Geek alert! Two of my favorite things have come together: Dictionaries and David Levithan ! David Levithan is an author, editorial director at Scholastic, and founder of PUSH, an imprint that seeks and promotes new and original voices in teen literature. Levithan is most well known for his affirming, heartfelt, and quirky young adult novels like Boy Meets Boy . He often collaborates with Rachel Cohn, and together they’ve written three novels: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist , Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List , and Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares . Many of his novels have evolved out of a 22-year long tradition of giving stories to his friends for Valentine’s Day. The Lover’s Dictionary is no different.
Levithan calls The Lover’s Dictionary his first book about “post-teenagers.” It started with an idea to take randomly selected words and craft a love story from them. The format mirrors an actual dictionary. The “chapters” are word entries that come in alphabetical order, beginning with aberrant, adjective: “‘I don’t normally do this kind of thing,’ you said” (3). Who hasn’t said or heard that before in a relationship? I know, the format sounds like the kind of thing that could get old after a few pages. Eventually, though, the format becomes secondary, giving way to an emotionally honest, compelling, and witty tale of a modern relationship. The “dictionary” spans a two-year period from the first meeting to the first betrayal.
Fans of Levithan will enjoy this foray into post-teenage fiction. His writing is witty, sharp, insightful, and honest. Even though his entry under “love” is “I’m not even going to try,” (116), The Lover’s Dictionary is a very noble effort at describing this ever-elusive word.