The Best Night of David Levithan’s (Pathetic) Life
I have it on good authority that David Levithan never sleeps. Okay, maybe not “good” authority, but I’ve gone over it and over it in my head and it’s the only thing that makes sense. How else could David be such an incredible editor, prolific author–both on his own and as collaborator with the likes of John Green (Will Grayson, Will Grayson), Rachel Cohn (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and more!) and, soon, Andrea Cremer (The Invisibility Curse)–and major YA organizer/advocate, running reading series, author drinks nights, and the amazing Teen Author Festival? There simply aren’t enough hours in the day!
Yesterday marked the publication of a new YA novel, Every Day, which is shaping up to be another breakout book for the David, whose first adult novel, The Lover’s Dictionary, made a huge splash last year. I’m about to dig into Every Day but admit to doing so with some envy because the premise of this book—its narrator wakes up in a different body every day—makes me want to crack open my own skull so that I can ask my brain, “Why the hell didn’t YOU think of that?”
David is going up against some pretty stiff competition as the Best Night-inspired YA author scav hunt continues. Melissa Walker, our current frontrunner, has a heck of a lot of points. Let’s see how David does!
TA: Have you ever……trespassed?
DL: I’ve trespassed numerous times, insofar as my wanderings have taken me over personal property. (Need a place to hang out after midnight? Find the nearest golf course!) But I don’t think I’ve ever broken into someone’s house. The fact that I’m not entirely sure of this is interesting (at least to me.)
TA: See, now, maybe if you SLEPT AT NIGHT your memory would be better! …skinny dipped? If so, where (lake, pool, ocean, swamp) and with whom?
DL: In a lake, at my all-boys summer camp. I’m not arguing cause-and-effect, but a lot of us ended up gay.
TA: In my attempt to come up with a witty response I have stumbled upon a song by Fall Out Boy called “Lake Effect Kid.” And it is terrible. …stolen (or “borrowed) something? What was it?
DL: I am looking at something right now that is in my office but isn’t really mine. But to say what it is would alert its real owner to its whereabouts.
TA: Fascinating! Be on the lookout, future visitors to David’s Scholastic man-cave! …kept a secret from your best friend? Explain yourself!
DL: Usually the secrets I keep from my best friends involve other friends. The biggest, most epic one was that in high school one of my best friends was in love with my other best friend … but I was sworn to secrecy. So she’d asked me why he was acting so weird, and I had to be all “um…I dunno.” Sometimes I had to go to ridiculous lengths to exhibit obliviousness.
TA: You are a good friend! But do you know what an isocahedron is without Googling? If not, give us your best guess.
DL: What is an isocahedron without Googling? It’s a isocahedron who isn’t concerned if it has more Google hits than the other isocahedrons.
TA: So true! Now down to brass tacks. How many of the following items from the scav hunt list in The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life could you scare up in your own home?
A snow globe? SO MANY (TA: Cool, but you only get points for one: 20)
An American flag? Yes, miniature (TA: For 25 points!)
A music box? If so, what song does it play? No, but it would play ‘Tiny Dancer’ (TA: A good tip for anyone in the market for a birthday present for you! But no points!)
A ticket stub from a Twilight series movie? Do tattoos count? (TA: They do not.)
A wedding invitation? Yup. (TA: That’s 80)
A plant that falls into the category of “succulent”? If only this said “planet” and not “plant” (TA: But it does not!)
An unopened box of Kleenex? With this nose? Hell yes. (TA: Bless you, and 20)
A red and black screwdriver? Yellow and black, alas. (TA: Sad!)
A Bundt pan? No bundts in my oven. (TA: So sad!)
A stretched penny? I feel so culturally incomplete. (TA: So very sad!)
A divided dinner plate? Yes! (TA: Oh, thank goodness: 10)
An unopened cable bill? No! (TA: Ack!)
A brick? Do Ben Folds Five singles count? (TA: Let me ponder!)
An orchid? Allergic. (TA: But you have all those tissues!)
TA: Okay, let’s tally up your points! So! Um! How to put this nicely, David? You suck at this! That was a woeful showing! Like the WORST EVER, garnering you only 155 points. You even did worse than E. Lockhart! And she couldn’t be bothered to get up and see what color her screwdriver was. Which reminds me: E. didn’t even get up to see what color her screwdriver was! So, you know what I’m going to do? I’m awarding you, David, just enough special points for answer-sass (I love a good Ben Folds Five dig, I really do) and actually checking to see what color your screwdriver was—even though you had to know at that point that you were not doing very well—to put you ahead of E. So you finish in second to last place and Melissa Walker remains in the frontrunner position with only Siobhan Vivian left to challenge her later this week!
A few questions for David before we let him go sob over his poor showing: How many goldfish have you loved and lost in your life?
DL: There is a way too long story attached to that. But the answer is I had two goldfish that each lived about five times longer than they should have.
TA: And lastly, tell us about one of the best nights of your (pathetic) life:
DL: It was one of the last nights before I left for college, and there was a full moon. Nostalgic, one of my best friends and I went to a park by my house. It was closed, but we snuck in anyway. And — because we were young, and because we were cheesy, and because the song meant something to us because it was the first album she’d ever given to me, we left the car running and blasted Van Morrison’s “Moondance” and, with the music and the light spilling from the car, danced across the grass, crooning along. Like most magical things, it seems a little silly when you step to the side and look at it, but we weren’t on the side — we were living it in that moment, and it made for a night worth remembering.
TA: Aw. Lovely. Thanks, David. Now go get some sleep or something, will you?