How They Met, and Other Stories

How They Met, and Other Stories

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by David Levithan

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a confection from David Levithan that is sure to appeal to fans of Boy Meets Boy. Here are 18 stories, all about love, and about all kinds of love. From the aching for the one you pine for, to standing up and speaking up for the one you love, to pure joy and happiness, these love stories run the gamut of that emotion


Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a confection from David Levithan that is sure to appeal to fans of Boy Meets Boy. Here are 18 stories, all about love, and about all kinds of love. From the aching for the one you pine for, to standing up and speaking up for the one you love, to pure joy and happiness, these love stories run the gamut of that emotion that at some point has turned every one of us inside out and upside down. What is love? With this original story collection David Levithan proves that love is a many splendored thing, a varied, complicated, addictive, wonderful thing.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With entries dating back to Levithan's (Boy Meets Boy) student years, this diverse collection gathers 18 stories about love: gay, straight, young, old, inspiring, silly, heartrending-one is even written in a mix of verse and song lyrics. In "Breaking and Entering," Peter misses his ex-boyfriend, now away at college, so he sneaks into his house and falls asleep in his bed, while in "Flirting with Waiters," a 12-year-old girl falls for an older pizza boy, saying, "It was enough for me to have Seth come to my housein his own carand say 'the usual' with a smile." Even the early entries showcase his trademark love of wordplay (in "A Romantic Inclination," written when the author was a high school junior, physics students James and Sallie decide not to pursue each other because "the friction of a merging of their hearts wouldn't be beneficial. It would be theoretically and realistically wrong." They demonstrate, too, his love of fantasy: in the story he wrote in his last year of high school, the somewhat jejune "Memory Dance," elderly Mary literally flashes back to when love was new. Throughout, the author quickly brings his characters to life, and he explores concepts that will resonate with teens, such as the randomness of love ("Person after person after person... they all converge at one moment, irrevocably changing the course of a thousand more lives. As it is with accidents, so it is with love"). Sweet, sometimes bittersweet, these stories will leave readers satisfied. Ages 14-up. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
Here we have eighteen love stories about all kinds of love—straight, gay, young, old, unrequited, and passionately returned. At times, this collection is delightfully humorous. Meet two extraordinary matchmakers: six-year-old Arabella, who continually loses her babysitters because she is so amazing at setting them up with the perfect match, and the legendary Mr. Schwartz, an airline ticket agent who (when he thinks it will work) shuffles seat assignments so those who might connect are seated together. "He didn't do it often, but when he did, legend said that he almost always got it right." These stories are filled with hope, heartbreak, betrayal, fierce loyalty, acceptance and loss. When Lucy realizes she is into girls, it is scary to let go of all the things she is supposed to be and all the things she is supposed to want. "Suddenly you have to say, "I'm sorry, but this role isn't right for me." Book selectors should be aware that this contains obscenities as well as implied sexual activity. A possible choice for any book collection intended for gay teens. Reviewer: Anita Barnes Lowen
With good reason, fans of Levithan will be waiting in line for his latest book. He writes of something about which everyone cares: love. Although each chapter is a different narrative, themes of love won, lost, betrayed, discovered, rejected, and embraced thread the work together to make these short stories read like chapters in an ongoing tale. Levithan's personal love story at the end brings the book full-circle. Levithan unveils love in all its forms and degrees of emotion. Readers move from the depths of despair and anger to the highs of pure joy and unabashed happiness. In its mostly complicated but sometimes simple way of playing out, love reveals as much as it conceals in these stories. Anyone who has ever doubted love, felt hurt or humiliated by it, or looked for a quick exit from its clutches will find something to relate to here. Likewise, those who have ached for love that they thought would never come, only to see it arrive when least expected, will also find their story. The many faces of love felt by various kinds of people are found in these pages. Like the notes Levithan made as a teenager that became the seeds of love stories he passed around to friends, expect this book to make its rounds. Whether to validate or deny a love experience, teens will be happy to meet characters that have gained or lost the world in this pressing emotion we call love. Reviewer: Elaine J. O'Quinn
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
These 18 short stories are about love-from unrequited, to longing, to being smitten, to family love and friendship. Levithan leaves no form untouched, and tells each tale passionately. This collection contains stories with such poignancy, brilliance, and warmth that anyone who has ever been in love (or wished they were) will enjoy them. In one selection, a teen awkwardly waits in line to catch the eye of a handsome Starbucks barista behind the counter. In another, Lucy learns what it is like to feel a broken heart, but comes out an independent, self-sufficient young woman. A Chinese-American girl is fixed up by her parents with the son of a Chinese business partner; two stories later, a gay boy tries to figure out the difference between lust and love. The portrayal of these teenagers' feelings across different sexual orientations and races is at once believable and accurate. An excellent choice for fans of Levithan's Boy Meets Boy (2003), Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist (2006, both Knopf), and Francesca Lia Block's Necklace of Kisses (HarperCollins, 2005).
—Marie C. HansenCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 8.49(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


