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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even our uncomfortable or difficult relationships are steps along the way to being more capable of giving and receiving love
It began in a high school physics class. Bored and in search of distraction, David Levithan combed his physics textbook for romantic notions. He assembled them in a story called "A Romantic Inclination," which he gave to his friends for Valentine's Day. They liked it so much that each year he wrote them another story. This tradition led to his first novel and ultimately...
Published on February 20, 2008 by Bookreporter

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute
I like David Levithan and originally fell in love with the Lover's Dictionary. This book is cute and has a wide range of love stories. People who meet on planes was my favorite. It just didn't wow me.
Published 12 months ago by ALB


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even our uncomfortable or difficult relationships are steps along the way to being more capable of giving and receiving love, February 20, 2008
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
It began in a high school physics class. Bored and in search of distraction, David Levithan combed his physics textbook for romantic notions. He assembled them in a story called "A Romantic Inclination," which he gave to his friends for Valentine's Day. They liked it so much that each year he wrote them another story. This tradition led to his first novel and ultimately to HOW THEY MET AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of stories about love.

Best known for his positive, normalizing portrayals of teen relationships --- regardless of sexual orientation --- Levithan's stories focus on those longings that are the common denominators for the human heart. HOW THEY MET features matchmakers, chance encounters and broken hearts, in addition to the different kinds of love that exist between family and friends.

The collection begins with "Starbucks Boy," a hilarious story about the all-too-common experience of crushing on the neighborhood barista. Readers will no doubt identify with the self-aware tone of Levithan's narrator:

"Now, it has to be one of Starbucks's more brilliant marketing strategies to maintain at least one completely dreamy guy behind the counter at any given shift. This guy is invariably known as Starbucks Boy to the hundreds of regular customers who have a crush on him, and the glory of it is that he always seems just accessible enough to be within reach, but never accessible enough to actually touch.... He is, unlike most beautiful people you've ever encountered, friendly --- and you honestly believe it's not because that's a part of his job....[you] think that the way he says `good morning' or 'have a good one' or 'here you go' to you is a little different than the way he says it to anyone else. Or at least that's the hope."

HOW THEY MET is built upon moments as identifiable as crushes across the counter. Levithan has never needed earth-shattering events or severe trauma to get across the drama of ordinary life. But the best stories in this collection move beyond the happily-ever-after moments of cute introductions and push into the hungry places that make us long to belong.

Behind many of the stories here is an awareness that we are defined by who and how we love. Nowhere is this made so clear as in "Miss Lucy Had a Steamboat," in which the narrator defends her choice to remain alone:

"When I realized I was into girls, it was scary to let go of all the things I was supposed to be and all the things I was supposed to want. It's like you're a character in this book that everyone around you is writing, and suddenly you have to say, I'm sorry, but this role isn't right for me. And you have to start writing your own life and doing your own thing. That was hard enough. But that was nothing --- nothing, I tell you --- compared to the idea that I could let go of the desire to have a girlfriend....Talk about something that had been ingrained. I wasn't letting go of love or sex or the idea of companionship. I was just rejecting the package in which it had been sold to me. I was going to say it was okay to be alone, when it felt like everyone in the world was saying that it wasn't okay, that I had to always want someone else, that the desire had to fuel me."

Who and how we love also extends to our family narratives. My favorite story in the collection, "The Princes," isn't just about a dancer choosing between two possible suitors. It's a family romance that explores the way families define themselves and express their love for one another. The most touching moment in the story is not when Jon discovers the identity of his true prince; it's when Jon's brother makes a stand about including Jon's boyfriend at his Bar Mitzvah. Levithan includes his own family romance in the book with stories about how his grandparents met. "I am here because of love," he writes, which makes us hope we can all claim the same.

David Levithan is a true believer when it comes to love. The stories in HOW WE MET are a testament to his faith that we are all created by love, sustained by love, and saved by love. Even those stories with less than happy endings suggest that even our uncomfortable or difficult relationships --- whether it is having one's partner leave for college or taking the wrong girl to the prom --- are steps along the way to being more capable of giving and receiving love.

--- Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Many-Splendored Thing, January 24, 2008
When David Levithan was a junior in high school, he found himself bored in physics class, so he started flipping through his physics book and "finding as many romantic notions as possible." He started writing a story, and, by February, he was done. He shared this Valentine's Day treat with friends, and they asked for another. A tradition was born: he wrote a new short story every year for his friends and family.

How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan is more than just a collection of eighteen tales written by the same hand. The author prefers to call them as "stories about love" rather than "love stories," and I agree. This anthology is a many-splendored thing, a testament to different kinds of love: first crushes, the love of family, coincidental meetings, set-ups, break-ups, and make-ups. The Memory Dance celebrates a marriage of forty years, while Lost Sometimes (previously released in the 21 Proms anthology) has someone looking for more in his relationship.

