Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?
by David Levithan
YA fiction. 215 pp.
Knopf. 2005.

Brothers Elijah and Danny, who used to be quite close, have grown apart as they've gotten older. Now in his early twenties, Danny is a rising professional and workaholic. Elijah, entering his senior year in school, is much more laid back. Trying to repair the rift in the boys' relationship, their parents trick them into going to Italy for a 10-day vacation. Initially disgruntled at having to spend this time with each other, they eventually begin to understand one another again and learn who they are.

This is an interesting and well-written book. Levithan takes on the difficult task of writing it in alternating third person omniscient present. At first, it's an odd voice and perspective to adjust to, but Levithan works well with it. You get to understand both Danny and Elijah, and you feel who they are in a compelling way as you being to understand how each boy thinks and why he can't grasp who his brother is.

In terms of Levithan's work, this is a good book. It's far better than Boy Meets Boy (I thought the world Levithan created there was unrealistic) but not quite as good as The Realm of Possibility (but I'm a sucker for narrative free-verse poetry).


Master Fob said...

I actually loved Boy Meets Boy. I figured he intended his world to be idealistically unrealistic, so it didn't bother me. What I liked most about it was the completely non-romantic but beautiful relationship between the narrator and his best friend.

I like what I have read so far of The Realm of Possibility but life has prevented me from finishing it. As soon as I do, I'll hop right on Are We There Yet? I've tried writing omniscient third-person present before and have failed miserably--I'm curious to see how Levithan does it and makes it work.

Edgy said...

I don't know if you can call the world "idealistically unrealistic"; it was odd to me that everyone at the high school would apparently be gay without it being established as a type of Harvey Milk High School. But maybe it was just their circle of friends. I do like how sexuality wasn't an issue among the peer group. I agree with you about the relationship between the narrator and his best friend. It's nice to see that element explored in YA lit.