Friday, May 7, 2010

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

Times have changed...and so has the state of young adult fiction. I can say unequivocally that a book like the fantastic Will Grayson, Will Grayson didn't exist when I was younger, but then again, very few young adult books were even written for boys, let alone books with gay characters in them. (Heaven forbid!)

High school student Will Grayson is struggling to survive without making waves. Of course, given that his best friend is the very large—and very out—"Tiny" Cooper, avoiding making waves isn't too easy. He is attracted to his friend Jane, but is afraid to let her know or act on his feelings because it lessens the risk of getting hurt. But as the high school gears up for the performance of Tiny's autobiographical musical, Tiny Dancer (possibly the gayest musical ever), Will feels everything unraveling. And then one night, in the strangest of places, he meets another high school student, also named Will Grayson, who has come to meet a guy he has been chatting with over the internet. But the "other" Will Grayson's life is far more complicated.

I absolutely loved this book. Narrated in alternating chapters by each Will Grayson, the story is funny, heartbreaking, hopeful and ultimately, amazingly memorable. It looks at relationships (romantic, platonic, even those with your parents), struggling to be happy, struggling with unhappiness, fear of rejection and breaking out of your shell, without ever being preachy or cloying. I read the entire book in one day and immediately fell in love with the characters. If I had any criticism, it's that I finished the book too quickly. I'd love to know what happened to the characters after the story ended.

I only wish I had people like this—and books like this—in my life when I was growing up. Things might have been a little easier...

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