Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Tuesday 4 August 2015 by

Will Grayson, John Green, David Levithan, Book, Penguin, Reading

Will Grayson, Will Grayson tells the story of two very different 17 year olds, both incidentally named William Grayson, who meet completely by chance on a cold night in Chicago and find their paths changing.

Co-written by John Green (Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska) and David Levithan (Are We There Yet?, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist with Rachel Cohn) the novel alternates the first person narratives of each Will Grayson. John Green tackles Will Grayson 1, a confident yet self-effacing guy who lives by two rules – Don’t Care Too Much, and Shut Up – and also happens to live somewhat in the shadow of his fantastically over the top best friend, Tiny Cooper. Tiny embarks on a mission to bring his auto-biographical musical to the school stage, and is bringing Will along for the ride, whether he likes it or not.

David Levithan tackles Will Grayson 2 (aka other Will Grayson), a depressed, somewhat loner who fends off the advances of – by default – friend Maura whilst engaging in a long distance online relationship with Isaac, and trying to keep his private life private.

One night, Will 1 heads to Chicago for a concert, Will 2 goes to meet Isaac, and two paths meet.

Will 1 is your typical John Green leading man; smart, funny, charming, and impossible not to find adorable. Will 2 is sharp; insightful, and strong both in mind and emotion. What’s great is that Levithan has created a character who isn’t in the depths of a struggle – as many characters like him would be in typical YA novels – he is accepting of who he is and doesn’t feel the need to justify it to anyone, he just doesn’t feel the need to publicise it as he is self-assured.

This is a fun, humorous, and often insightful novel that explores the ups and downs of finding love, maintaining friendships, and knowing who you are. What’s so great about this novel is that no one is defined by the things that could be used to label them. Yes, Will Grayson 2 has depression but it’s not his story’s focus, it’s just something that is part of who he is. This isn’t a story about depression, homosexuality or issues. These characters know who they are, and it’s about where they are going not what they are.

There isn’t really a great deal that happens in this book, it isn’t about big dramatic moments, it’s much more of an insightful character piece that skilfully shows the reality of life – sometimes the significant moments just happen in small ways, it’s not always dramatic. The authors take us on a journey through a small, but important time in these characters’ lives. It’s touching, funny, and it makes you think. There are some wonderful quotes, and the ending is completely fanciful but it is also fantastic. You feel like Tiny must, just a little triumphant.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson Copyright 2010 John Green and David Levithan. Published by Penguin.
Nerissa is a writer, mummy and rather proud geek living in the countryside. In between playtime, cuddles and fun times she loves to read, knit, bake and write Young Adult and children’s fiction.

Related Posts

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *