Reviews for Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Booklist Reviews 2010 January #1
*Starred Review* Two superstar authors pair up and really deliver the goods, dishing up a terrific high-energy tale of teen love, lust, intrigue, anger, pain, and friendship threaded with generous measures of comedy and savvy counsel. Though the ensemble cast revolves around Tiny Cooper, "the world's largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large," the central characters are the two titular narrators, who share a name (but don't meet until partway through) and trade off alternate chapters. One Will has been Tiny's satellite for years but is starting to chafe at the role--especially after Tiny forcibly sets him up with Jane, an infuriatingly perfect match. The other, whose clinical depression is brilliantly signaled by an all-lowercase narrative and so intensely conveyed that his early entries are hard to read, sees at least a glimmer of light fall on his self-image after a chance meeting with Tiny sparks a wild mutual infatuation. The performance of an autobiographical high-school musical that Tiny writes, directs, and stars in makes a rousing and suitably theatrical finale for a tale populated with young people engaged in figuring out what's important and shot through with strong feelings, smart-mouthed dialogue, and uncommon insight. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.
BookPage Reviews 2010 April
An unusual love story
“Much depends on a best friend,” Will Grayson says. And when that best friend is Tiny Cooper, friendship is a big deal. Literally. Tiny is 6'6", so huge that when he sheds a tear, it could drown a kitten. So huge that one of his sobs measures on the Richter scale in Kansas (and he lives in Chicago). Will believes that Tiny may just be “the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large.” Tiny and Will have been friends since fifth grade, and Will stood up for Tiny when a school-board member argued against gays in the locker room. But recently Will has become too disengaged from life. He lives by two simple rules that have helped him to survive high school: “1. Don’t care too much. 2. Shut up.”
Will Grayson is not gay, but in one of many funny scenes in his first-person narrative, he meets another Will Grayson in a Chicago porn shop who is gay, and who begins a dramatic relationship with Tiny. This Will’s story forms the other half of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan, who each wrote one of the Wills.
As it turns out, the original Will still needs Tiny, too. Tiny is the one who does care, who always speaks his mind, who lives in larger-than-life drama and color. And when Tiny puts on a musical, it becomes the vehicle by which each character finds meaning and order in the universe. The musical is Tiny’s gift to the world, and his gift to the original Will Grayson is an appreciation of life and a repudiation of his anti-life rules.
Tiny will long live in readers’ imaginations—provided they have imaginations large enough to contain him. For an older young adult audience, this book about love, friends and what matters in life will be one of the best books of the year. Copyright 2010 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
The premise of this entertaining collaboration is simple: there are two Will Graysons. One is risk-averse and straight; the other is gay, lonely, and depressed. An online romance involving the first Will's best friend leads to an encounter between the nominal doppelgangers. The quirky premise and epic spin on interpersonal drama more than compensate for some narrative unevenness. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #3
The premise of this entertaining collaboration is simple: there are two Will Graysons. The straight Will Grayson approaches life with two rules -- "1. Don't care too much. 2. Shut up" -- that are constantly flouted by his best friend, the continually lovelorn, exceedingly garrulous, very gay Tiny Cooper, who wrote and is now directing a school musical about his life. In a nearby town, the gay Will Grayson, lonely and clinically depressed, cultivates an online romance that leads to a chance encounter with his nominal doppelganger. As the risk-averse Will finds his friendship with Tiny falling apart, the other Will finds his life opening up -- scarily, thrillingly -- when Tiny enters it. The Wills are almost painfully easy to relate to, and Tiny transcends stereotypes (how refreshing to see a romantically viable overweight character) even as he brings the fabulous. The balance between the two narratives is uneven; at any given time, one is usually more interesting than the other. But the quirky premise, savvy integration of online interactions (Tiny is dumped via Facebook update), and epic spin on personal and interpersonal drama more than compensate. The triumphant ending sequence, which revolves around Tiny's play, produces all the euphoria of an actual musical; readers will be on their feet. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2010 March #2
Will Grayson loves indie rock, plays the eye-rolling angry stepchild to his extraordinarily giant, lovable, gay best friend Tiny Cooper and doesn't realize that he yearns for his other indie-rock-loving friend Jane until it's too late. will grayson (he never uses uppercase) hates most everything except sharing an XXL coffee with his best friend Maura each morning and covertly conversing with his Internet boyfriend every night. Their two discrete worlds collide in a Chicago porn store after dual botched evenings out. Love, honesty, friendship and trust all ensue, culminating in the world's gayest and most fabulous musical ever. Green and Levithan craft an intellectually existential, electrically ebullient love story that brilliantly melds the ridiculous with the realistic. In alternating chapters from Will and will, each character comes lovingly to life, especially Tiny Cooper, whose linebacker-sized, heart-on-his-sleeve personality could win over the grouchiest of grouches (viz. will grayson). Their story, along with the rest of the cast's, will have readers simultaneously laughing, crying and singing at the top of their lungs. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2010 March/April
