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Will Grayson, Will Grayson Kindle Edition
About the Author
Before writing with Andrea, David had never written a novel with a one-word title. His novels include Every Day, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green) and Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn). You can visit David at www.davidlevithan.com and follow his lover's dictionary on Twitter @loversdiction. He lives just outside New York City.
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
A terrific high-energy tale ― Booklist --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B005651R24
- Publisher : Text Publishing (16 May 2010)
- Language : English
- File size : 805 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 245 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 134,267 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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It was a pleasant and easy read, both authors’ styles meshing seamlessly. The kind of wit and character development both men are famed for writing juxtaposes in ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ - even in the alternating points of view from the two Wills. With such an array of colourful and strong cast members, and misunderstanding of the narrator, it brings friendship and loyalty to the forefront.
The storyline was fairly predictable, but the surprises came from the delicate language and inner musings from the main characters – leading opposing perceptions of the central character of Tiny – of whom I feel this novel is really all about. It was also great to see a stereotype deconstructed in an intelligent and sensitive way to uncover the beautiful core of the person underneath.
I don’t want to talk too much about the characters, because in doing so I’d just be listing spoilers, and it is really a great book to read. It’s about people, friendship, and the nature of what we do when they are put to the test. ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ warmed my heart and has a spot in my top ten reads for the year.
The only reason I’m not giving the book a top rating is that I’m not a massive fan of contemporary, and it sometimes lacks that compulsion you get in an exciting and adventurous read. I’d highly recommend you add this book to you collection, it’s funny, and really gets you questioning about values…
Top reviews from other countries
I can't say I wish I hadn't bothered with this book because I did finish it, so clearly something was pulling me in. But in this case, I think it was just a desire for the novel to get better at some point. Unfortunately, it didn't.
The novel is divided into two separate voices, both narrated by a seventeen-year-old boy named Will Grayson. They live within fairly close proximity to one another but attend different schools and lead relatively different lives. Their paths cross in the middle of the book, at which point their lives start to take a turn for the better. At least, I think it's supposed to be for the better. It's never completely clear.
I'll start with John Green's Will Grayson - Will Grayson No. 1 - although there is regrettably very little to say. His main personality trait seems to be that he is indecisive which, as far as personality traits of a protagonist go, does not exactly make for compelling reading. Other reviews have described him as likeable, but I don't think I could pinpoint one distinctive trait or quirk which points to this. I could not even tell you what he looks like, except that he's a white dude with wrinkled clothes. He's described as "not hot" and "annoying", but nonetheless he wins the heart of the novel's token Cool Girl, Jane. Jane already has a boyfriend, who is - and I quote from the novel here - "truly a wonder to behold", a "sculpted, immaculately conceived, rippling hunk" but she would rather go out with Will Grayson No. 1 with his wrinkled jeans because he shows up at her house one night with a question about Schrodinger's Cat, which I believe is supposed to be the 2010 YA novel equivalent of John Cusack holding up a boombox in Say Anything, but without one iota of the charm.
Will Grayson No.1's main issue seems to be that he has a crush on Jane, but also doesn't. He also agonizes over the fact that his best friend, Tiny Cooper, is an unbearable egomaniac who doesn't actually like him very much. This is the sum total of Will Grayson No. 1, and that is not an exaggeration.
Beginning with the first issue: I thought Will's aversion to dating Jane was going to develop into an interesting exploration of aromanticism or asexuality, as he says he just wants to "notice" her without having to actually date her. Unless I missed something significant, though, it turned out to be nothing much deeper than he didn't want her when she was single, but then she got a boyfriend and suddenly he did, because teenagers are fickle or whatever.
Jane is not a convincing romantic interest, but then, Will Grayson is not a convincing hero. Will likes her because she says pretentious things about pretentious bands and they have pretentious, baffling discussions about Schrodinger's Cat (honestly, what was the point of Green's whole Schrodinger spiel? It was like the failed precursor to that sickly-sweet 'Maybe okay will be our always' catchphrase from 'The Fault in Our Stars' that everyone used to write on their school bags). Jane absolutely reeks of Not Like Other Girls Syndrome, in that she is apparently prettier, smarter and funnier than everyone, but she never actually says anything especially smart or funny. Mostly, Will likes Jane because she smiles at him once when Tiny Cooper is passed out on the floor, and Will thinks this smile is nicer than the fake smiles on her Facebook profile. The level of convincing romance is practically tantamount to Pride & Prejudice. Jane also gives Will $100 for a fake ID which he never has to pay her back. Maybe that's why he likes her.
