Friday, April 16, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is the newly released, much anticipated collaborative novel by New York Times bestsellers John Green and David Levithan. This book is about two high school boys in Chicago with the name Will Grayson. While their names may be the same, the two boys are very different people living very different lives. Of course, as fate would have it, internet boyfriends, botched fake IDs, and general teenage high school drama cause their paths to cross at a critical moment in each other’s life.

In addition to the Will Graysons, this book features characters such as Tiny Copper (who “may be the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large”), potential-girlfriend Jane, internet boyfriend Isaac, not-really-but-kinda-friend Maura, new-gay-best-friend Gideon, and some pretty cool, pretty understanding parents. Not all of these people connect to the same Will Grayson, but I honestly believe that trying to explain the relationships between these characters would cause me to regurgitate the novel in a completely less awesome way.

The first thing that immediately grabs you with this novel is the alternating chapters. All of the odd chapters are written by John Green about one Will Grayson and all of the even chapters are written by David Levithan about the other Will Grayson. I have read a lot of books in my life, but I have never seen a book structured this way. Because it is so unusual, I was immediately drawn to this kind of storytelling.

It was also really interesting that David Levithan wrote his chapters without proper capitalization and unconventional dialog. While at the Madison, Connecticut stop of the Will Grayson, Will Grayson book tour, David Levithan explained that his Will Grayson’s social life is primarily online. In his head, Will Grayson sees conversations and his own personal narration this way, which really opens up the psychology of this character to the reader.

And if you’ve read any of my past reviews, you know how I feel about character psychology.

This is the first example of David Levithan’s writing that I’ve read and, if his other writing is as layered and captivating as this, I would definitely recommend his books to anyone.

As is, I will always recommend John Green’s books. John Green has this uncanny ability to write stories that feature characters so flawed and normal and weird and wonderful that you can’t help but find them in the pieces of yourself that matter. The reader ends up a part of his books and that alone is why you should pick this one up.

But, you know, it’s also an incredibly compelling and well told story. You should pick it up for that, too.

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