David Levithan’s Wide Awake Will Inspire You To Register to Vote
by Ryan Cassata
Wide Awake by David Levithan is a book that I just couldn’t put down. Released in 2006, this young adult fiction follows Duncan and Jimmy, two high school students that are boyfriends, and their circle of friends during Abe Stein’s race for the presidency. Abe Stein is openly gay and Jewish, and would be the first openly gay and Jewish President if elected. Even though Abe Stein wins the vote, a recount is quickly demanded, causing a panic, which calls for a support rally. Duncan and Jimmy are caught between abiding their parents’ rules and being young high school students, or standing up for what they
believe in. Although they are too young to vote, their voices still matter in the process and their passion was very inspiring to read.
Wide Awake is set in the near future, perhaps a time where things are a little less politically and socially tense for the LGBTQ community (hopefully that day comes soon). Outside of the book, things seem to be heading in that direction. In the United States, we now have our first openly gay presidential candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, which is an achievement in of itself. Perhaps Wide Awake isn’t too far off from what could eventually actually happen?
If anything, I know that Wide Awake is a book that will get young voters and LGBTQ voters excited to vote. I raced through the pages, getting more and more wrapped up in the outcome — will Stein win or lose? Will Democracy be honored? As I flipped through the pages, I kept in mind that our country is in a similar state of desperation for equality and justice. Reading the book definitely charged me up and made me even more invested in the 2020 race than I already was as a young trans person. I think it will do the same for anyone that reads it.
Wide Awake could be a source of inspiration for many, young and old, LGBTQ or not. Wide Awake may even inspire some to get involved with local election campaigns! Go read Wide Awake, and please, please, please go out and vote!
About the Author:
Ryan Cassata is an award winning singer-songwriter, actor, performer, writer and LGBTQ activist & motivational speaker based in Los Angeles. With features in Rolling Stone, Billboard Magazine, The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Daily News, Ryan has made the most of his young career, which started when he was just 13.
As a musician with over 550 performances touring across the United States and internationally, including dates on the Van’s Warped Tour, SXSW and at the worlds biggest pride festivals, Ryan has been praised by The Advocate saying he’s a “Transgender singing sensation”, Paper Magazine put him on the “50 LGBTQ Musicians You Should Prioritize” list, LOGO put him on the “9 Trans Musicians You Need To Get Into” list and Billboard put him on the “11 Transgender & Non-Binary Musicians You Need to Know” list and premiered his most recent music video for “Daughter.” He has also been heard on Sirius XM Radio, BBC Radio 4 and other radio stations around the world. MORE INFO AT: http://www.ryancassata.com/