Friday, July 23, 2010
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green and David Levithan
SUMMARY: In two separate Chicago suburbs, there are two high school boys who share both a certain sense of dissatisfaction with their lives and a name. Will Grayson and will grayson are going about their separate lives, unaware that each is spiraling towards an unexpected but somehow fated encounter with the other. That one significant meeting in the famous Chicago adult bookstore Frenchy’s causes the boys’ lives to intersect in exciting and disruptive ways.
ONESMARTCUPCAKE THINKS: So, I’m going offer full disclosure here. I am GIGANTIC fan of John Green and David Levithan. When I heard that they were publishing a book together, I had nearly died from the potential awesomeness overload. Even the thought of such a combination gave me a young adult literature awesomeness attack! So, needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while. I had to wait until I got access to my former high school library (where I’m working this summer) to get my hands on it. And then I saved it for the right moment to read. But about two weekends ago, that moment came. I read the entire novel in about two to three hours on rainy bus rides to and from Philiadelphia with my ipod blocking out the combined noise of Rocky and giggling teenagers. But Will Grayson, Will Grayson (WGWG for short) was worth the wait.
I greatly enjoyed this book. It seems to combine the best of both of these brilliant authors and yet result in a unique novel that feels like a true collaboration, not a simple cut and paste job. WGWG does not quite shine as brightly as the very best of either author’s individual work; instead it stands out as something new and unique. Green and Levithan’s witty characters and honest representation of emotions blend well together, maintaining a single, cohesive story throughout their separately written, alternating chapters. I loved both Will and will as well as the variety of other supporting characters, especially the geek goddess Jane and will’s mother. However, I must admit (like nearly every other reviewer) that the brilliant and bedazzling Tiny Cooper completely steals the show in this particular novel. The creation of the fabulous Tiny somewhat epitomizes the collaboration going on here; he fits into the familiar but distinct worlds of both authors’ bodies of work while also demonstrating the themes usually highlighted by both. Tiny is a completely original individual who sees no need to change himself in order to fit in or meet the approval of others. Even in his most vulnerable moments Tiny refuses to lose the confidence and pride in himself that he has obviously worked hard to gain. Additionally, he demonstrates the great optimism about humanity and the power of human connections and relationships that Levithan and Green seem to illustrate in their previous novels.
This book left me with the happy, sort of floating feeling I usually get from wonderful stories. The novel manages to explore the messy and frequently painful realities of all kinds of relationships while also illustrating the beautiful moments of true understanding and connection possible within them. WGWG is elegantly written in a combination of sardonic humor, quirky wit, and transcendent simplicity. But then, would we expect any less from these rock stars of the YA lit world?
4 ½ / 5 STARS