Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green (MOBI)

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Ebook Info

  • Published: 2011
  • Number of pages: 310 pages
  • Format: MOBI
  • File Size: 0.36 MB
  • Authors: John Green

Description

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage. Told in alternating voices from two YA superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans.

User’s Reviews

Editorial Reviews: Review A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice An ALA Stonewall Honor Book “Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a complete romp. [It is] so funny, rude and original that by the time flowers hit the stage, even the musical-averse will cheer.” —The New York Times Book Review ê“Will have readers simultaneously laughing, crying and singing at the top of their lungs.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review “It is such a good book. [Green and Levithan] are two of the best writers writing today.” —NPR’s The Roundtable “A brilliant novel.” —The Seattle Times “A winning combination infused with wit, sarcasm, and plenty of musical references.” —Chicago Tribune “A moving novel when it comes to the matters of the heart.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune “One of the best books of the year.” —Bookpage “A hilarious collaboration between superstar authors.” —The Daily Beast ê“A terrific high-energy tale of teen love, lust, intrigue, anger, pain, and friendship threaded with generous measures of comedy and savvy counsel.” —Booklist, starred review “Entertaining . . . produces all the euphoria of an actual musical; readers will be on their feet.” —The Horn Book “Irresistibly funny, insistently wise, and filled with the honest power of friendship.” —The Wichita Eagle “This may well be the best novel that either John Green or David Levithan has ever written. Inventive and insightful.” —Shelf Awareness “This novel as serious buzz.´—EntertainmentWeekly.com ê“Powerful, thought-provoking, funny, moving, and unique.” —SLJ, starred review “Original idea, well-written, humorous, touching . . . a great read.” —Outsmart About the Author John Green is the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan), and The Fault in Our Stars. His many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. He has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. John was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers (youtube.com/vlogbrothers), one of the most popular online video projects in the world. You can join the millions who follow John on Twitter (@johngreen) and tumblr (fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com) or visit him online at johngreenbooks.com. John lives with his family in Indianapolis, Indiana. David Levithan is an award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of many books for teens, including Boy Meets Boy, Wide Awake, Love Is the Higher Law, and (with Rachel Cohn) Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. He also works as an editor and, in his free time, takes way too many pictures. He lives in New Jersey. www.davidlevithan.com Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Table of Contents Title PageCopyright PageDedication chapter onechapter twochapter threechapter fourchapter fivechapter sixchapter sevenchapter eightchapter ninechapter tenchapter elevenchapter twelvechapter thirteenchapter fourteenchapter fifteenchapter sixteenchapter seventeenchapter eighteenchapter ninteenchapter twenty AcknowledgementsDUTTON BOOKSA member of Penguin Books (USA) Inc. Published by the Penguin Group | Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. | Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) | Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England | Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) | Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) | Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India | Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) | Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa | Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Copyright © 2010 by John Green and David Levithan All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content. CIP Data is available. Published in the United States by Dutton Books,a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014www.penguin.com/youngreaders ISBN: 9781101222997To David Leventhal (for being so close)—DL To Tobias Huisman—JGchapter one When I was little, my dad used to tell me, “Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.” This seemed like a reasonably astute observation to me when I was eight, but it turns out to be incorrect on a few levels. To begin with, you cannot possibly pick your friends, or else I never would have ended up with Tiny Cooper.Tiny Cooper is not the world’s gayest person, and he is not the world’s largest person, but I believe he may be the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large. Tiny has been my best friend since fifth grade, except for all last semester, when he was busy discovering the sheer scope of his own gayness, and I was busy having an actual honest-to-God Group of Friends for the first time in my life, who ended up Never Talking to Me Again due to two slight transgressions:1. After