Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

will grayson will grayson cover

Will Grayson is a teenager, one who is desperate not to be noticed in life. However, the world has other plans for him. His best friend, the friend he is shackled to in life and cannot get rid of is Tiny Cooper, an absolutely massive, loud, and proud homosexual football player. Recently he has gotten involved with the Gay Straight Alliance, which has widened his friend pool, distinctly leaving Will at the periphery of it. Through the GSA, Will meets Jane, Nick, and a few more friends. He is not particularly sure if he likes Jane or not, but the two bond over their mutual enjoyment of Neutral Milk Hotel, a band. Tiny is forever falling in and out of love, and with no exception, the trio goes out. Tiny gets totally smashed, and Jane and Will are left to get him home and safe without alerting his parents. Over his inert passed out body, Will notices that Jane is, in actual fact, really beautiful when she smiles. He does and does not like her, and the situation is exacerbated when Tiny tries to hook them up together. Jane feels a little embarrassed when she tries to kiss Will, who rejects her. Their relationship is complicated, and Will needs to decide whether or not he likes her. Tiny, on the other hand, is making invisibility really difficult for Will when he decides to have his  life’s story, his musical, Tiny Dancer, a reality this year.

will grayson is a depressed teenager. He is lonely, angry, bitter, and doing his best not to feel anything, though he is always inundated with emotions, really. He is a homosexual that is trying to come to terms with that, though to keep it hidden from everyone. will has fallen in love with a boy he met online named Isaac, someone who understands him, someone he identifies with. will is not sure that they will ever meet, but he is completely bonkers for Isaac. will is a total outsider, with his only actual “friend” so to speak being a goth girl named Maura at his school, who seems to really be interested in him, though naturally he is not reciprocating those feelings, being homosexual and all. Maura seems to get stuck on cross questioning will about his sexuality, which makes him uncomfortable, and he is desperate to be with and meet Isaac. One night, while chatting with Isaac, it is established that it is time they meet. will is thrilled and simply cannot wait. They agree to meet at Frenchy’s in Chicago, and will makes the arrangements with Isaac, spins his mother a story and gets Maura to cover for him with the mathletes.

In Chicago, both Will Graysons are about to meet, having a serious impact on their lives. Will 1 is angry because his fake ID was useless, so he cannot watch the band Maybe Dead Cats with Jane and Tiny, who leave him and go anyway. Will 1 arranged with the band to dedicate Jane’s favourite song to her using her locker combination. Trying to salvage the night and find a joke out of it, Will 1 goes to Frenchy’s, the porn store. Soon after he meets will 2 in there, who is surprised to find they share the same name. Heading out, Will 1 and will 2 sit in the streets, where will 2 is called by Maura. She confides in him that she is Isaac, and that it was all a joke. It seem that will 2 is about to have a melt down, and Will 1 gets Tiny Cooper out there, who spends some time with Will 2. Will 1 and Jane get to talking, and Will 1 is sure that he wants her, though he is peeved with Tiny because Jane is back with her ex-boyfriend, and Will 1 cannot have her anymore. In “typical male fashion”, he wants what he cannot have. Tiny and will 2 enter into a relationship together, so will 2’s life is not completely wrecked, though his friendship with Maura is. Going home, will 2 confesses to his mother that he is gay, and she accepts it. It becomes a thing at school when will 2 also comes out, and he befriends Gideon, another gay guy at school. Tiny’s production is in full swing, too, and he and Will 1 are having a few issues with each other.

Will Tiny’s play become a reality? Will his and will 2’s relationship work? Why did Maura do the things she did? Will will 2 ever let her explain herself? Will Will 1 and Jane ever get their issues sorted?

