WARRENTON, Va. — A Virginia high school review committee has voted not to censor a contested book from the school’s library that depicts two boys kissing on its cover.
The book, “Two Boys Kissing” by New YorkTimes bestselling author David Levithan, has previously survived a school committee review, but was subjected to a public hearing this week after one parent’s persistent efforts to have the book removed from the Fauquier County High School library.
“Two Boys Kissing” tells the story of two 17-year-old boys participating in in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record. The boys become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and gay hookup sites — all while the kissing (former) couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.
Parent Jessica Wilson contest contested the book earlier this year to the school’s principal, but after a school committee voted in February to keep the book on the shelves, Wilson appealed the decision to to the district superintendent.
Following a public hearing Wednesday, in which more than two dozen residents gave their opinions on whether the book should be censored, including on letter submitted by the author himself, the review committee voted not to remove the book from the school library.
“This book is not about sex,” said committee member Rev. Joie Clee Weiher when she gave her decision to retain the book. “Heated scenes of kissing are merely a hook, a draw for young people to read a book about relationships, respect and the deeper concerns of the human situation.”Marie Miller, a teacher at FHS and the advisor for the school publication The Falconersaid that she believes that those opposing the book were doing so not because of it’s lack of appropriateness for the students, but because it is a story about gay teens.
“If the focus of this book was on heterosexual teen relationships, it would not be the subject of a book challenge,” said Miller.
“Two Boys Kissing” was named to the 2013 National Book Award Longlist and is a 2014 Stonewall Honor Book.