Title/Author: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
Published/Year Published: Dutton Juvenile, 2010
How I got this book: bought a copy on my Nook
Why I read this book: I heard good things and I'm a big fan of John Green
Rating: 3 stars
Brief summary (from Goodreads): One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.
My thoughts: It seems like there has been an influx of collaborative novels for young adults recently. I find it so fascinating the way two authors are able to create such a coherent story by writing their sections separately, sending it off to the other and continuing on with the rest of the story in that manner. It reminds me of one of those choose your own adventure books. Embarrassing fact- my friends and I used to write some ridiculous Hanson and N'Sync fan-fiction in middle school in this same way (hahaha....) Yes, I was a huge nerd. One huge difference was that ours didn't make much sense when thrown together.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson takes the collaborative novel a step further by giving both characters the same name. Typically I think this would get pretty confusing but in this case they make it easy to tell the difference by using proper capitalization for one and all lowercase for the other. This is one of the first books I have read where one of the main characters is so openly and fabulously gay. John Green's Will Grayson (capital WG) was much more entertaining for me. I loved the struggling friendship between he and his best friend, (the not so tiny) Tiny Cooper. Tiny's musical, "Tiny Dancer", added plenty of humor to some pretty heavy subject matter. The flirtatious relationship between capital WG and Tiny's friend, Jane, was incredibly adorable. It reminded me so much of how it felt to be a teenager and have a blossoming crush on someone.
It took some time for me to warm up to David Levithan's Will Grayson (lowercase WG). I thought he was too angsty and portrayed as not a very nice guy. I started liking him better when the two Will Grayson's met. Their meeting was all sorts of hilarious and awkward, and I loved it. They get to talking and lowercase WG is introduced to Tiny, who of course falls for him and introduces him to his wonderful gay world. I thought it was somewhat unbelievable that after this meeting it was fairly easy for lowercase WG to come out of the closet to everyone, although I did think it was nice to see a character I hadn't previously cared much for have the guts to make such a bold move. I still found him a little annoying at times but he really made up for it when he made such an effort to show Tiny how he felt in the end and was able to work together with capital WG.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson throws a lot of emotions at the reader but it's got enough comedy and anticipation that it's not a book you feel like you have to muddle through. I enjoyed the different romantic stories and the ups and downs of the friendships. It was a very realistic look at how friendships and teenage romance can change so drastically in high school. I think it's harder to read a book like this now that I'm in my mid-twenties and don't really relate to the angsty teenage crap anymore. As a teen, I would have most likely given Will Grayson, Will Grayson 4 or 5 stars.