As for the second issue: Will's dilemma with Tiny Cooper is never really resolved. They have been best friends since childhood, but constantly complain about each other. They have a heart-to-heart towards the end of the book, where Tiny tells Will he's difficult and "so self-involved" and Will tells Tiny that "being gay is not an excuse for being a dick" but they make up anyway because, basically, according to John Green, you don't choose your friendships, you just fall into them and get stuck there. Happy days.
Now for David Levithan's Will Grayson - Will Grayson No. 2. Of the two voices, I'd say I preferred this one, but that's like saying I prefer a headache to a migraine. Again, I could not tell you a lot about this Will except that he is simultaneously "wiry" and "adorable", and is usually rude to people around him for no discernible reason.
Will No. 2 struggles with depression, which at times feels like it's used as a tool to justify how awful he is to everybody, including his mother and friends. His mental health issues are never discussed on any intricate level, rather they just feel like background noise to justify the horrible things he says and does, and to explain away his constant self-loathing and desire to "kill everyone" around him. Maybe Levithan was just trying to get that moody teenager vibe down, but the discussion of depression felt at times clumsy and somewhat insensitive.
This Will is also beginning to explore his sexuality. This could have been interesting, but the discussion surrounding it is just downright confusing. He shows evidence of internalised homophobia, describing his French teacher as a "sadistic loser" who gives them "gay projects". He tells Tiny Cooper "I don't like gay people", before proceeding to make out with him on a bench and become his boyfriend. When later in the novel Will comes out to his mother and subsequently his whole school, he does so in a very defiant, confident way, which could be very inspiring were it not for the constant mixed messaging over how Will actually feels about his sexuality. He says he's "not really that gay" because he doesn't like Madonna. He describes kissing a girl at a party (apparently, he's a loner and a loser but he gets invited to parties anyway) as "actually hot" and says "hands are hands, and touch is touch, and your body's going to react the way your body's going to react." Honestly, if I didn't know Levithan were a gay author, I would think a heterosexual male had written that.
Meanwhile, he makes consistently awful, derogatory comments about his actual boyfriend, focusing mainly on Tiny's size which - make no doubt about it, kids! - is absolutely immense, and neither author wants you to forget it. Will No. 2 says it's "sick" that he finds Tiny attractive, and compares the attraction to seeing an aesthetically pleasing baby (I am not making this up). He calls Tiny "as big as a house", a "big blob of humanity" and is surprised that he doesn't feel "repulsion" when he's with him. Seriously, is this supposed to be the romantic partnership we're rooting for? If this novel is intended to spark joy and pride in young gay teens - particularly those exploring their sexuality for the first time themselves - it completely misses the mark. At one point, Will No. 2 laments that he never asked to be gay, as if we could not already tell that from his constant disparaging remarks about the only boy who shows genuine interest in him.
The two characters' lives converge in the middle of the story. Will Grayson No. 1 is ditched by his wonderful friends, Tiny and the Uh-mazing Jane, to go to a concert that he can't get into because he's underage (his "best friend" Tiny is not sympathetic, and just laughs at him), while Will Grayson No. 2 is meeting up with Isaac, who does not exist and is a fabrication of his sociopathic friend Maura. I read somewhere that Levithan and Green wanted the meeting of the Wills to be life-changing, but their conversation is lukewarm at best, and the only thing I can give the scene credit for is 1) the amusing location in which they meet and 2) the surprisingly inventive way in which they discover they're both named Will Grayson. Life-changing the exchange is not. All it results in is a brief relationship between the completely incompatible Tiny Cooper and Will Grayson No. 2, and Will Grayson No. 1 buying a Spanish porn magazine which he then leaves on the roadside like an uncivilised fly-tipper.
