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David Levithan, "Ryan and Avery" in conversation with Sarah Darer Littman

David Levithan on LGBTQIA+ Censorship:

Featuring His Latest YA Novel Ryan and Avery


In May 2023, a lawsuit was brought against Escambia County (FL) school district by PEN America, Penguin Random House, a group of parents, and several authors—including David Levithan.

With the mounting number of book challenges and bans being seen nationwide, David Levithan will speak to the issue from the point of view of both author and publisher. He is a long-time editor and publisher at Scholastic (he edited The Hunger Games books, Alex Gino’s Melissa, and many others). Levithan is used to having his own books challenged, too — including both Boy Meets Boy and Two Boys Kissing.

David will discuss how LGBTQIA+-themed kids and YA literature has evolved since the release of his first novel and how the publishing landscape has changed.

It has been twenty years since the publication of David Levithan’s first novel, Boy Meets Boy; the beginning of his impressive catalog of stories centering LGBTQIA+ characters.

In 2013, ten years after that initial release, Levithan published Two Boys Kissing, a book that is beloved by readers and received great acclaim, including a Lambda Literary Award, a Stonewall Honor, and being longlisted for the National Book Award. Levithan’s latest, RYAN AND AVERY, features characters who were first introduced in Two Boys Kissing. In a letter to readers, Levithan writes: “I made a resolution to write the most ambitious queer YA novel I had within me, as a way of recognizing in some way the decade that had passed [since Boy Meets Boy]. That book was Two Boys Kissing. Now, it’s been another ten years, and I am (very deliberately) bringing RYAN AND AVERY out into the world — a book I have worked on far longer and more carefully than any other book I’ve written.” He describes the new book as, “The most intimate, most focused, most moment-to-moment love story I could write.”

Ryan and Avery

In RYAN AND AVERY, when the titular characters meet at a queer prom, they feel an instant connection. Levithan tells the story of the boys’ first ten dates as they bridge their initial shyness and fall in love — through snowstorms, groundings, meeting parents (Avery’s) and not (Ryan’s), cast parties, heartbreak, and every day and date in between.

A love story for the ages, RYAN AND AVERY is going to delight readers and become another important story in the canon of queer literature for young people.

David Levithan is a children’s book editor in New York City and the author of several books for young adults, including Lambda Literary Award winner Two Boys Kissing; Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (co-authored with Rachel Cohn); Take Me with You When You Go (co-authored with Jennifer Niven); Will Grayson, Will Grayson (co-authored with John Green); and Boy Meets Boy, among many other novels for teens and kids. In 2016, David was named the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter at @loversdiction.

David Levithan

Sarah Darer Littman is the critically acclaimed author of Some Kind of Hate; Deepfake; Backlash; Want to Go Private?; Anything But Okay; In Case You Missed It; Life, After; and Purge. She is also an award-winning news columnist and teaches writing at Western Connecticut State University and with the Yale Writers' Workshop. Sarah lives in Connecticut with her family in a house that never seems to have enough bookshelves. You can visit her online at

Sarah Darer Littman


Can't make it to the event? You can still get a signed and personalized copy of Ryan and Avery.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, October 4, 2023 - 6:00pm EDT
Event address: 
RJ Julia Booksellers
768 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
Staff Pick Badge
Ryan and Avery By David Levithan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399553097
Availability: On Our Shelves; Typically Ships in 1-2 Days
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 12th, 2023

SKU: s9780399553097

Answers in the Pages By David Levithan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593484715
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Yearling - September 5th, 2023

Some Kind of Hate By Sarah Darer Littman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338746815
Availability: On Our Shelves; Typically Ships in 1-2 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - November 1st, 2022

Deepfake By Sarah Darer Littman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338178340
Availability: On Our Shelves; Typically Ships in 1-2 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - February 1st, 2022

Two Boys Kissing By David Levithan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307931917
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ember - May 12th, 2015

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