GRADE 8Elina said this was her favourite Green novel, so I had to check it out (you know me, taking recommendations and all, even if it takes me a while to get to them). I must say, I knew it involved two Will Graysons coming across each other, but I had no idea how this premise was going to be made interesting. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with it. Again a quick read, but interesting as hell. I thought Maura was the biggest bitch of all time, and there is no excusing what she did. Knowing young gay teens and having met a few while I was still in my teens, I know that they deal with some heavy things and how big an issue coming out is for most of them. I have witnessed the ridiculous persecution they are subjected to, as well as the senseless rejection from parents and peers alike. I think it is so unnecessary, and thought that the authors captured that well. Not that that is the only central theme or anything, but I found it to be an important one. I almost had a stroke when I started chapter two and everything was in lower case, dialogue was strange, no inflection was insinuated or described, and I was thinking I had to get through a whole batch of chapters written like that. I thought the world was going to end. Odd chapters written as Will Grayson 1 and the correct style of writing, even numbers all written as will grayson 2, all lower case and sad. But in the end it is a stroke of genius. I can completely understand why it was written that way. Besides showing the differences between which Will we are dealing with, it also shows will grayson 2’s attitude, feelings, and perceptions. It really pushed the truth of his personality home, his sense of worthlessness, depression and loneliness, how much he thought of himself, etc. I thought that it played out very well. This book is focused on teenagers, and there were a few seconds of thinking what a bunch of whiny bastards they all are, but that is addressed, and relatively quickly. Again, there are lessons to be learned, characters to enjoy, situations to sink your teeth into and all of that. I thought that this was a fantastic pairing up between the authors, and that it was a great book for them, and definitely an enjoyable read. I am a fan of John Green, no two ways about it. I have read enough to know that he is really talented. His style makes me laugh, makes me sad, makes me identify. He writes well. This book was no exception, what with Levithan and Green managing to convey a whole array of emotions and feelings, from something hilarious, to something we all understand, to rejection, fear, exasperation… the whole spectrum is laid bare here. I would certainly recommend Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

12 thoughts on “Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

  1. I am SO glad you liked it! I’m reading another Levithan novel right now (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) and I’m really falling in love with his writing.

    The two Wills are so different, and what you said about will is absolutely true — the writing style conveys his depression uniquely well. Green wrote Will and Levithan wrote will, and they both agreed to write two chapters without knowing anything about what the other wrote, and they discovered it fits together interestingly, so they did it. I’m so glad they did, too, because that book was what really brought YA fiction to life for me.

    Oh, and by the way, I loved Tiny, even though I never expected to! He was such a great person. And his relationship with will (both Wills actually) was such a lovely thing.

    All in all — glad you read it, even more glad you liked it!


    1. You reckon I should look into some of his other work?

      They are POLAR opposites, and that is something I really like! I read that they had no idea and then it just came together as perfectly as it did, that was really cool!

      Tiny was so sweet, I thoroughly enjoyed him! The way he was introduced and described made it sound like he was supposed to be a pain in the ass, and instead he was just an absolute joy to read about! He was really cool, and he was so completely different with each Will, showing us different sides of him altogether. Like how conscientious he was when he went to see will and his mother for dinner? Wow. He impressed me endlessly there.

      🙂 Thank YOU for the recommendation! I think I only have one Green book left to read now!


    1. I am almost done with Paper Towns, which I started last night. It is alright, but definitely not his best work. Too much unbelievable and weird stuff in this one. Probably my least favourite of all his books (and I will have read them all when I am through this one). Will Grayson, Will Grayson, however, was a really good one, very entertaining! Thanks!


  2. Great review!! This sounds very fascinating. And similar to this one book I read fairly recently, a thing called ‘Being Written.’ The main character is having his life story written out. And it’s written from the second-person. It’s one of the more original books I’ve ever read (not that THAT’S saying much lol). I believe the author is Williem Conescu. I recommend.

    I’ll be honest, for a while I was thrown by you lower-casing ‘will’ in the paragraphs following your opening one. haha and then I finally caught on. That does sound like a stroke of genius. I’ll seriously look into this one.


    1. Thanks a lot Tom! Alright, I have officially put “Being Written” onto my reading list, thank you very much for the recommendation.

      Bwahaha, yeah I felt TERRIBLE having to write it like that, my inner Grammar Nazi was having a stroke, but there is method to the madness. I would recommend this book, it is a sold read! Let me know what you think about it if you ever do!


  3. My Sweetest JB,

    I tried to read that book I told you about on the plane back and forth from Mexico. It was “sporadically” entertaining but not engaging enough to finish. 😦 This sounds much better.




    1. SC,

      I freaking hate it when book roll around and kick you in the teeth like that. PFFFFFFFFFF. This one, however, was very entertaining.



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