This contemporary novel deals candidly with teen sexuality and anxiety from the standpoint of both heterosexual and homosexual boys. The main characters, actually two different Will Graysons, the same age, living in different areas and attending different schools, make this an intriguing work. Glimpses into the reality of life for each boy are explored as the authors offer alternating perspectives from each. The two Wills finally come face to face in an unlikely meeting in a porn shop. The theme is clearly developed and deals openly with a subject that is often taboo, but may be significant in the life of teens. The language is extremely graphic with excessive profanity. Additional Selection. Kaye Dotson, Assistant Professor, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina ¬ 2010 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 March #1
In alternating chapters, the authors track two teens, both named Will Grayson, who accidentally meet halfway through the novel, perhaps changing the trajectory of both of their lives. One Will is vintage Green: a smart nerd whose rules to live by include "don't care too much," with a scene-stealing sidekick--Tiny Cooper, a large, flamboyantly gay classmate intent on staging an autobiographical musical. The other will (lowercase throughout) is angry and depressed; the one bright spot in his existence is an online friendship with "Isaac." When will agrees to meet Isaac one night in Chicago, readers know nothing good will happen--and they will be wrong. A well-orchestrated big reveal takes the story in a new direction, one that gives (lowercase) will greater dimension. The ending is laudable but highly implausible. The journey to it is full of comic bits, mostly provided by the irrepressible Tiny, who needs his own novel. Frank sexual language--a shot at a bar "tastes like Satan's fire cock"--pushes this one to high school, where its message of embracing love in all its forms ought to find a receptive audience. Ages 14-up. (Apr.) [Page 54]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2010 March
Gr 9 Up--Will Grayson's best friend since fifth grade, nicknamed Tiny Cooper, is bigger than life in terms of his physical stature and his personality--the "world's largest person who is really, really gay." Tiny, while seeking the boy of his dreams, has been through the trauma of myriad short-lived romantic relationships and Will has supported him each time his heart is broken. Now, Tiny decides it's Will's turn. At first, Will resents Tiny's matchmaking efforts, but then an amazing coincidence that stems from it brings a new person into their lives. It's another teen named Will Grayson, who is sad and depressed, and captures Tiny's heart. While these and other relationships are connecting, intersecting, and eventually changing, Tiny writes and produces an autobiographical high school musical extravaganza that is really about life. On the night it premiers, everything comes full circle and further validates the presence of the Will Graysons. Based on the premises that "love is tied to truth" and "being friends, that's just something you are," this powerful, thought-provoking, funny, moving, and unique plot is irresistible. Told in alternating chapters from each Will Grayson's point of view (one in lower case, effectively individualizing identities), complete with honest language, interesting characters, and a heartfelt, gritty edge, this quirky yet down-to-earth collaboration by two master YA storytellers will keep readers turning pages.--Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO [Page 158]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2010 February
One Will Grayson wants nothing more than to shut up and not care; the other wants nothing more than to have someone to talk to and care about. But when Will Grayson meets Will Grayson, two worlds collide, and neither Will's world will ever be the same. Both Will Graysons' lives are changed because of Tiny Cooper, "the world's largest person who is also really, really gay, and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large," who is in the process of producing an over-the-top musical about his life, trust, and true love. While Will Grayson starts dating Jane and reconnects with Tiny, his longtime best friend, Tiny is able to give the other Will Grayson the love and support he needs to come out to his friends and family. And it is both Will Graysons who show Tiny that he is appreciated Exactly what you would expect from Green and Levithan, this novel offers a full cast of flawed and fabulous characters. Chasing obscure bands amongst the cityscape (this time Chicago), oversized queens, and the highly integrated gay and hetero worlds are signature Levithan; the corrupting and confused Maura and Jane are as complicated as Green's Alaska and Margo. What results is a wonderfully campy, sweet, romantic gesture in the spectacular style that readers have come to expect from these two YA masters. Although not entirely unfamiliar--or precisely because of it--Will Grayson will find a fast and adoring audience.--Jennifer Miskec 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2010 Voya Reviews.