Will Grayson #1 (WG1) is a temperamental teenager from Chicago who tries to live life without caring about anything in order not to get hurt. His best friend – more of a friend by proximity than anything else – is Tiny Cooper: a very large, very gay football player who wants to put on a musical about love and acceptance.
Will Grayson #2 (WG2) is a moody, depressed, cynical teenager from the suburbs of Chicago. He’s poor, he’s on mood meds, and he doesn’t really like any of the “friends” he sits with at school. At night he has an online romance with a boy named Isaac that he’s never met.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson follows the lives of these two Will Graysons, first separately, then more intertwined after the two meet.
I am so, so happy Darren alerted me to the existence of this book, which I had no idea was coming out until maybe a month ago (bad me!). I am also so, so happy that my friend Brittany got me a signed copy of said book at the John-Green-David-Levithan tour event in Austin, even if I was so, so sad that I couldn’t go myself. The book was every bit as wonderful as I expected and as everyone has said. I loved it.
I could just keep squeeing, but I figure I ought to say something about WHY I love the book, beyond the fact that it’s John Green (whose videos crack me up) and David Levithan (whose books I’ve loved for a long time now).
First, unsurprisingly, WGWG was extremely well-written. I have no idea which author wrote which sections, but both were expertly done. What else would anyone expect?
Second, I loved the characters. I wasn’t sure at first about WG2 because he was all moody and rude, but by the end of his first section, I loved him. He actually reminds me a lot of the way I was as a teen. I just had to remember that mentality and open up to him.
Third, this book had me cracking up laughing every couple pages. It had my teary on other pages. A rollercoaster like that is difficult to pull off, but JG and DL did fantastic!
Fourth, Tiny Cooper. Best. Character. EVAH. Just saying. Normally I don’t like people who act like stereotypes, especially GLBT stereotypes because it’s, as one character says multiple times, “bad for the team.” But Tiny – he’s MORE than a stereotype. He’s himself, and I absolutely fell in love with him. Not sure I’d want to be his best friend, but I’d love to give him a big hug.
I did have a couple of issues with the book. Rare is the book that I don’t have issues with, right? But both are small.
First up: the pointless, gratuitous, disgustingly-described vomiting scene. Maybe it’s getting old to hear me harp on about this, but in all honesty it’s become almost a cliché of YA lit to have a vomiting scene. Every frickin’ book has one! I know I’m more sensitive than most people about this, but seriously, enough already!!! It’s the YA equivalent to the gratuitous, inappropriately-placed sex scenes thrown into most adult literary books in order to boost sales. A YA book can’t be a YA book anymore without a vomit scene. I’m bored as well as disgusted.
Second up: The ending was very abrupt. While the scene was powerful, it revolved around Tiny and his resolution. I didn’t feel like I got enough resolution for either Will Grayson. I would have liked two more chapters at the end to taper off into feeling closure. Maybe it’s just because I stayed up late to finish the book and I was tired by the end. That’s possible. But the end – not what happened, but when it happened – just came as a surprise for me.
Over all, I loved this book. I loved it even more when I dreamt about it all night, even when those dreams first combined with Germinal (which I’m still dreaming about weeks later) and all the characters went down into a coal mining pit, and then later combined with Passion Pit‘s “Sleepyhead,” so that “Sleepyhead” became the theme song to Tiny Dancer and got stuck in my head for days. Just some little tidbits to make this review more interesting. 😀
Note: Years later, all I have to do is see the cover of WGWG and “Sleepyhead” pops into my mind. Permanently associated. 😀