some school-board member got all upset about gays in the locker room, I defended Tiny Cooper’s right to be both gigantic (and, therefore, the best member of our shitty football team’s offensive line) and gay in a letter to the school newspaper that I, stupidly, signed.2. This guy in the Group of Friends named Clint was talking about the letter at lunch, and in the process of talking about it, he called me a bitchsquealer, and I didn’t know what a bitchsquealer was, so I was like, “What do you mean?” And then he called me a bitchsquealer again, at which point I told Clint to fuck off and then took my tray and left.Which I guess means that technically I left the Group of Friends, although it felt the other way around. Honestly, none of them ever seemed to like me, but they were around, which isn’t nothing. And now they aren’t around, leaving me utterly bereft of social peers.Unless you count Tiny, that is. Which I suppose I must. Andbutso a few weeks after we get back from Christmas break our junior year, I’m sitting in my Assigned Seat in precalc when Tiny waltzes in wearing his jersey tucked into his chinos, even though football season is long over. Every day, Tiny miraculously manages to wedge himself into the chair-desk beside mine in precalc, and every day, I am amazed he can do it.So Tiny squeezes into his chair, I am duly amazed, and then he turns to me and he whispers really loudly because secretly he wants other people to hear, “I’m in love.” I roll my eyes, because he falls in love every hour on the hour with some poor new boy. They all look the same: skinny and sweaty and tan, the last an abomination, because all February tans in Chicago are fake, and boys who fake tan—I don’t care whether they’re gay—are ridiculous.“You’re so cynical,” Tiny says, waving his hand at me.“I’m not cynical, Tiny,” I answer. “I’m practical.”“You’re a robot,” he says. Tiny thinks that I am incapable of what humans call emotion because I have not cried since my seventh birthday, when I saw the movie All Dogs Go to Heaven. I suppose I should have known from the title that it wouldn’t end merrily, but in my defense, I was seven. Anyway, I haven’t cried since then. I don’t really understand the point of crying. Also, I feel that crying is almost—like, aside from deaths of relatives or whatever—totally avoidable if you follow two very simple rules: 1. Don’t care too much. 2. Shut up. Everything unfortunate that has ever happened to me has stemmed from failure to follow one of the rules.“I know love is real because I feel it,” Tiny says.Apparently, class has started without our knowing, because Mr. Applebaum, who is ostensibly teaching us precalculus but is mostly teaching me that pain and suffering must be endured stoically, says, “You feel what, Tiny?”“Love!” says Tiny. “I feel love.” And everyone turns around and either laughs or groans at Tiny, and because I’m sitting next to him and he’s my best and only friend, they’re laughing and groaning at me, too, which is precisely why I would not choose Tiny Cooper as my friend. He draws too much attention. Also, he has a pathological inability to follow either of my two rules. And so he waltzes around, caring too much and ceaselessly talking, and then he’s baffled when the world craps on him. And, of course, due to sheer proximity, this means the world craps on me, too.After class, I’m staring into my locker, wondering how I managed to leave The Scarlet Letter at home, when Tiny comes up with his Gay-Straight Alliance friends Gary (who is gay) and Jane (who may or may not be—I’ve never asked), and Tiny says to me, “Apparently, everyone thinks I professed my love for you in precalc. Me in love with Will Grayson. Isn’t that the silliest crap you ever heard?”“Great,” I say.“People are just such idiots,” Tiny says. “As if there’s something wrong with being in love.”Gary groans then. If you could pick your friends, I’d consider Gary. Tiny got close with Gary and Jane and Gary’s boyfriend, Nick, when he joined the GSA during my tenure as a member of the Group of Friends. I barely know Gary, since I’ve only been hanging around Tiny again for about two weeks, but he seems like the normalest person Tiny has ever befriended.“There’s a difference,” Gary points out, “between being in love and announcing it in precalc.” Tiny starts to talk and Gary cuts him off. “I mean, don’t get me wrong. You have every right to love Zach.”“Billy,” says Tiny.“Wait, what happened to Zach?” I ask, because I could have sworn Tiny was in love with a Zach during precalc. But forty-seven minutes have passed since his proclamation, so maybe he’s changed gears. Tiny has had about 3,900 boyfriends—half of them Internet-only.Gary, who seems as flummoxed by the emergence of Billy as I am, leans against the lockers and bangs his head softly against the steel. “Tiny, you being a makeout whore is so not good for the cause.”I look way up at Tiny and say, “Can we quell the rumors of our love? It hurts my chances with the ladies.”“Calling them ‘the ladies’ doesn’t help either,” Jane tells me.Tiny laughs. “But seriously,” I tell him, “I always catch shit about it.” Tiny looks at me seriously for once and nods a little.“Although for the record,” Gary says, “you could do worse than Will Grayson.”