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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

The Lover’s Dictionary

YA author and editor David Levithan published his first adult novel last month.

David’s books generally appeal to both teens and adults, and certainly the same will be true of The Lover’s Dictionary. In this case, the need for categorization feels overly… fussy. But there it is — this is his first adult book with teen appeal!

David is among the most popular authors with the teens in my library. His books are rarely on the shelves. However, I am a little behind, and only processed this one yesterday. Anyone have teen reactions to this book yet?

LEVITHAN, David. The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel. 224p. Farrar. 2011. Tr $18. ISBN 978-0-374-19368-3. LC 2010014392.

The Lover's Dictionary

Adult/High School– Less than 200 entries comprise The Lover’s Dictonary, a lexicon whose definitions tell the story of a young New York couple fitfully navigating their way into–and eventually out of–their relationship. From Abberant to Zenith, each word seems arbitrary enough to have been selected by an open page and a pointed finger. Yet each one of them sparks a random reflection or recollection that together, and out of sequence, powerfully revisit the events and emotional spectrum of a relationship that spans several years. The result is as captivating and jarring as a screen-saver that haphazardly scrolls old photos–and memories. Not all of them are pretty, or happy or even good, but together they tell a more complete, if not ever finished, story. Levithan portrays the foibles of a lover’s anxiety and insecurity with the knowing humor and deftness of Woody Allen as he manages to retain the vulnerability and tenderness that have marked his YA novels. The issues in the relationship: alcoholism, commitment, moving in and living together, distinguish it from a teen novel. Yet teens, especially his fans, will be drawn to its insights into relationship, love and self-doubt. They will also find that the dictionary format of the book cleverly expands and improves upon the prose-poem novels that are popular with some teens.–John Sexton, formerly of Westchester Library System, NY

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.


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