Thursday, February 04, 2010
Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green & David Levithan
April 2010; Dutton Books (Penguin); ISBN 978-0-525-42158-0 (hardcover)
Reviewed from ARC received from publisher
Summary: On a night that wasn't too different from any other, Will Grayson walks into a downtown Chicago porn shop after getting left behind by his friends. At the same time, Will Grayson--a different Will Grayson--walks into the same porn shop to meet his Internet boyfriend. The meeting of the two Will Graysons, both with teh same problem, will change each of them in unexpected ways. For both Wills are scared to risk it all. But thanks to a girl named Jane, a boy named Gideon, and the fabulous Tiny Cooper, Will Grayson's life will become something great.
Two Things to Know about Will Grayson, Will Grayson
#1: Two heads are better than one.
From the minds of John Green and David Levithan comes a funny, insightful look at two boys with the same name and a similar problem. While each author's style is clearly visible, working with a co-author seems to have benefitted each story. John Green's Will Grayson doesn't pine after an unattainably beautiful girl--instead, he tries to decide if he wants a relationship with a quirky music geek. Meanwhile, David Levithan's Will is messed-up and moody, but he's perhaps the most accessible and authentic teen that Levithan has written. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a great example of the strengths that come from two great authors collaborating together on a story.
#2: Sometimes the most memorable characters aren't the star.
A character like Tiny Cooper isn't often the main character. He's just too much: too dynamic, too fabulous, to use his own words. A book written around Tiny Cooper might be too freewheeling, an example of chaos in book form. But as a supporting character, Tiny can be anything he wants to be. Green and Levithan create a group of secondary characters that enrich the story greatly. Besides Tiny, there's Jane the music geek who makes a connection with one Will Grayson, much to his confusion. There's Gideon the friendly, sweet guy who supports Will when he comes out at school. Even parents get small moments with their sons, showing that adults don't all have to be lame or nonexistent in YA novels. All in all, this cast of characters doesn't just reflect back on each of the Will Graysons; they help make the story of each protagonist richer and deeper. Even Maura, who tricks Will with a fake Internet boyfriend, is given motives and shades of gray.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is an enjoyable, accomplished work from two authors at the top of their game. The lives of two boys, from different worlds, are shwon to be not that different. As they learn how to confront the challenges that won't let them change for the better, each Will Grayson opens his heart and makes a difference. Plus, there's the world's most fabulous musical. Teens who enjoyed Dramarama by E. Lockhart, as well as John Green's Nerdfighter fans and followers of David Levithan, are sure to enjoy Will Grayson, Will Grayson.
Any opinions on books published in 2010 are my own and do not represent the opinions of the 2011 Printz Committee.