A Glimpse at the Future

Wide Awake by David Levithan

Wide Awake by David Levithan

There were few young adult books dealing with being queer prior to the turn of this century. Brent Hartinger, with his Geography Club series, Alex Sanchez’s Rainbow Boys series, and David Levithan in Boy Meets Boy met this need, warranting challenges by individuals that felt they shouldn’t be read by teens. As a teacher, I’ve seen the waiting lists for Hartinger’s books, suggesting they appeal to a diverse group of kids, many of whom won’t be queer.

A new generation of books seems to remind youth—and adults that care about youth—that sexual orientation is but one aspect of life. Wide Awake by David Levithan is an excellent example. In the not-so-distant future, the United States is recovering from a depression and another war. The main character is Duncan, a gay, Jewish 15-year-old. He and his boyfriend are active supporters of a presidential candidate who, if elected, will be both the first gay and first Jewish president. Duncan and his friends learn about life, love, and politics.

The novel is primarily about political realities and human relationships… The fact that those relationships happen to be lesbian and gay is secondary, but still comforting to those of us who are queer.