“And he has,” I note.Tiny spins in a balletic pirouette out into the middle of the hallway and, laughing, shouts, “Dear World, I am not hot for Will Grayson. But world, there’s something else you should know about Will Grayson.” And then he begins to sing, a Broadway baritone as big as his waist, “I can’t live without him!”People laugh and whoop and clap as Tiny continues the serenade while I walk off to English. It’s a long walk, and it only gets longer when someone stops you and asks how it feels to be sodomized by Tiny Cooper, and how you find Tiny Cooper’s “gay little pencil prick” behind his fat belly. I respond the way I always do: by looking down and walking straight and fast. I know they’re kidding. I know part of knowing someone is being mean to them or whatever. Tiny always has some brilliant thing to say back, like, “For someone who theoretically doesn’t want me, you sure spend a lot of time thinking and talking about my penis.” Maybe that works for Tiny, but it never works for me. Shutting up works. Following the rules works. So I shut up, and I don’t care, and I keep walking, and soon it’s over.The last time I said anything of note was the time I wrote the fricking letter to the editor about fricking Tiny Cooper and his fricking right to be a fricking star on our horrible football team. I don’t regret writing the letter in the least, but I regret signing it. Signing it was a clear violation of the rule about shutting up, and look where it got me: alone on a Tuesday afternoon, staring at my black Chuck Taylors. That night, not long after I order pizza for me and my parents, who are—as always—late at the hospital, Tiny Cooper calls me and, real quiet and fast, he blurts out, “Neutral Milk Hotel is supposedly playing a reunion show at the Hideout and it’s totally not advertised and no one even knows about it and holy shit, Grayson, holy shit!”“Holy shit!” I shout. One thing you can say for Tiny: whenever something awesome happens, Tiny is always the first to hear.Now, I am not generally given over to excitement, but Neutral Milk Hotel sort of changed my life. They released this absolutely fantastic album called In the Aeroplane Over the Sea in 1998 and haven’t been heard from since, purportedly because their lead singer lives in a cave in New Zealand. But anyway, he’s a genius. “When?”“Dunno. I just heard. I’m gonna call Jane, too. She likes them almost as much as you do. Okay, so now. Now. Let’s go to the Hideout now.”“I’m literally on my way,” I answer, opening the door to the garage. I call my mom from the car. I tell her Neutral Milk Hotel is playing at the Hideout and she says, “Who? What? You’re hiding out?” And then I hum a few bars of one of their songs and Mom says, “Oh, I know that song. It’s on the mix you made me,” and I say, “Right,” and she says, “Well you have to be back by eleven,” and I say, “Mom this is a historical event. History doesn’t have a curfew,” and she says, “Back by eleven,” and I say, “Fine. Jesus,” and then she has to go cut cancer out of someone.Tiny Cooper lives in a mansion with the world’s richest parents. I don’t think either of his parents have jobs, but they are so disgustingly rich that Tiny Cooper doesn’t even live in the mansion; he lives in the mansion’s coach house, all by himself. He has three bedrooms in that motherfucker and a fridge that always has beer in it and his parents never bother him, and so we can sit there all day and play video game football and drink Miller Lite, except in point of fact Tiny hates video games and I hate drinking beer, so mostly all we ever do is play darts (he has a dartboard) and listen to music and talk and study. I’ve just started to say the T in Tiny when he comes running out of his room, one black leather loafer on and the other in his hand, shouting, “Go, Grayson, go go.”And everything goes perfectly on the way there. Traffic’s not too bad on Sheridan, and I’m cornering the car like it’s the Indy 500, and we’re listening to my favorite NMH song, “Holland, 1945,” and then onto Lake Shore Drive, the waves of Lake Michigan crashing against the boulders by the Drive, the windows cracked to get the car to defrost, the dirty, bracing, cold air rushing in, and I love the way Chicago smells—Chicago is brackish lake water and soot and sweat and grease and I love it, and I love this song, and Tiny’s saying I love this song, and he’s got the visor down so he can muss up his hair a little more expertly. That gets me to thinking that Neutral Milk Hotel is going to see me just as surely as I’m going to see them, so I give myself a once-over in the rearview. My face seems too square and my eyes too big, like I’m perpetually surprised, but there’s nothing wrong with me that I can fix. The Hideout is a dive bar made of wooden planks that’s nestled between a factory and some Department of Transportation building. There’s nothing swank about it, but there’s a line out the door even though it’s only seven. So I huddle in line for a while with Tiny until Gary and Possibly Gay Jane show up.Jane’s wearing a hand-scrawled Neutral Milk Hotel v-neck T-shirt under her open coat. Jane showed up in Tiny’s life around the time I dropped out of it, so we don’t really know each other. Still, I’d say she’s currently about my fourth-best friend, and apparently she has good taste in music. Read more

