Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: 9th through 12th grade.
Summary: Will Grayson and Will Grayson may share the same name, but they certainly aren’t the same person. The one we are first introduced to is friends with an enormous gay ironically named Tiny. Will Grayson 1 is a kid who is unsure of himself and prefers not to be noticed which often comes into conflict with Tiny’s larger than life personality. The second Will Grayson is gay and harbors a lot of anger towards many things. This kind of behavior stems from the fact that he hides his homosexuality in the beginning of the story. Then, one night these two meet and the story then shows us that these two accept and embrace who they truly are.
Themes: One of the themes that stood out to me the most in this book is confusion. We see that Will Grayson 2 struggles with his homosexuality. His friend Maura tries and tries to pry it out of him but he never answers. Will is uncomfortable discussing this and because he keeps it all to himself it often makes him very easily agitated. Then when he goes to meet somebody he met online, Isaac, he discovers it was Maura all along. He doesn’t know what to think. The love he felt for Isaac was taken from him and his mind is pulled in all directions.
Will Grayson 1 goes through a similar state of confusion when his friend Tiny tries to set him up with a mutual friend, Jane. At first, Will is very angry about it and tells Tiny to stay out of his business. Then, when he realizes Jane is with somebody else, he then discovers that he actually does like her. It’s this kind of confusion and realization that is very common in the life of a teenager.
Another theme that I liked was how important friendship can be. While your friends can drive you insane sometimes, at the end of the day you realize you love for both their qualities and their flaws. Tiny drives both Will Grayson’s nuts with his personality at many points in the story. However, no matter how much they try, they realize that you can’t stay mad at a friend like that forever. In the end, though he may have went about things in a different way, he has the best intentions at heart.
Connections: I think everybody went through nearly every one of the themes in Will Grayson, Will Grayson. We experience confusing situations regarding relationships with friends and girlfriends/boyfriends. This book showed us that teenagers aren’t all innocent kids who do their homework and are in bed by 9 like certain television shows might have you believe. They drink, have sex, party, and make plenty of mistakes. That’s one of the things I liked most about this book, that they showed what really does happen during adolescence.
Reaction: I really liked this book. When it comes to YAL, it’s hit or miss for me, but the sarcastic humor in this book really appealed to me and the experiences the main characters go through is something that I think everybody can relate to in one degree or another. David Levithan and John Green did an excellent job of exposing the readers to situations that they may and may not be familiar with. Either way, you walked away with a better understanding of how things go in the crazy life of a teenager.
Reception: Ana, a young adult reviewer, enjoyed the book for it’s many different forms of love and how we incorporate them into our everyday lives. She did however find the musical cheesy and ending not really up to par. See her review here:
The blog site, librarianbyday, found the book to be very enjoyable and noted that some of the most memorable characters actually aren’t the main stars of the story. An example would be Tiny Cooper.