Quirky Love Novel

The Lover’s Dictionary, a novel, by David Levithan. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY, 2011.

Review: If you’re looking for something different in a romance novel THE LOVER’S DICTIONARY is for you. David Levithan was searching for something different to give to friends for Valentine’s Day and this book happened. It’s not your average romance, but if you’re in the mood for a new twist on writing romance grab this one up.

Levithan is an accomplished author. He teamed up with Rachel Cohn to write the successful NICK AND NORA’S ULTIMATE PLAY LIST which became a so-so YA movie. Then they released DASH & LILLY’S BOOK OF DARES last fall about another high school couple in New York City and their adventures in finding love via a shared journal and The Strand bookstore in Union Square. NICK AND NORA didn’t do anything for me, but you MUST read DASH & LILLY. The names, the story, the love story, the characters, and the city are grand and really worth the time to read. Back to THE LOVER’S DICTIONARY.

Levithan is a senior editor at Scholastic. He knows what sells and how to sell it. LOVER’S is not only a twist on the romance novel, but a daring experiment in the world of novels. It’s quirky, minimalist, and packs a whollop once you read the whole thing. There’s more white space on many pages than letters, but Levithan proves it isn’t quantity it’s quality when it comes to writing a great love story. Read it.


ardent, adj.

“It was after sex, when there was still heat and mostly breathing, when there was still touch and mostly thought…it was as if the whole world could be reduced to the sound of a single string being played, and the only thing this sound could make me think of was you. Sometimes desire is air; sometimes desire is liquid. And every now and then, when everything else is air and liquid, desire solidifies, and the body is the magnet that draws the weight.



  1. I think the ardent quote is nice, but I don’t really understand it. Can you explain it, please? 🙂

    • Hi, Sheila,
      So glad you popped in and I love questions, even if I’m not sure what the answer is. And because I didn’t write this passage, I can’t say for positive what Levithan meant but I’m guessing he’s okay with other people’s interpretations of his work. That’s some of why we write anyway.

      Ardent means strong desire. This passage speaks to me about the strong, brilliant moments after love making that are sometimes so overpowering they cloud out the rest of reality. This paragraph describes how strong the lover’s desire is for the other and how when everyday life is replaced in this special moment after love’s burst in our bodies and hearts, there is nothing but the notion of how big the love is.

      The last line talks to the fact that desire is an abstraction that we cannot touch only feel and know, but in those moments when reality is not so paramount in our senses, desire becomes something solid that the solid body can cling to if only for a moment.

      Hope you read the book!

      Meanwhile, check out my novel MESSAGE TO LOVE from the Wild Rose Press. http://www.thewildrosepress.com


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