Reviews from Amazon users which were colected at the time this book was published on the website:

⭐This was a really great read, it was incredibly heartfelt and despite some crazy situations it was still very down to earth. One thing this book had going for it was the way it was written in alternating voices. The authors, Green and Levithan, each took turns writing from the point of view of their respective Will Graysons. And they wrote the characters in completely different ways, the way the chapters are written corresponds with and highlights the differences between the two Will’s.The characters themselves were amazingly easy to understand. Even though I couldn’t actually relate to any of the situations they were in I still felt like the feelings were conveyed really well. The depression one of the Will’s suffers was explained very realistically in the book and was handled in a way I haven’t seen in many books before. He isn’t discovering his depression, he’s just at the point where he’s living with it and it isn’t romanticized. The other Will is going through problems with his love life (with Jane) and his friendship (with Tiny). I connected really well with the problems he was facing with Tiny and I felt it was solved in a wonderfully touching way.Overall I read this book in only a few hours, so it was a pretty quick read for me. I just didn’t want to put it down. It was incredibly funny to the point where i actually was laughing out loud and by the end I had cried at least once. I would recommend this to most readers as a great book about love and friendship.

⭐Wow. Again just wow. I laughed. I cried. I got it. I will admit I was a bit uneasy about reading about a homosexual relationship. I don’t have a problem with it, but I thought I just preferred to not read about. That is until will grayson (lack of capitals is the stylistic distinguishing factor between the two Wills) meets Tiny and describes falling in love or better said, feels the hope, compassion and understanding shining out of Tiny. This was one of the most beautiful falling in love scenes I’ve read. I’m getting really tired of the only reason two characters in YA books fall in love is because of fate. In fact on p.47 Will Grayson describes the little, inexplicable things that make you fall in love and I noted “Here we see why someone falls in love. It’s not just fate.”Tiny is an unforgettable character and though I hate mentioning role models to be found in fiction, he is indeed one: a fabulously gay character who is pretty much ok with himself but not without some self-doubt. He has a heart as big as his body and maybe even bigger. Everybody, adult or teen, could learn from him.I have read all John Green books in the past two months. This one I didn’t immediately jump on because I don’t usually like books written by two authors. This is one of the rare instances where this trick works. Admittedly I did for the most part prefer the Green chapters but the Levathon chapters, particularly at the end, also shine.As an adult reader, English teacher and mother of teens I want to address suitability issues. As always parents should read and discuss any book their teens are interested in. This book is in no way sexually explicit. There are some kisses, both straight and gay though in neither case is there any extravagant description. It focuses more on the emotions felt by the characters. There are a few instances of f words. There is mention of masturbation. These characters, as are true of all Green characters, are very realistic and strong language and masturbation are real aspects of teen life, but if you don’t want your teen to read about, you have been warned. The main theme of the book is love in any form: gay, straight, parent, child, friend. Tiny’s speech at the end of his musical, though a little cheesy, is very real and realistic.

