celebration of love, in all its forms. 

Positive role models

Readers will find someone who they can relate to in this collection of 18 shorts -- or at least someone's story. The author includes gay stories as well as straight stories in his celebration of love.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

A few graphic depictions, mostly in one story in which a gay teen talks about having a mostly physical relationship.

Language

Some words, including "f--k."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there are stories about gay and lesbian couples, as well as straight couples, in this romantic collection. There is some swearing, and some graphic sexual images, especially in one story about two teen boys who "were boyfriends, but ... screwed all over the place" (they even decide to go to their prom just to find new places to have sex).

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

Levithan pens 18 love stories, covering a wide range: the narrators are gay, lesbian, straight, young, old, single, married, falling in love, enduring a break-up, etc.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There is quite a variety in this short story collection. And, as you might expect, readers are going to relate more to some of these stories -- and characters -- than others. In one installment, Levithan recounts the sweet stories of how his grandparents met, while in another, two gay boys involved in a mostly physical relationship decide to crash their prom, mostly to find new places to have sex.

Readers are sure to be impressed with Levithan's creativity, from his turns of phrase (such as calling a bored coffee server a "boreista") to his ideas about love's random turns. Teens may be less bothered than adult readers by how juvenile some of the stories are -- both in concept (an old woman time travels back briefly, remembering what it was like to be young and in love) and in emotion (a boy so devastated by the recent end of his relationship that he breaks into his ex-boyfriend's house and falls asleep on his bed). But even these sophomoric stories are sweet (or, as it were, bittersweet), and showcase Levithan's reverence for love, in all its forms.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about short story collections. Ask your kids if they would rather read short stories or a longer novel. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each form? Do any of these stories jar you, as you move from one to the next?

  • This book originally came out for Valentine's Day. Why do you think the publisher decided to release it then? How else does our calendar influence when certain kinds of movies and book are released? Do you think it works -- are more people likely to buy books like this one in February?

  • Levithan has written several popular book for young adults, such as Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. What do you think is appealing about his books? Who do you consider some of the best writers for teens today?

Book details

Author:David Levithan
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date:January 8, 2008
Number of pages:256

This review of How They Met and Other Stories was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written bynyckiddo October 24, 2014
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Collection of Love Stories

Well, every story is different; some are good, some are boring and some will leave you hanging there, wondering what has just happened. Personally, I think the stories Starbucks Boy and What A Song Can Do are the best among the entire collection. They're entertaining, romantic and heartwarming. Some might conclude that Starbucks Boy is a little too predictable and cliche, but for me it's one of the best. Kids and parents, you should know that this book has stories about gay relationships that involves sex so I wouldn't recommend younger kids to read it. Some stories about gay relationships are okay and realistic, just not those with sex though. Who knows, you might enjoy a story or two in this collection.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex

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