Saturday, May 8, 2010

Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

I have never read a book by either author (although I did see the movie of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist), and I will soon be sure to rectify that as I loved this book! I wasn't sure if I would, as it is a story about two teenaged boys in Chicago, both named Will Grayson, one is gay, the other has a gay best friend, who meet at a prom shop, and I just wasn't sure if it was going to be universally relatable, but I wholeheartedly believe that it is. Because that's not what it's about. It's about honesty. And friendship. And love. And taking risks. And letting people in.

Periodically, I would careen to a stop by the emotional impact of a line. Everyone's had difficult friends, friends you don't understand, friends who push you out of your comfort zone. Tiny is one of the best characters I've read in years. I wish I had a friend like him! His good cheer and optimism is contagious. I understand both Will Graysons' frustrations with him, but I am glad he mostly is right. Will Grayson is forced to take an honest look at himself and take some chances that could result in happiness. will grayson learns that having real friends doesn't mean they'll treat you badly, and that honesty really will work out in the end.

The voices are distinct (of course, since each Will is written by Mr. Green or Mr. Levithan), and they're true to teenagers today. IM and texting feature heavily but don't take over the story. The high schools felt very familiar and so do the heart-wrenching heartbreaks. I loved the snarky tone, the sarcasm, the different relationships with parents (who nicely turn out to be pretty nice and normal), the pop-culture references (the made-up bands are hilarious.) I liked Will Grayson better than will grayson, but I suppose that's natural, as a depressive isn't the most sympathetic character compared to a slightly more well-adjusted kid (keyword: slightly).

I wouldn't go back to being a teenager for a million dollars. But it's nice to be able to drop by from time to time, and see that kids are still surviving. I really, really, really want to see Tiny's musical. It sounds fabulous. Some of the song lyrics quotes are surprisingly catchy. And it was both cuttingly accurate and funny to note that all relationships probably can be boiled down to one sentence. I want to go out and swing now. Books that actually inspire me to do things are always excellent. As is Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.


Emidy @ Une Parole said...

This sounds so great! I haven't read any books by either of the authors, too. But I've been meaning to pick up a John Green book. Maybe I'll start with this one!

Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

I've heard so many good things about this book (and Tiny, lol), so can't wait to read it! Awesome review!
I'm from the hop, btw, and I'm your latest follower ;) I'd love it if you could visit my blog sometime.

Julie P. said...

I knew there was going to be a lot of hype surrounding this book, but I'm glad to hear it's all worth it!