Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Author: John Green and David Levithan
Published: April 6, 2010
310 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

This was a nice change from what John Green normally puts us through. Instead of mysterious girls with too many problems, or kids dying of cancer, we get Will Grayson, an average boy who mostly just follows in his friend Tiny's footsteps, and Will Grayson, a closeted gay who's in love with a boy he's never met online. The story played out a lot more like a David Levithan novel, like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. There were some dark points, but for the most part this book was happy romp in the park that was certainly one of a kind.

John Green's Will Grayson has only ever known a life with Tiny, the very large, very gay football player. When Tiny decides he's going to put on a musical about his life, Will starts to wonder if being friends with Tiny is really what he wants. Tiny introduces Will to his friend Jane, and suddenly Will has much bigger problems to worry about. Levithan's Will is very different. He is on anti-depressents and living in the closet, hoping beyond hope that Isaac can rescue him from his sad life. So when Isaac says he wants to meet, Will accepts wholeheartedly, and he ends up in Chicago, waiting. Other Will Grayson is in Chicago with Jane and Tiny to see a concert, but fails to get in because his fake I.D. says he's only 20. While he's waiting for his friends to get out, he meets Will Grayson, broken and torn from Isaac not showing up. Instead, he meets Tiny, and suddenly both Wills are connected together more than either thought they'd be.

Told in alternating chapters from both Wills, we watch as their stories slowly collide together and se how each can help the other. It's easy to tell who is narrating not only because each Will is drastically different, but Levithan's Will writes in all lowercase, which Levithan explained is because he lives in a lowercase kind of world. His problems are real and will hit true to anyone going through the same thing as him. Not just because he's gay, but because he is depressed and feels like he is alone in the world. Other Will Grayson's problems are much different, but ring true just the same. Hiding behind the shadow of someone like Tiny, who is loud and proud and everyone loves, Will is trying to find his own identity and slowly drifting away from Tiny. 

This was so easy to read and fun to boot. Tiny's musical made me laugh and part of me is hoping they'll make it a real thing because it looks like it would be so much fun to watch. I can't decide which Will I like better because I liked them both in their own ways. There are parts where I wanted more, maybe because I was expecting more John Greenesque to the novel, but I enjoyed reading it. This the first book I've read with a gay main character and I love that he is written like any other character. It is not a flashing sign about being gay, he's a normal kid with normal problems and I think it's really important to let the world know that. In fact, I kind of wish I had a friend like Tiny to hide behind sometimes. 

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