⭐I have loved John Green’s books since “An Abundance of Katherines.” He had a little help with this novel as David Levithan wrote half the book. They alternate chapters, each with a different Will Grayson. Green takes the odd numbered chapters and Levithan writes the even numbered chapters. Their Will Graysons are different yet similar as they are both teenage boys living in Chicago and dealing with the usual teenager angst. Levithan’s Grayson; however, is very depressed and in the beginning a little too emo for me but eventually I came around to liking him. Green’s Grayson was an immediate favorite although he was overshadowed by his best friend, Tiny Cooper. Tiny is the true star of this novel. Tiny is huge, gay and over the top in everything. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Tiny as does everyone.Green’s Grayson has two rules: 1) Don’t care too much and 2) Shut up. Both of these are really hard to live by and have Tiny has your best friend. Levithan’s Grayson goes through life seeing it as nothing good ever happens in his life, except when he meets a boy online named Isaac. Then one night the two Will Graysons meet and their worlds collide. Things begin to happen to both Will Graysons that are unexpected and delightful. It was a wonderful book and I finished it in one night. I wish I hadn’t now because I want to hear more about Tiny’s life and adventures.Highly recommended.

⭐From the 11-year-old reader: Will Grayson and the other Will Grayson are incredibly different. Each of them tells a story that is wonderful to read about. They end up together in one of the weirdest ways — you’ll never expect it. There’s also a play within this book. The songs are well-written, along with the play. I recommend this book if you are looking for some wildly weird jokes, some emotional moments and a play about the tallest guy in the school (who does NOT like “Over the Rainbow”.)

