David Levithan is a prolific YA author whose books I normally enjoy, so I was very interested to see that he released his first novel geared towards adults, called The Lover’s Dictionary. The format of this book is very unique, as the story is told in short “dictionary” entries. In each entry, the unnamed narrator defines a word like “ubiquitous”, “autonomy”, and ”idea” by describing profound moments (big and little) in his longtime relationship with a woman, who is also unnamed. Since it’s told through dictionary entries, which are of course alphabetical, the story isn’t told chronologically and it is up to the reader to determine which events happened when. It’s filled with romance, humor, and heartbreak.
The way this story is told reminds me a lot of the movie 500 Days of Summer, which I loved. The mixed-up timeline is interesting and makes sense with the story rather than feeling like a gimmick. It allows Levithan to pair the sad moments in the story with the more lighthearted and fun moments of their relationship, which gives the story a nice balance and feels more realistic. It’s no sugar-coated love story; it feels gritty and real, and Levithan knows how to make you feel it right along with the main character. If you have enjoyed Levithan’s other books or are looking for a unique and realistic love story, I recommend picking up a copy of this book.