It was my aunt who pimped me out.
We had this arrangement: I would get to live with her for a few weeks over the summer and take a pre-college course at Columbia before my senior year. In return, I wouldn't have to do a thing besides stay out of the way. It sounded like a good plan to me, except that when I got to Columbia on the first day of summer classes, I found that my course had been dropped. Apparently, there'd been a notice that nobody in my family had bothered to notice.
I thought Aunt Celia would be mad. Or at least concerned. But instead she said, "Well, this could actually solve Elise's problem."
Elise was a friend of Aunt Celia's who lived in the same apartment building. She had a six-year-old daughter.
"I'm sure you're wonderful with children," Aunt Celia told me.
This was an especially strange statement coming from Aunt Celia, who (as far as I could tell) considered the continued existence of children to be something akin to a plague. We have a picture we love to look at in my immediate family, taken right after my brother, Jonathan, was born. It's Aunt Celia's turn to hold him, and from the look on her face and the positioning of her body, you'd think that someone had asked her to cradle a ten-pound turd. Nothing personal against Jonathan—I'm sure she was the same with me. As Jonathan and I grew up, Aunt Celia always gave us presents to "save for later." For my seventh birthday I received a pair of Tiffany candlesticks. For my eighth, it was a matching finger bowl. I freaked out, thinking a finger bowl was meant to hold fingers. (Aunt Celia left the room so my parents could explain.) When I turned thirteen, Aunt Celia actually seemed relieved. She finally stopped maintaining any pretense of treating me like a child, and started treating me like a lesser form of adult instead.
"Aren't you?" she now prompted. "Wonderful? With children?"
I didn't know where we were going with this, but I was sure that If I had no reason to stay in New York, Aunt Celia would ship me back to suburbia faster than she could dial out for dinner. Even if I found a way to avoid being underfoot, she would be unnerved by the concept of me being underfoot.
"I'm wonderful with children," I assured her. Various instances of me "babysitting" Jonathan flashed through my head—we hadn't been allowed to have pets, so I'd often encouraged him to act like one. I thought it best not to mention the particulars of my sitting experience, which, at its most extreme, stopped just short of accidental lobotomy.
"Perfect," she said. Then she picked up her cell phone off the front table, speed-dialed, and told the person on the other end, "Elise, it's Celia. I have a solution for the whole Astrid affair. My nephew . . . yes, Gabriel. The one I was telling you about . . . escaping my sister, yes. Well, it seems that his course has been canceled. And I happen to know he's wonderful with children. A complete charmer . . . Yes, he's entirely free. . . . I'm sure those hours would be fine. . . . He's delighted. . . . You'll see him then. . . . Yes, it's quite a loaded potato . . . . Absolutely my pleasure!"
She hung up and looked at me like I'd just been checked off a list.
"It's all set," she said. "Although you'll have to dress nicer than that."
"What's all set?" I asked. If I couldn't do it in a T-shirt, I was worried.
"Why, your job. For the next three weeks."
"Which is . . .?" I coaxed.
She sighed. "To take care of Elise's daughter, Arabella. You'll love her. She's wonderful."
No follow-up questions were possible. With an air kiss and a trail of perfume, Aunt Celia was off.