As he did in The Realm of Possibility, Levithan has once again captured multiple voices and made it seem effortless. He offers first-person, second-person, and third-person narratives, with protagonists ranging in age from their teen years to their twilight years.

Starbucks Boy was my favorite piece in this collection, with its sweet story of a six-year-old who knows what (or who) is best for her new baby-sitter. The Number of People Who Meet on Airplanes and What a Song Can Do also vied for my affection.

The stories are not connected, and yet they are: By their underlying currents. By what they envoke (empathy and sympathy, tears and laughter) in readers. Each story has a different piece of the heart; when put together, they make for the loveliest of puzzles.

How They Met, and Other Stories is recommended for teens and adults.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, February 6, 2008
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.

Reviewed by: JodiG.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good, October 27, 2012
~4/5
[Also available on my blog.]

This was the first book I read that was solely by Devid Levithan. I've read his co-author books with Rachel Cohn, and John Green, and maybe even some of his stories in some anthologies, but none of the books just by him. And after reading this, I'm going to have to get some more.

This is a book of short stories about different characters and their relationships, mostly romantic. They were all really good, and really interesting, and I enjoyed them. Some of my favorites were Starbucks Boy, The Alumni Interview, Princes, A Romantic Inclination, and Miss Lucy Had A Steamboat. But they were all really good. And each one was very different from the other. They had different characters, some had different styles of writing, and they had different messages, different purposes. I was quite impressed, as well as happy, with how much I enjoyed them all.

Most of them were about gay romances, but not all of them were. They weren't all starring a teenage boy. They didn't all have happy endings. Some had songs, one had science. Some were during school, some were during the summer, some had nothing to do with school. Each story had its own story to tell, and they were all very unique and different from the others.

This is a short review, but I don't really have anything else to say. I enjoyed it quite a bit, that's all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent collection, August 22, 2013
This review is from: How They Met and Other Stories (Borzoi Books) (Paperback)
I think that collections of short stories are really fun. You can only spend a limited amount of time with a certain st of characters, so you can only learn things that are relevant to the story. The settings are often simple, since you can't really waste a lot of time and space with just the set up, and this usually causes the pacing to be pretty quick. But good short stories aren't as easy to come by as you would think; the author still has to tell a complete story but in a much smaller space. David Levithan is one of those geniuses that turns a short story into a masterpiece.

This collection of stories has probably been one of the best I've read. Some of the stories are only a few pages, and others are upwards of 30, but each and every one tells a complete story that left me wishing that they didn't have to end. Some of the stories are very conclusive and it's pretty easy to infer what would happen next in the lives of the characters. Others are so open-ended that I was left wondering if the main character and his/her love interest even end up as a couple. But I enjoyed all of them.

One of the things I really thought was ingenious was how Levithan doesn't necessarily reveal the gender, skin color, age, etc. of his characters right away. Sometimes, you start out thinking a narrator is one gender and several pages later find out that you were very wrong. But you know what? I think it helps get the message across that love is love is love, regardless of physical traits. Most of the characters are of high school age, but can be very young or elderly. The couples are both opposite and same sex, but the relationships are exactly the same at their cores.

It's kind of difficult to review this book as a whole, since there are so many stories that make it up, but it was still a book I found myself not wanting to put down. It's not full of action or adventure or magic or science fiction or fantasy. It's just real life, down to earth love and relationships and people. But Levithan still makes it enchanting and captivating, and I'm looking forward to reading more of his books and stories.

I would totally recommend this to someone who is a fan of Levithan but hasn't read these stories yet, and also to anyone looking for some stories that are easy to read but still make you think about life and love and all of those things. A 4/5 on this collection!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An examination of love that no teen should miss out on, August 1, 2008
By 
It began in a high school physics class. Bored and in search of distraction, David Levithan combed his physics textbook for romantic notions. He assembled them in a story called "A Romantic Inclination," which he gave to his friends for Valentine's Day. They liked it so much that each year he wrote them another story. This tradition led to his first novel and ultimately to HOW THEY MET AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of stories about love.

Best known for his positive, normalizing portrayals of teen relationships --- regardless of sexual orientation --- Levithan's stories focus on those longings that are the common denominators for the human heart. HOW THEY MET features matchmakers, chance encounters and broken hearts, in addition to the different kinds of love that exist between family and friends.

The collection begins with "Starbucks Boy," a hilarious story about the all-too-common experience of crushing on the neighborhood barista. Readers will no doubt identify with the self-aware tone of Levithan's narrator:

"Now, it has to be one of Starbucks's more brilliant marketing strategies to maintain at least one completely dreamy guy behind the counter at any given shift. This guy is invariably known as Starbucks Boy to the hundreds of regular customers who have a crush on him, and the glory of it is that he always seems just accessible enough to be within reach, but never accessible enough to actually touch.... He is, unlike most beautiful people you've ever encountered, friendly --- and you honestly believe it's not because that's a part of his job....[you] think that the way he says `good morning' or 'have a good one' or 'here you go' to you is a little different than the way he says it to anyone else. Or at least that's the hope."

