Genre: Young Adult Fiction
This work is unique in that two renown young adult writers, John Green (author of Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska) and David Levithan (author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) come together to collaboratively write a novel.
John Green writes the part of Will Grayson (#1), a high school student whose best friend is a three hundred pound gay guy named Tiny and who is coaxed into being a part of Tiny’s GSA (Gay Straight Alliance). Will Grayson has issues of his own, such as rejecting the girl he likes and getting mad when she gets a boyfriend, thanks to Will’s two simple rules:
- Don’t Care Too Much
- Shut Up
In a nearby city, David Levithan writes the part of Will Grayson (#2), an angry, depressed high school student who has only one friend (if he can even call Maura a friend) and lives with a single mother. When Will spends nearly a year talking online to a guy named Issac, he finds out that he is most likely gay, and he is exhilarated when they decide to meet.
On a happenstance, Will Grasyon and Will Grayson meet (unfortunately) in a porn shop, both awaiting friends of theirs. When Original Will Grayson (dubbed by Will Grayson [#2)]) and Will Grayson meet, they find it interesting to happen across someone of the same name. As they wait for their friends, Will (#2) receives a call from his friend Maura, who he has never told anything to about Issac. Maura confesses that she was Issac the whole time, and Will’s world is shattered. He spent a whole year of his life talking with and falling in love with Issac only to find out the guy doesn’t even exist. Needing someone to vent to (and to avoid lashing out in anger that may result in murder) Will and Will chat with each other. When Tiny and Will’s (#1) love interest, Jane, appear from a concert, Tiny and Will (#2) are infatuated and spend the evening together, resulting in the start of a new relationship.
The whole time, Tiny is writing a musical about being gay and falling in love. The majority of the second half of the novel focuses on the concepts that we later see portrayed in the musical, reflecting Tiny’s life and the struggle it can be to come out as gay.
The ending was very interesting but somewhat unfulfilling.
One interesting thing about the novel aside from two characters written by two different authors, is how those characters chapters are wet up. John Green writes grammatically correct, but David Levithan has his Will Grayson chapters written without capital letters, quotes, or really any proper grammar except a bit of punctuation to keep it from being confusing, but that also keeps the chapters from becoming a full stream of consciousness. This lack of punctuation actually adds to Will’s apathetic and depressed character, demonstrating a seemingly lack of interest and melancholic attitude. Also, both writers wrote Tiny into their chapters, and great collaboration had to be achieved to keep his character from shifting (as a character) from writer to writer, although in a few places he did seem a little overly flamboyant in Levithan’s chapters (don’t get my wrong, Tiny is a flamboyant guy, but there were parts where it just seemed a bit too extreme).
Overall this was a really enjoyable book with a unique air about it that I would recommend for a young adult audience.