John Green & David Levithan – Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Length: 310 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Started / Finished: 03 July 2010
Where did it come from? A local bookstore.
Why do I have it? I knew I wanted a copy of John Green’s newest book, and since I had a gift certificate and therefore “free money”, I let myself buy the hardcover.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 17 April 2010.
Two boys, one name, two
suburbs, three romances, and
one star named Tiny.
Summary: Will Grayson has two simple rules for getting through life with as little pain as possible: 1) don’t care too much, and 2) shut up. Will’s best friend Tiny Cooper breaks these rules in every possible way: Tiny is football-player huge and openly, flamboyantly gay, falls in and out of love with a new boy every few hours, and is writing, directing, producing, and starring in a musical called Tiny Dancer, about the lifes and loves of – who else? – himself. Tiny’s constantly trying to break Will out of his shell and get him to engage with life and with the people around him, with limited success.
will grayson (who I am not capitalizing, because his chapters are all written in lowercase letters – which I normally totally detest, but it actually works for the character here – and because it’s a convenient way of telling the two main characters apart) lives in a Chicago suburb with his mom, and the only bright spot in his terminally depressing day is his online relationship with isaac, who is the only person who knows will is gay, and with whom will thinks he just might have fallen in love.
Will and will’s stories intersect when they run into each other in a downtown Chicago porn store, where both of them wind up by accident. Although they’ve got little enough in common other than their names, they soon start divulging secrets they never thought they’d reveal… and then Tiny Cooper shows up on the scene, and neither of the Will’s lives will ever be quite the same again.
Review: I was having a bad day when i sat down to read this book. Things had not been going my way, I was tired, I was not feeling well, and I was in a supremely bad mood. I didn’t particularly like either of the Will Graysons upon first meeting them. And, while the book had elicited a few laughs from me in the early pages, I was still predisposed to be cranky.
And then something happened. I broke Will’s first rule and started caring. I then broke Will’s second rule and started laughing – not just to my self, but loudly, out loud. I realized by about page 120 that the book had broken my heart on behalf of a character I wasn’t sure I even liked that much, and that by 150 it had somehow managed to stitch it back up. (That “somehow” was, of course, named Tiny Cooper.) And I’ll be damned if I didn’t spend the back half of this book alternating between getting misty-eyed and grinning like an idiot… and then I spent the last twenty pages grinning like an idiot while crying like a baby. Just all of the things the book was saying about love and life and relationships and truth and friendships, and I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised after reading Boy Meets Boy and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and every book John Green’s ever published, but damn if they didn’t get all of it right.
It’s so right it was sometimes hard to read. I think a large part of the reason I occasionally didn’t like the various Wills are because I recognized bits of them from myself, and wished I didn’t. I recognized Tiny, too – as will anyone who is blessed enough to have a larger-than-life friend with a larger-than-normal heart. The two interweaving storylines work together perfectly, each Will staying true to his own voice (Will was written by John Green and will by David Levithan), Tiny remaining as consistent character no matter which author was writing him, and both parts working together to build the story as a beautiful whole. 5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Highly recommended for just about everybody, but especially for fans of modern, honest YA lit that gets being a teenager right. If you’re unfamiliar with either John Green or David Levithan’s work, this book would be a great introduction.
Other Reviews: Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog, Bookfoolery and Babble, Books I Done Read, Care’s Online Book Club, Reading and Rooibos, Reading Rants, Start Narrative Here, Stuff as Dreams are Made On, The Written World, The Zen Leaf
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.
First Line: When I was little, my dad used to tell me, “Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.”
Cover Thoughts: Shiny! (In both the Firefly/Serenity sense and the “oh my god I’m such a magpie” sense.)