Finally, we must discuss Tiny Cooper. What a strange, confusing character. While he has occasional bouts of likeability, he is mostly nauseating, and the novel is constantly trying to drive home this idea that Tiny is some Messianic figure who brings people together, when actually he's just an overbearing meddler. He spends the entire novel putting on a production of a musical about himself, in which apparently no school staff are involved but for which student council have granted him a thousand dollars' worth of funding. At first, it seems this musical is all about Tiny's ego, but then - no! Wait! It's actually about Tiny's love for people - and then, oh, no. By the end, it's revealed that actually, yes, the musical was all about Tiny's ego. Maybe my school was just vanilla with its bog-standard productions of Oliver! and The Sound of Music, but I just want to take a moment to ask in what world would a school approve and fund a musical written, directed and performed by a pupil, whose sole subject matter is that one specific pupil and his string of dull white male friends and exes? Tiny is also a star football player, but apparently has time to orchestrate this musical single-handedly, because, you know, why bother exploring anything in a novel that isn't surface level teen romance?
The rest of the book's characters are similarly vapid, and seem to serve no real purpose beyond driving convenient plot points. Gary, Nick? Who are these people, and what kind of teenager is called Gary? Derek, Simon? We don't even get physical descriptions. I'm not asking for Wuthering Heights, but just a hair colour would be nice. Maura is vindictive and cruel, but gets no comeuppance and instead actually gets an apology from Will No. 2. Mind-boggling. Gideon was sweet and would have been a more satisfactory love interest for Will No. 2, but he gets about three lines of dialogue. Will No. 1's parents are surgeons so they're presumably intelligent people, but they just come across as pretty boring and absent, his mother simply reduced to a catchphrase ("back by eleven"). Will No. 2's mom is probably the most interesting character in the book, and the scene where Tiny gifts her a glass bowl is quite touching. I'd rather read about her girls' poker nights than any of this sorry lot of mopey, pretentious teenagers.
All in all, was this the worst YA LGBT book I've ever read? Probably not, but when there's a plethora of realistic, original, heart-warming alternatives, I'd give this one a solid miss. Even Becky Albertalli's sugary tidbits 'Love, Simon' and 'Leah on the Offbeat' were more tolerable than this, but for truly decent LGBT focused YA books, I would recommend 'Release' by Patrick Ness, and most of Adam Silvera's work. They, at least, can pen likeable characters who are neither ashamed nor resentful of their sexuality.
I didn't mind the lower-case formatting of Will No. 2's chapters as much as other reviewers seem to. Occasionally, I misread a comma as a full stop or vice versa, but that was about the only issue. I also think it's quite obvious that the alternating chapters are voiced by different characters, and you only have to read the brief blurb to be aware of this, so I don't think this is a fair criticism.
The two stars are for the fact it has quick, easy-to-read chapters (definitely something you could read on an aeroplane) and one of Tiny's text conversations with Will No. 2 made me chuckle. These are not compelling enough reasons to read this book.
So what can I say about this book? It's certainly different and the fact that their are two authors and two voices (the book is written from the perspective of both Will Grayson and the other Will Grayson!) is quite appealling. After reading Departure by A.G Riddle I was quite taken with this concept and this book delivers it in a thoughtful comic style. The characters are huge (in more ways than one) and they keep you interested in the unfolding storyline of how teenagers are thrown into the world confused and lost.
It certainly is a page turner. Both characters pretty much have nothing in common other than their name and their inability to meet a significant other. I was really looking forward to their meeting and read as fast as I could to get there. The inventive and unbelievably funny way this happens is endearing and reflective of how the book progresses. I'd certainly recommend this book to anyone, irrespective of their favoured genre and it is certainly a departure from the norm.
The story, told in turns by Will and Will, follows events leading up to Tiny's school stage musical production, and involves his many love affairs, most of which are of very short duration, and his search for love and truth. In fact the novel is all very much about love and truth.
Will Grayson X 2 is a really entertaining read, frequently very funny, yet sometimes thought provoking; it steadily builds to what we are sure must be a grand finale, and we will not disappointed, but that is not to say that we will not be surprised - and for that we have to wait to the very end.
That being said, compared to the rest of Green's works, this one is probably my least favourite. It's hard to develop dimensional and intriguing characters when every chapter is written differently. I guess, by its nature, this book can't be consistent, and that's something you either love or don't. I didn't, particularly.
If you're a fan of either of these authors' works - I suggest you pick up Will Grayson, Will Grayson. You will laugh, maybe even get tears in your eyes. But if this is your first introduction (to John Green, at least) I'd advise you to pick up one of his other works first. Particularly Looking for Alaska or The Fault in our Stars! They show off much better what he's capable of.