⭐I have not read any of John Green’s work prior to this, mostly because I had read reviews which indicated an inclination towards contrived wit and overly intellectual voices for his weirdly self-aware teenager characters. However I am familiar with and interested in LGBT fiction which is why I gave this a go. I have not read anything by David Levithan either, however as he is a gay author I felt confident that he would be able to deliver a convincing LGBT voice, even if John Green – lauded for his endless focus on wistful, dreamy heterosexual teenagers – might not.I can’t say I wish I hadn’t bothered with this book because I did finish it, so clearly something was pulling me in. But in this case, I think it was just a desire for the novel to get better at some point. Unfortunately, it didn’t.The novel is divided into two separate voices, both narrated by a seventeen-year-old boy named Will Grayson. They live within fairly close proximity to one another but attend different schools and lead relatively different lives. Their paths cross in the middle of the book, at which point their lives start to take a turn for the better. At least, I think it’s supposed to be for the better. It’s never completely clear.I’ll start with John Green’s Will Grayson – Will Grayson No. 1 – although there is regrettably very little to say. His main personality trait seems to be that he is indecisive which, as far as personality traits of a protagonist go, does not exactly make for compelling reading. Other reviews have described him as likeable, but I don’t think I could pinpoint one distinctive trait or quirk which points to this. I could not even tell you what he looks like, except that he’s a white dude with wrinkled clothes. He’s described as “not hot” and “annoying”, but nonetheless he wins the heart of the novel’s token Cool Girl, Jane. Jane already has a boyfriend, who is – and I quote from the novel here – “truly a wonder to behold”, a “sculpted, immaculately conceived, rippling hunk” but she would rather go out with Will Grayson No. 1 with his wrinkled jeans because he shows up at her house one night with a question about Schrodinger’s Cat, which I believe is supposed to be the 2010 YA novel equivalent of John Cusack holding up a boombox in Say Anything, but without one iota of the charm.Will Grayson No.1’s main issue seems to be that he has a crush on Jane, but also doesn’t. He also agonizes over the fact that his best friend, Tiny Cooper, is an unbearable egomaniac who doesn’t actually like him very much. This is the sum total of Will Grayson No. 1, and that is not an exaggeration.Beginning with the first issue: I thought Will’s aversion to dating Jane was going to develop into an interesting exploration of aromanticism or asexuality, as he says he just wants to “notice” her without having to actually date her. Unless I missed something significant, though, it turned out to be nothing much deeper than he didn’t want her when she was single, but then she got a boyfriend and suddenly he did, because teenagers are fickle or whatever.Jane is not a convincing romantic interest, but then, Will Grayson is not a convincing hero. Will likes her because she says pretentious things about pretentious bands and they have pretentious, baffling discussions about Schrodinger’s Cat (honestly, what was the point of Green’s whole Schrodinger spiel? It was like the failed precursor to that sickly-sweet ‘Maybe okay will be our always’ catchphrase from ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ that everyone used to write on their school bags). Jane absolutely reeks of Not Like Other Girls Syndrome, in that she is apparently prettier, smarter and funnier than everyone, but she never actually says anything especially smart or funny. Mostly, Will likes Jane because she smiles at him once when Tiny Cooper is passed out on the floor, and Will thinks this smile is nicer than the fake smiles on her Facebook profile. The level of convincing romance is practically tantamount to Pride & Prejudice. Jane also gives Will $100 for a fake ID which he never has to pay her back. Maybe that’s why he likes her.As for the second issue: Will’s dilemma with Tiny Cooper is never really resolved. They have been best friends since childhood, but constantly complain about each other. They have a heart-to-heart towards the end of the book, where Tiny tells Will he’s difficult and “so self-involved” and Will tells Tiny that “being gay is not an excuse for being a dick” but they make up anyway because, basically, according to John Green, you don’t choose your friendships, you just fall into them and get stuck there. Happy days.Now for David Levithan’s Will Grayson – Will Grayson No. 2. Of the two voices, I’d say I preferred this one, but that’s like saying I prefer a headache to a migraine. Again, I could not tell you a lot about this Will except that he is simultaneously “wiry” and “adorable”, and is usually rude to people around him for no discernible reason.Will No. 2 struggles with depression, which at times feels like it’s used as a tool to justify how awful he is to everybody, including his mother and friends. His mental health issues are never discussed on any intricate level, rather they just feel like background noise to justify the horrible things he says and does, and to explain away his constant self-loathing and desire to “kill everyone” around him. Maybe Levithan was just trying to get that moody teenager vibe down, but the discussion of depression felt at times clumsy and somewhat insensitive.This Will is also beginning to explore his sexuality. This could have been interesting, but the discussion surrounding it is just downright confusing. He shows evidence of internalised homophobia, describing his French teacher as a “sadistic loser” who gives them “gay projects”. He tells Tiny Cooper “I don’t like gay people”, before proceeding to make out with him on a bench and become his boyfriend. When later in the novel Will comes out to his mother and subsequently his whole school, he