18 June 2011

Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green.  

This was a completely engrossing YA novel told in two teenaged boy voices, both of whom happen to be named Will Grayson.  The first Will Grayson is a boy from a solidly middle class family in Chicago who happens to be straight, and his best friend is Tiny Cooper, the larger than life (literally and figuratively) musical-loving  (and -writing) linebacker who happens to be gay.  The second Will Grayson is from the 'burbs, has a working class mom, and is sullen and resentful beyond belief-- which has more than a little something to do with still being closeted and the fact that his alleged best friend has played the rottenest and meanest of tricks on him.  When the two Will Graysons inadvertently cross paths in an uncomfortably seedy location, both of their lives change--eventually for the better, but it might take a little introspection on both of their parts, and being bathed in Tiny's aura of love and sheer joy in life, to notice. 

This is not what I could call an "issue" book, and that's part of what makes it so much fun to read.  Straight, gay, whatever--the characters' orientation isn't so much the point in this book as trying to figure out that strange transition between childhood and adulthood and making the right choices and and treating other people decently and getting over all of your personal hangups.   A little bit coming-of-age, but mostly just slice-of-life, told with little pretense and bullshit.  If you liked Steve Kluger's My Most Excellent Year, and if you don't mind your YA novels with a little bit of grit, you should definitely give this one a try. 

Here's a shout-out to my coworker, Marika McCoola, and to Laurie at What She Read, for reading this book at the right time and reviewing it in a way that made me take it on vacation with me.  I picked it as my airplane read and my faith in it (and them!) was rewarded.  Good stuff! This book pubbed in hardcover last year and in paperback this year and I bought this copy for myself.


  1. I really have to get to this one sometime. So many people have loved it.

  2. Big sigh of relief that you enjoyed this too! Glad WG,WG kept you good company on your flight to Anguilla.


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