I started the next morning at eight. My class was supposed to have started at ten, and I'd looked forward to the extra hours of sleep. Instead, Aunt Celia came into my room at seven-fifteen, turned on the lights, released a low-octaved "Be ready by eight," and left before I could see her without the compensations of makeup.
Even after I cured my early-morning dayblindness with two cups of coffee and a shower prolonged by ten minutes of tangential thinking, I still wasn't fully awake when I rang the doorbell of apartment 8C. I looked presentable enough in my button-down shirt and khakis, but my mind felt buttoned-down and khaki as well. I was already starting to resent my new job.
Aunt Celia's friend Elise was three-quarters out the door when she opened it for me.
"You must be Gabriel," she said. "I've heard so much about you. Come in."
Elise was one of those women who exercised so often that she was starting to look like a piece of exercise equipment herself. She walked around the apartment as if she were still on a treadmill, telling me about emergency numbers and people to call and when to expect her back.
"I really appreciate you doing this," she said, putting on her jacket and leading me down a hallway. "Arabella's back here."
Arabella's door was decorated with a framed copy of the unicorn tapestry from The Cloisters. Elise knocked three quick raps into the door, then opened it for me. I was astounded, but not particularly surprised, by the room that was revealed to me. It was everything you might expect from a fairly rich New York City girl named Arabella. It was designed like a Vogue version of Disney, with a four-poster bed and no-poster walls. Pink was the dominant color, with blue and green playing the major supporting roles. My attention was caught by a number of wide-eyed dolls relegated to size-order rows on a magisterial display shelf, as if they were about to take a class picture and had dressed for the occasion. This was the room I had never dreamed about as a little boy, and still feared now.

Meet the Author

David Levithan is a children’s book editor in New York City. His books for Knopf include the critically acclaimed Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility, Are We There Yet?, Wide Awake, The Full Spectrum (co-editor), and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, both written with Rachel Cohn. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Brief Biography

Hoboken, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
New Jersey
B.A., Brown University, 1994

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How They Met and Other Stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The stories about how people meet and fall in love are as diverse as the couples themselves. From blind dates to chance encounters, the stories of "how we met" always seem to intrigue us.

HOW THEY MET, AND OTHER STORIES is the latest book by David Levithan (BOY MEETS BOY). It is a collection of eighteen short stories about love, longing, and even lust. This wonderful group of stories includes brief crushes, relationships with happily-ever-after endings, and tales of love gone wrong.

Among the stories: being fixed up by a six-year-old; two strangers meeting on a plane; coming out to your prom date; even the author's own story of how he credits his existence to a piano, a jeep, a college, and the Army.

What makes this collection unique is that every story isn't about love being realized. In some cases, the potential only exists and even passes without materializing.

No matter what your experience with love so far, you are sure to find hope, and maybe a hint of your own love story, within the pages of this book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ten year olds shouldn't read David Levithan. Stick to the kids for now? Read reviews to ascertain whether it's the right age group or not.
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Ariah Hills More than 1 year ago
I love this book and how it shows different kinds of love so that everyone can like the book. I recommend 8)
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Madelyn Schorr More than 1 year ago
This book is just like the title. It gives you many short stories about how people meet and fall in love.
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Wallflowered More than 1 year ago
David Levithan is without a doubt one of my favorite authors and this collection of short stories does not disappoint. Each story is beautiful. Some are long, some are short, some are stories of gay or lesbian couples, some of straight. There's something for everyone here, and, true to his word, these are stories about love, not love stories. There are bits about family relationships that particularly stood out to me. I highly recommend this book to all teenagers and adults.
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