Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan (Dutton)

Buy it now from TLAgay.com or from our Amazon.com store to help support our site.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Wow, this book is so clever, it should be taught in cleverness school. The two
authors, John Green (An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns) and David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy, Nick
and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
) take turns
writing chapters in this humorous and affecting coming-of-age novel, and the
result was a triumph with some of the sharpest dialogue and description I’ve

As you might guess from the title, there are two narrators,
both teens named Will Grayson.  The
first Will is hetero, well-to-do, and gets good grades.  The second Will is gay, miserable, and
has to work at CVS so he and his mom can “afford the things they need from
CVS.”  They are both distinct,
charismatic protagonists, but the character who runs off with this book is Hetero
Will Grayson’s best friend, Tiny Cooper.

Constantly cheerful (except right after being dumped) and
optimistic, Tiny is either the “world’s largest gay person” or the “world’s
gayest large person.”  You can
understand his character by knowing his goal is to have his high school fund
and present a musical that he wrote.
This musical happens to be all about him.  At first, Het Will gets the novel’s best lines because he
can take good-natured jabs at how crazy Tiny is.  (As Tiny skips down the hall way, Het Will says “he can be a
skipper if he wants to because that’s his right as a huge American.”) After Gay
Will meets Tiny, he also picks up the thread.  (“Being hugged by Tiny is like being hugged by a sofa.”  “He punched my arm in a way that was
supposed to be friendly, but it felt like I’d been punched by a Volkswagen.”)  All three characters are dynamic and
learn about love and honesty in ways that will resonate with both younger
readers and adults. 

If I were forced to find a flaw with this 310-page book, it
would be pages 308-310.  I’m not
going to give any spoilers, so I have to discuss this in a very vague way.  In the movies, Jeffrey and Big Eden, there is this sort of magical environment where everyone is pro-gay
to an extreme.  While just about
any viewer would know it’s not real, it works to a degree because the stories
are consistent.  The characters of
Grayson, Will Grayson
live in a somewhat
edgier reality, but at the end that reality drops away, allowing the magic to take
over.  I feel it was too late and,
thus not believable.  Total
hypocrite that I am, I have to admit I cried at the end, and I’m fairly sure
I’d never be able to think of an ending that would be an improvement.  All in all, this is probably my
favorite YA book since
The Year of Ice and Vintage.  Highly recommended.  

Reviewed by Gavin Atlas

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