This probably the best John Green book I’ve read that didn’t feature a delightful young man named Augustus. Will Grayson, Will Grayson stars, you guessed it, two kids named Will Grayson.
WG #1 has a best friend named Tiny (who’s an enormous, black and gay, because it’s a John Green book and he really does like to mix things up) who constantly overshadows him. Will’s theory in life is to stay un-involved from things that might hurt him, so he avoids girls and conflict and all sorts of things that Tiny tries to shove onto him.
WG#2 (aka OWG, for Other Will Grayson) lives with his single mother, struggles with depression, poverty and his homosexuality. He, too, has a a shitty friend who constantly tries to force him into admitting that he’s gay by trying to date him.
The two Wills collide one night in Chicago, and things kind of blow up in both of their lives from there. The story isn’t really about the two of them; it’s more about how just one change in your life can affect everything.
The book was written by John Green and David Levithan. Green wrote the bits focusing on the original WG and Tiny (and Tiny’s awesome, super gay musical). Levithan did OWG’s story, writing the whole thing in lowercase which irritated me at first but then I got used to it.
The story is fun, and has some cute parts in it. You’ll either think the musical is hysterical, or hate it. The big thing that I came away with is that John Green is really trying to create fiction for young adults that incorporates the misfits. A best friend/sidekick who is not only huge but also gay and also not white might seem like overkill but I don’t agree. I think the fact that Tiny is not only loved but also loves himself is awesome, as is the fact that we get to see that even fabulous Tiny has problems and flaws. He’s not a magical character — he’s a real kid with a larger-than-life personality and real problems that he’s working on overcoming. And he’s just a secondary character — main characters Will & Will are going through their own problems as well.
Anyway, I thought it was a good book but also a good book — one that I wish existed when I was in junior high, too.