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This was a first: today I was tempted to hide The New York Times Book Review from my 14-year-old son.

On page 14, Frank Bruni reviews Every Day, David Levithan’s new novel for young adults. Bruni gave the novel a mixed review, finding it poignant but occasionally heavy-handed and far-fetched. He did concede, however, that the issues it explores — about love and its powers to transcend external beauty, race, gender and the logic of physical reality — are particularly relevant to teenagers.

So why don’t I want my son to see the review? Because he loved the book. He was given an advanced reader’s copy by the owner of our local children’s bookstore and returned from camp declaring it “the best book he’s ever read.” I don’t want the critique of a middle-aged man to dampen my son’s sheer joy at reading this book. Or any book.

I get the idea that if you really love something, you love it flaws and all. And that you should be able to defend a book you think was assessed unfairly. And that you should feel comfortable with opinions that go against your own. But I think there should be years and years of pure pleasure from reading before one starts parsing the comments of professional critics. (more…)

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