HOW THEY MET is built upon moments as identifiable as crushes across the counter. Levithan has never needed earth-shattering events or severe trauma to get across the drama of ordinary life. But the best stories in this collection move beyond the happily-ever-after moments of cute introductions and push into the hungry places that make us long to belong.

David Levithan is a true believer when it comes to love. The stories in HOW WE MET are a testament to his faith that we are all created by love, sustained by love, and saved by love. Even those stories with less than happy endings suggest that even our uncomfortable or difficult relationships --- whether it is having one's partner leave for college or taking the wrong girl to the prom --- are steps along the way to being more capable of giving and receiving love.

--- Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ways Love is, January 23, 2011
By 
V. King (Portland, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How They Met and Other Stories (Borzoi Books) (Paperback)
Love comes in many shapes and sizes. People fall in love: with another person, with the idea of that person, romantically, ideologically, familially. David Levithan's short story collection explores the many forms of love. There are some happily ever afters, some love fading into the sunset that you like to imagine will be happily ever afters, some happily ever now if not forevers, and even some screw society telling me that I need to be in relationships cuz I wanna be a single ladys.

Some stories are stronger than others: "Princes," about a dancer whose real love story isn't deciding between two guys at his dance school but rediscovering what a fantastic person his brother has become while he's been running away, and "Starbucks Boy," about a young New Yorker with a miraculous ability to play matchmaker with her nannys (and mannys) are standouts. However, each story has a narrator with a clear voice, each discernible from the next.

Levithan, as always, peppers his collection with hilarious and poignant quotes worth saving and repeating. Who doesn't have a need to whip out "You look like Sylvia Plath waiting for the oven to preheat" every once in awhile?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!, August 10, 2010
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I bought this book after reading Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. That book was really good, so I wanted to get more from the authors, David Levithan wrote the "Nick" part of the story. This book kept coming up in my Amazon recommendations, so I finally ordered it. It was so good. I finished it in less than a week. I read the first story and wasn't too impressed, I figured I'd send it to a friend when I was done with the whole thing. But as I read on, the stories got better and better. They were so real and heartwarming and heartbreaking. I keep it on my headboard with other books I read at least once a year. It's supposed to be for Young Adults, but me and my mother both read it and loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An awesome collection of short stories about Love, May 20, 2013
By 
PWDecker (Melbourne, FL) - See all my reviews
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Collections of short stories are always nice to have on your bedside table. You can read one a night and feel like you read a whole story. Usually collections have a theme or they have a common author. This collection has both. David Levithan has been writing Valentine's Day stories since he was in high school. This is a collection of some of those stories. They all have a connecting theme of love or relationship.

It's always awkward to review a collection of short stories. Do I review each individual story? Do I just review the overall book? Do I review some highlights? I think what I'll do is give you my overall feel of the book and then throw some random things at you that you might find intriguing.

One thing I loved about these short stories was that initially you didn't necessarily know the gender of the main character in each story. If you don't know the gender then you definitely don't know their sexual orientation. It shows how universal love is. Gender and sexual orientations don't matter. Everyone experiences love. I also liked the variety of the relationships shown. Reading about high school relationships as a 24-year old brings back nostalgia for such naivety.

Here comes the random. Miss Lucy had a Steamboat. Prom. Chance, luck, and coincidences on an airplane. Middle school crushes. A purely physical relationship. Family expectations and acceptance. When someone you love is far away. Alternate prom. Physics. The power of music. Unrequited love. Long lasting, routine love. Accidents create life.

I highly recommend this book. Devid Levithan is such a great author. If you haven't read Every Day go read that now! And read this collection of short stories as well! I give this collection a 4/5.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good group of stories, June 21, 2011
Stars: 3.5/5

A compilation of short stories, some shorter than others, crossing between straight and gay. Some are simple, some complex, some sweet, some fun, some heart breaking and beautiful, some romantic and eternal, these stories are much like all the different forms that love takes. All the stories have a happy ending of some sort, but some of the stories aren't a romance and are about a different sort of love. The style of writing varies between tale both in writing style and format, but most stick to a traditional format. This was a cute, fun collection of short stories that often peeked into deeper emotions and made me ponder the wonders of life and love.

Although some of the stories didn't "speak to me," there were no real weaknesses among them aside from the fact that they weren't good enough to earn a five-stare score, mostly because only one of them was extremely deep and emotionally touching.

The writing was excellent, most of the characters were charming and age appropriate, and the stories were sweet. Overall a good book of good stories, nice and strong but not amazing. Book cover bumped it to 4 stars.
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How They Met and Other Stories (Borzoi Books)
How They Met and Other Stories (Borzoi Books) by David Levithan (Paperback - December 22, 2009)
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