Two of my favorite authors (John Green and David Levithan) come together to write WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON and for some reason it takes me ages to actually read it. Unacceptable!
This book is both incredibly serious and incredibly hilarious at the same time. I laughed out loud during some passages and in others found myself reflecting on how deep and sincere the story was.
The story follows two Will Graysons, one written by Green and the other by Levithan, who are leading very different lives until they cross paths in a porn shop in Chicago one night. (Trust me, the reason they are both in the porn shop is not what you’d think). Green’s WG is a quiet guy with a shut-up and don’t care mentality caught between loving and hating his best friend, Tiny Cooper, who manages to always embarrass him or complicate even the most basic of circumstances; Tiny is anything but small (massive football player) and seems to be in love with a new boy every day (or hour). Levithan’s WG is struggling with depression and self-loathing, and can’t seem to open up to anyone in his life except for an online friend (Issac) who he heads off to Chicago to meet, only to have his world fall apart.
Tiny Cooper ends up being the central thread in this story – in fact, the book could potentially have been called Tiny Cooper, Tiny Cooper. He is annoying but loveable, gracious and yet sometimes selfish. While Tiny stages the most amazing high school musical I have ever read in contemporary YA, he manages to help both Will Graysons step beyond the identities they have assumed so far in life. The WG Green wrote may be my favorite of Green’s MCs (more than Quinten or Colin or even Pudge). He is still a little dorky and shy, obsessed with a girl slightly out of his league, but he had this spark of sarcasm in him that I loved. He stood up for Tiny and himself. He was often incredibly honest even when his #1 Rule was to shut up. He stood apart from Green’s other male MCs. And Levithan’s WG is so mean and then so vulnerable. The depth of his depression is clearly communicated, as well as the struggles he faces each day. I’m not sure I’ve read a character like him before. And somehow, even with all these weighty topics, the book is a quick, light, and humorous read. At its core it touches on love and phenomenon of falling into it, as well as identity – how who you are is so often defined by how others perceive you. I truly loved this book.
Originally reviewed here