Teen Book Reviews
Published on Friday, September 14, 2012 - 2:57pm
Anyone who has been following my monthly book reviews knows that John Green is one of my favorite teen authors. In a previous review, I looked at The Fault In My Stars, his most recent title. Another of my favorite teen authors is David Levithan, who writes stirring GLBTQ fiction that speaks to readers regardless of their sexual orientation. A few years ago, these two authors collaborated on a great book titled Will Grayson, Will Grayson, an amusing look at the coincidences in our everyday lives.
Will Grayson lives in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago. He’s straight, but he has a large gay friend named Tiny Cooper who dominates his life and is wrangling him to help with an autobiographical musical. In Naperville, another Chicago suburb, there lives another Will Grayson, who is gay, clinically depressed and tortured by a difficult home life. Through a series of coincidences, the two meet, and gay Will Grayson ends up dating Tiny. But both of these guys have issues to deal with about themselves and how they relate to others, and they might just break a few hearts before they can set things right.
This story alternates from light and upbeat to mildly depressing, depending on which narrator is in control of the story and what emotional turmoil they are going through. This novel is very intricately plotted; when one of them is up, the other is down, so they balance each other and out and make for an engaging read. Both of the narrators are very complex characters that go through some great character development, but they don’t meet until halfway through the book and their interactions are actually very few.
The main thread linking them is Tiny Cooper, who is quite an unbelievable character, enough to almost be a narrator in his own right. While some elements of the story strain suspension of disbelief (the school and student council sponsor a gay musical filled with cursing and sexual references?) it is very solid overall and focuses on character, leaving homosexuality issues in the background but as an integral part of this story.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is recommended for late teen readers. Check it out along with other books by John Green and David Levithan at your local branch of the DC Public Library today!