does so in a very defiant, confident way, which could be very inspiring were it not for the constant mixed messaging over how Will actually feels about his sexuality. He says he’s “not really that gay” because he doesn’t like Madonna. He describes kissing a girl at a party (apparently, he’s a loner and a loser but he gets invited to parties anyway) as “actually hot” and says “hands are hands, and touch is touch, and your body’s going to react the way your body’s going to react.” Honestly, if I didn’t know Levithan were a gay author, I would think a heterosexual male had written that.Meanwhile, he makes consistently awful, derogatory comments about his actual boyfriend, focusing mainly on Tiny’s size which – make no doubt about it, kids! – is absolutely immense, and neither author wants you to forget it. Will No. 2 says it’s “sick” that he finds Tiny attractive, and compares the attraction to seeing an aesthetically pleasing baby (I am not making this up). He calls Tiny “as big as a house”, a “big blob of humanity” and is surprised that he doesn’t feel “repulsion” when he’s with him. Seriously, is this supposed to be the romantic partnership we’re rooting for? If this novel is intended to spark joy and pride in young gay teens – particularly those exploring their sexuality for the first time themselves – it completely misses the mark. At one point, Will No. 2 laments that he never asked to be gay, as if we could not already tell that from his constant disparaging remarks about the only boy who shows genuine interest in him.The two characters’ lives converge in the middle of the story. Will Grayson No. 1 is ditched by his wonderful friends, Tiny and the Uh-mazing Jane, to go to a concert that he can’t get into because he’s underage (his “best friend” Tiny is not sympathetic, and just laughs at him), while Will Grayson No. 2 is meeting up with Isaac, who does not exist and is a fabrication of his sociopathic friend Maura. I read somewhere that Levithan and Green wanted the meeting of the Wills to be life-changing, but their conversation is lukewarm at best, and the only thing I can give the scene credit for is 1) the amusing location in which they meet and 2) the surprisingly inventive way in which they discover they’re both named Will Grayson. Life-changing the exchange is not. All it results in is a brief relationship between the completely incompatible Tiny Cooper and Will Grayson No. 2, and Will Grayson No. 1 buying a Spanish porn magazine which he then leaves on the roadside like an uncivilised fly-tipper.Finally, we must discuss Tiny Cooper. What a strange, confusing character. While he has occasional bouts of likeability, he is mostly nauseating, and the novel is constantly trying to drive home this idea that Tiny is some Messianic figure who brings people together, when actually he’s just an overbearing meddler. He spends the entire novel putting on a production of a musical about himself, in which apparently no school staff are involved but for which student council have granted him a thousand dollars’ worth of funding. At first, it seems this musical is all about Tiny’s ego, but then – no! Wait! It’s actually about Tiny’s love for people – and then, oh, no. By the end, it’s revealed that actually, yes, the musical was all about Tiny’s ego. Maybe my school was just vanilla with its bog-standard productions of Oliver! and The Sound of Music, but I just want to take a moment to ask in what world would a school approve and fund a musical written, directed and performed by a pupil, whose sole subject matter is that one specific pupil and his string of dull white male friends and exes? Tiny is also a star football player, but apparently has time to orchestrate this musical single-handedly, because, you know, why bother exploring anything in a novel that isn’t surface level teen romance?The rest of the book’s characters are similarly vapid, and seem to serve no real purpose beyond driving convenient plot points. Gary, Nick? Who are these people, and what kind of teenager is called Gary? Derek, Simon? We don’t even get physical descriptions. I’m not asking for Wuthering Heights, but just a hair colour would be nice. Maura is vindictive and cruel, but gets no comeuppance and instead actually gets an apology from Will No. 2. Mind-boggling. Gideon was sweet and would have been a more satisfactory love interest for Will No. 2, but he gets about three lines of dialogue. Will No. 1’s parents are surgeons so they’re presumably intelligent people, but they just come across as pretty boring and absent, his mother simply reduced to a catchphrase (“back by eleven”). Will No. 2’s mom is probably the most interesting character in the book, and the scene where Tiny gifts her a glass bowl is quite touching. I’d rather read about her girls’ poker nights than any of this sorry lot of mopey, pretentious teenagers.All in all, was this the worst YA LGBT book I’ve ever read? Probably not, but when there’s a plethora of realistic, original, heart-warming alternatives, I’d give this one a solid miss. Even Becky Albertalli’s sugary tidbits ‘Love, Simon’ and ‘Leah on the Offbeat’ were more tolerable than this, but for truly decent LGBT focused YA books, I would recommend ‘Release’ by Patrick Ness, and most of Adam Silvera’s work. They, at least, can pen likeable characters who are neither ashamed nor resentful of their sexuality.I didn’t mind the lower-case formatting of Will No. 2’s chapters as much as other reviewers seem to. Occasionally, I misread a comma as a full stop or vice versa, but that was about the only issue. I also think it’s quite obvious that the alternating chapters are voiced by different characters, and you only have to read the brief blurb to be aware of this, so I don’t think this is a fair criticism.The two stars are for the fact it has quick, easy-to-read chapters (definitely something you could read on an aeroplane) and one of Tiny’s text conversations with Will No. 2 made me chuckle. These are not compelling enough reasons to read this book.

