- Craig Graziano
What would happen if you met someone who had the exact same name as you? Would you examine them, looking for any similarities and differences, desperately trying to figure the other one out? Two high school students from suburban Chicago are about to find out, and both of them are Will Grayson in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan.
One lives by two rules: 1. Don’t care too much. 2. Shut Up. By following them, Will has made it through life without too many bruises. Unfortunately, his best friend Tiny Cooper is royally wrecking everything for him. Royal is appropriate for Tiny, a gigantic queen who just happens to be the school’s best football player and the writer/director/star of his own biographical musical, Tiny Dancer. This, along with Tiny’s constant attempts to get Will to go out with their mutual friend Jane, is exactly the kind of attention that Will does not want.
The other Will Grayson is fed up with nearly everything in life and hides his interest in guys from everyone. Friends, family, and school do nothing for him. His only solace is chatting with Isaac, another boy from Ohio. But a shocking revelation and a faulty fake ID lead to a fateful crossing-of-paths for these two identically named teens. And once Tiny Cooper meets the new Will Grayson, nothing is ever the same for any of them.
In this experimental novel, authors John Green and David Levithan bring their respective Wills to life in alternating chapters. Levithan has done this project before with Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, but the real treat of the book is Green’s chapters. The author and professional Nerdfighter manages to juggle humor, emotion, and lifelike dialogue among teenagers. His references to real bands, such as Neutral Milk Hotel and the Dead Milkmen, help ground the book further in reality. Tiny is both literally and figuratively a larger-than-life character. His musical’s lyrics are as catchy as they are hilarious, and they make Rent look like a washed-up diva by comparison. Definitely a book for older teens, fans of theater, or indie rock music, Will Grayson, Will Grayson had me laughing at and caring about its characters every step of the way.