Saturday, April 30, 2011

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green+ David Levithan

Genre: YA contemporary
Pages: 310 (hardcover)
Published: 2010 by Dutton
Recommended for: those who enjoyed John Green's other books-- Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, etc


It’s not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Chicago suburbanites Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live on different planets. When fate delivers them both to the same surprising crossroads, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected directions. With a push from friends new and old — including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, offensive lineman and musical theater auteur extraordinaire — Will and Will begin building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most awesome high school musical.

My Take: 

I really wanted to love Will Grayson^2.  I'm going to call it that, "Will Grayson to the power of two" since there's no way I'm typing the name twice every time I mention the title.  

Anyway, John Green is one of my favorite Youtube gurus, and I also really enjoyed his most awesome book Looking for Alaska.  I've never read anything by David Levithan, but I do know that the two authors collaborated on Will Grayson^2 like this: John Green wrote a chapter from one Will's point of view, then Levithan wrote one from the other Will's, and the entire book alternated like that.  One thing that drove my OCD crazy was that the fact that the second Will Grayson-- I'll call him 'Emo Will'-- 's chapters were written without capitalized letters at the beginning of sentences, and there were no quotation marks, etc.  I'm sure most people wouldn't mind at all, but it drove me crazy. (-er.)  John Green wrote from the first person POV of the Will I'll call 'OWG' (other Will Grayson), because that's what Emo Will calls him.  There was nothing especially special about OWG-- he was an ordinary guy, a pretty nice guy who's maybe-maybe-not crushing on a girl named Jane, a guy mostly keeps his mouth shut and tries not to draw too much attention to himself under any circumstances.  This proves very difficult for OWG, given that his best friend is Tiny Cooper.  

My favorite line from the book, without a doubt, is on the first page: 'Tiny Cooper is not the world's gayest person, and he is not the world's largest person, but I believe he may be the world's largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large.'  I cracked up immediately, and that's when I knew that this was going to be one funny book.  There's a joke or two on every page-- especially in OWG's chapters-- and about 60% of them are pretty funny. (A couple fall flat.)  There's also about a half dozen swear words on every page, but I got used to it pretty quickly.  Tiny Cooper can be downright hilarious at times, though I did think he was a little bit of a stereotype gay guy: flirty and kind of nosy, loud.  I did like his character, though, more than either of the Will Graysons.  

The plot is that Tiny wants to stage a musical at his and OWG's high school, a musical about his life and many failed romantic relationships and ex-boyfriends.  There are more than a few obstacles to him staging this play, but not as many as there would be in real life, if you know what I mean.  I mean, if somebody at my high school (which is admittedly located in the Southern US) tried to put on a play where the leading character was openly gay, I think there would be riots and all kinds of horrible reactions.  But I guess everybody's just keeping it real and is totally accepting in Will Grayson^2's Chicago-land.  This book should probably be called Tiny Cooper^2, realistically, though I realize the irony is missing with that title. ;)  But there's twice as much Tiny Cooper in the story as there is OWG and Emo Will.  

Emo Will, by the way, I have so named because well, he's pretty darn emo.  He's severely depressed and it's hard not to sympathize with him over that, but Emo Will very quickly grated on my nerves.  He has a friend named Maura who really likes him (even though Emo Will's actually gay, he hasn't told her about that or the fact that he's been exchanging instant messages with a mysterious guy named Isaac for a long time now.)  Emo Will is such an *ss to Maura, though we find out she's not exactly a saint, either.  I think the overall problem with me and this book was that there was no one character I immediately connected with-- they were all sort of okay, but I didn't really fall in love with anyone.  The ending is also not so impressive... seemed like a big let-down after 300 pages.  The best thing about this book is the humor-- it is truly hilarious at times.  I realize that has probably been a thoroughly confusing review, what with the two Wills and my ramblings, so kudos and thanks to you if you stuck it out! 

Cover: 4/5
Premise: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3/5


Maya said...

lol Had to read this for a class and we all called him Emo Will, too.

I was sad to say that I did not like this book. Tiny Cooper irritated me, and Emo Will bothered me too. I love John Green's writing, but I really couldn't love the book.

Good review, and thanks for sharing!

Kat said...

@Maya-- Yeah, the book didn't really impress, either. I don't think I'll remember much about it in another month. Still, I'd love to be in a class where you get to read contemporary YA rather than classics a lot of us readers read a million years ago. :)

Candace said...

I'm a fan of both the authors and I'm really looking forward to reading this one. Someday. You know when I get a million other books read.

Anonymous said...

You're not alone, the lowercase writing in emo Will's chapters drove me insane!

Asheley T. said...

I just finished this book this week! I read it because I am very intensely author-loyal, and I love John Green. I have never read any of David Levithan's books, but I'm sure he's great too. I LOVED LOVED LOVED Paper Towns. I LIKED Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I wasn't particularly bothered by the style of writing (alternating chapters by the two authors about the two Wills, absent capitalization for one of the wills, etc). I was a little put-off before I read it by it being co-authored, but I think I was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked for Green and Levithan. I can't wait to read more of Green and one of these days, I plan to get around to Levithan as well.

Kat said...

@Thursday Knight-- It's the OCD for me, lol. I've been known to actually neatly correct spelling and punctuation mistakes in my own books, and not being able to do it here had me in a huff. I think it's funny how everyone else called him 'Emo Will', too. :)

@SweetestBookworm-- I haven't read Paper Towns yet, but it's definitely on my list! (I'm very author-loyal as well.) Glad you enjoyed Will Grayson. :)

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