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“Will Grayson, Will Grayson” – John Green and David Levithan

Ok, so by now it’s probably no secret that I’m an avid John Green Fan. Since I finished reading The Fault in Our Stars, and Looking For Alaska, I decided to continue working my way through John Green’s back catalog and see what other gems I’ve missed out on in my semi-sheltered life.

The most recent John Green novel that I read was Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which I was terribly excited about. Not just because it was a John Green novel, but because it was a John Green and David Levithan novel. Unbeknownst to me, my two favourite Young Adult Fiction authors had teamed up and created this little piece of writing.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is about two boys named (yep, you guessed it) Will Grayson. Despite sharing the same name, both boys are completely different from one another; almost polar opposites. By coincidence, they happen to meet each other in a rather awkward situation whilst both in Chicago. From that night on their lives slowly begin to intertwine thanks to Tiny Cooper and his biggest Musical ever! What one Will lacks, the other provides and as the story progresses we begin to see that perhaps the two Will Graysons are not as different as we originally thought.

This book is largely focused on teenage homosexuality, and all the drama that comes along with being a young gay male in this current day and age. While one Will Grayson is gay, the other is straight but they each have their own trials and tribulations to deal with when it comes to their respective love lives. When Tiny Cooper becomes the meat in a Will Grayson sandwich, things start to get complicated for everyone. Tiny and both Will Graysons learn that there’s a very fine line when it comes to balancing relationships and friendships and that when one side of the line flourishes, the other tends to diminish.

I didn’t get into this book as much as I hoped I would. I still enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t grab my attention as much as other John Green and David Levithan novels had. I might also add that this has absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter – I am not a homophobic person, so that aspect of the story didn’t affect me at all. It was more the fact that the story was focused around Tiny Cooper rather than the Will Graysons. I would have loved to explore their respective characters more closely and get to know a bit more about their lives, rather than have the majority of the novel focused on Tiny’s musical.

I understand that Tiny is the character than connects the otherwise separate Will Graysons, but I wanted their accidental meeting to result in a bit more than a brief romantic encounter and yet another heartbreak. I wanted both Will Graysons to learn something from each other’s lives, rather than communicate through a series of awkward online chat conversations and the occasional (and desperate) phone call. Tiny Cooper is a BIG character in terms of personality, and I feel as though his personality kind of overshadowed both Will Graysons. Whether or not that was I conscious decision by the authors, I know not.

One of my favourite quotes from this novel though was this: “When things break, it’s not the actual breaking that prevents them from getting back together again. It’s because a little piece gets lost – the two remaining ends couldn’t fit together even if they wanted to. The whole shape has changed.”

Perhaps this novel will grow on me if I take the time to read it a second and third time like I did with other John Green and David Levithan novels. Until then though, I’ll keep my rating as below:

Overall rating: 3.5/5

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