Looking at Danny used to be like looking at the future. Now looking at Danny is like looking at a future he doesn't want.
Well, wasn't this a lovely story of two brothers? Our two brothers, Elijah and Danny, have a seven year age gap between them, and ever since Danny began to grow up the two of them have slowly drifted apart. After being inseparable Danny began high school and left Eljiah behind him. Now, they're older. Elijah sixteen and Danny twenty-three. Each brother thinks the other is too much. Danny sees Elijah as the pot-smoking and mellow yet polite younger brother without any plans for the future. Elijah on the other hand sees Danny as stuck up, stressed out, and just a boring person. Their parents decide to trick them into going to Italy for nine days. Alone. Together they must travel, but will it help them find their way back to each other again after all these years?
A person could stay in this same place his whole life and meet millions of people from all over the world. But instead, everyone moves on, and meets no one.
Okay, so I'm quite biased here. I mean, come on, it's Levithan. I'll read anything he writes and swallow it whole. But I just love his characters even with their faults. Danny and Elijah are such well written characters. The story is told from dual POV, and it's the simplest thing in the world to tell the difference between them. With the differences between them we get to see Italy from two diverse view; they have different interests and appreciates the places in their own ways. Each place they visit leaves an impression on the brothers, but rarely are they touched the same. Even if they spend pretty little time with each other after Elijah stumbles into Julia, another tourist, the relationship between Danny and Elijah is constantly there. Despite themselves not noticing it, the relationship grows over the course of their trip until they both have to come to terms with certain things about themselves and each other.
Yes, I love Levithan's work. This one in particular I enjoyed very much due to a number of things. For one thing it was a trip down memory lane. Since I've visited Venice once - one of the places the brothers go - this book took me right back there. To the expensive coffee, St Mark's Square and the Basilica, the gondolas... yes, all of it. Even the memory of a dove eating out of my sister's hand while sitting on her head. Levithan made this, and the other destinations, come to life in a beautiful way. The second reason is probably because my sister. Because she's currently in that place where she might go to college after the summer. It feels as a time when it's so easy to grow apart as she moves away from home, and me, for the first time. I could see myself in Elijah in his part as the younger sibling with the older one going away (even if in this story Danny is already moved away from home). I don't know why this spoke to me so well, but it gave me hope that despite miles apart, things will still be okay.
There is the distance of miles, and the distance of brothers, to overcome. He can feel the world coming between them again. But the world is so much smaller than it used to be.