“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.”
I will admit that I looked at this book on and off for over a year before I finally picked it up. But I was really glad I did. While the real title of the of the book should be “Tiny and the tales of his two Will’s”. I found this book to be just about everything someone would be looking for in YA novel. Teen angst, love on the internet, over the top characters, and a super super gay musical. All of these things add up to a fun ride that ends up exactly where you thought it might and somewhere totally different all together.
Told from the separate POV of both Will Graysons living around Chicago, you meet two totally separate Will’s living separate lives. I will admit to liking one Will over the other. I won’t tell you which but this Will felt real to me. I could identify with him in a way that is hard to find in a YA novel. His snarky back and forth with the people in his life made me laugh out loud, and his search for love and acceptance even if they was from the wrong people is something I think everyone at sixteen goes through. With hindsight you can tell that this book is essentially about the messy middle most of us find ourselves in. Whether you’re sixteen, twenty-one, or sixty, a lot of us spend our lives searching. Whether it be for the perfect love, the perfect job, the perfect life. It is impossible; nothing is perfect everyone has their problems and their issues. What this books shows us is that no matter who you are or whether your names are the same. Every single one of us finds ourselves in that messy middle we call life.
I can’t review this book without talking about Tiny Cooper. I spent most of the first half to three quarters of this book rolling my eyes every time he was in a scene so every third or fourth page. I think that was point; Tiny Cooper is every single gay cliche known to man. Hes loud, out, flamboyant, and everything he touches gets covered in glitter. These cliches are superimposed a large chunky football player. The ironic symbolism wasn’t lost on me, but for most of the book he just seemed like a flat useless character. A character used to be comedic relief and to push the action of the main Will Graysons. By the end of the book though I had come to love Tiny Cooper and understand why he was important to the story. He was used as comedic relief and he was used as a catalyst for both Wills. But he was more than that he was a human being A super fabulous sparkly human being, but a human being nonetheless. He is just a human being who has the balls to say a lot of what hes thinking and feeling out loud. Something I think a lot of people wished they did in their own lives. Tiny Cooper you made this book shine and I appreciate you.
While this book may be marketed as a LGBTQ book, I found that this aspect wasn’t as important to this story. A lot of LGBTQ books are written to be about self-discovery,coming out, your first love. All of those things were evident in this novel, but they felt secondary to the rest of the novel. Most of the characters were like ‘Yup I’m gay but it isn’t the most important part about me’. I wish you could see this is more LGBTQ novels. The other stuff is great, but those themes and storylines can get old after a while. Having open accepting self-loving characters despite their flaws was refreshing. It wasn’t being gay they had a problem with, it was the rest of themselves that was the problem. This take on being LGBTQ is something that should be taken more and more into account as these novels are written.
This book wasn’t perfect by any means, I will sing its praises but it does have some issues. I feel like many of the secondary characters besides Tiny Cooper fell flat for me. I didn’t love any of them and I really didn’t want to see more them. Jane felt too perfect, like there was nothing this girl could do wrong. She liked all the right music, had all the right friends, knew all the right things to say. Even when she was shown to have a flaw it was a superficial flaw that many would look right over. And Maura the antagonist for one of the Will Graysons she just felt too evil. The lengths she went didn’t feel true to what someone would actually do to get someone’s attention.
Overall this book was a lot more than I thought it was going to be. It met my expectations and out shined them. It was an easy read, something I read in two sittings. It was relatable to just about anyone gay, straight, young, old. Would I call it the best book I’ve ever read? No. But I would call it the one of the best books I’ve read in a while.. This book was real, it was human. In the end this book had heart.
4 out of 5 stars I would highly recommend this book.
You can purchase this book here.