Guest Review: Short Fiction by David Levithan

This review was written by Isaiah Vianese. Isaiah is a poet and writing instructor in New York. You can read his blog and some of his poetry here.

Diving into an anthology is always a gamble; you never know if you are going to like the stories or essays you are trying out. However, that is also the thrill of reading them. Perhaps the best reason to buy an anthology is to read work by an author you love, and then hope that the editor shares your taste and has also found authors that you could love. So, here are anthologies for David Levithan fans, who might be willing to follow him into these four themed collections and maybe meet someone new to read.

“A Brief History of First Kisses” published in First Kiss (Then Tell). This anthology is rather clumsily assembled and designed, but Levithan’s contribution—a comic strip collab with illustrator Nick Eliopulos—is a keeper. Not to mention, the strip has some major crossover appeal.

“Creative Writing” published in Crush: 26 Real-Life Tales of First Love. Levithan’s gift as a writer is his casual and empathetic way of talking about guys falling in love. For readers wanting a true story about Levithan’s own romantic history, the essay here displays the author’s strengths. And chances are, you might love some of the other tales about sweet and embarrassing crushes.

“Alumni Interview” published in Sixteen: Stories About That Sweet and Bitter Birthday. If Levithan’s story represents the collection, this book focuses more on the maturing that happens when teenagers turn sixteen, rather than their actual birthdays. Levithan’s story has its charms (including a very sweet protagonist), but the story falls apart with a gimmicky ending.

“Lost Sometimes” published in 21 Proms: Every Prom Date Has a Story. The grittiest story featured in this review, “Lost Sometimes” shows the rare occasion that Levithan reaches for subtlty over flash. The characters in this story are flawed and broken; they are reaching for comfort. For Levithan addicts, this anthology is worth checking out for his story alone.

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