⭐Catching up on my reviews of my favourite books to pass lockdown time. I hadn’t realised I hadn’t reviewed this. It’s a while since I’ve read it so won’t go into story detail other than to say that I remember laughing so much at 1am that I was told to ‘shut-up’. As much as it was funny there’s depth to the story and John Green’s voice shines through – maybe because I watch too many of his videos I hear his voice whenever I read his books. Thoroughly enjoyable read.

⭐Centred on larger than life Tiny Cooper, supported by two Will Graysons, this is a real feel good novel. Tiny, Will’s best friend since fifth grade, 6’6″ tall and with an offensive footballer’s weight to more than match, is big, gay, proud and loud; by contrast Will is of normal size and would prefer to sink into the background; and the same could be said for the other Will Grayson who enters the story, the only difference is that Will number two is also gay, if not out. The Will’s are rather grey characters – that is not meant to be derogatory – but I feel that are intentionally less colourful and more introspective to contrast with Tiny’s overpowering presence.The story, told in turns by Will and Will, follows events leading up to Tiny’s school stage musical production, and involves his many love affairs, most of which are of very short duration, and his search for love and truth. In fact the novel is all very much about love and truth.Will Grayson X 2 is a really entertaining read, frequently very funny, yet sometimes thought provoking; it steadily builds to what we are sure must be a grand finale, and we will not disappointed, but that is not to say that we will not be surprised – and for that we have to wait to the very end.

⭐John Green/David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson is not my normal book of choice, in fact it is very far from it. I normally go for science fiction or thrillers, however, the tagline for this book and its special price won me over.So what can I say about this book? It’s certainly different and the fact that their are two authors and two voices (the book is written from the perspective of both Will Grayson and the other Will Grayson!) is quite appealling. After reading Departure by A.G Riddle I was quite taken with this concept and this book delivers it in a thoughtful comic style. The characters are huge (in more ways than one) and they keep you interested in the unfolding storyline of how teenagers are thrown into the world confused and lost.It certainly is a page turner. Both characters pretty much have nothing in common other than their name and their inability to meet a significant other. I was really looking forward to their meeting and read as fast as I could to get there. The inventive and unbelievably funny way this happens is endearing and reflective of how the book progresses. I’d certainly recommend this book to anyone, irrespective of their favoured genre and it is certainly a departure from the norm.

⭐I’ve been a huge John Green fan for years, but somehow never got around to reading this book. (I’ve never read any of David Levithan’s works, but his half of this book was pretty decent.) Don’t know what took me so long! It’s a funny, down-to-earth book with an interesting plot. Everyone will want their own Tiny Cooper by the end!That being said, compared to the rest of Green’s works, this one is probably my least favourite. It’s hard to develop dimensional and intriguing characters when every chapter is written differently. I guess, by its nature, this book can’t be consistent, and that’s something you either love or don’t. I didn’t, particularly.If you’re a fan of either of these authors’ works – I suggest you pick up Will Grayson, Will Grayson. You will laugh, maybe even get tears in your eyes. But if this is your first introduction (to John Green, at least) I’d advise you to pick up one of his other works first. Particularly Looking for Alaska or The Fault in our Stars! They show off much better what he’s capable of.

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Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green (Epub)

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage. Told in alternating voices from two YA superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (Epub)

JOHN GREEN, the acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, returns with a story of shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.