One Will Grayson is a teenage boy trapped under his self-imposed ‘rules’ of aloofness and the considerable shadow of his flamboyant and outspoken best friend.
The other Will Grayson is a teenage boy trapped under the suffocating shadow of his clinical depression and closeted sexual orientation.
Both are surviving but neither are thriving. Neither are fully engaging with life, love, and all the complexities that come with trusting people, showing vulnerability, or being authentic.
Through a series of unfortunate and unlikely events, these two Will Grayson’s meet and their lives meaningfully intersect.
John Green has an uncanny ability to grasp a simple and universal concept: being young is hard. And, importantly, our collective inability to have honest and uncomfortable conversations with each other causes more harm than good. How many awkward conversations are you avoiding right now? Conversations that you know you should have but cannot muster up the time or energy? I like to hope that young adults reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson will have a lightbulb moment… In the words of Mark Twain – ‘Eat the frog’. Do the unpleasant but necessary thing that you’ve been putting off. It probably won’t be as bad as you think.
In many young adult books, I find myself arching an eyebrow in disbelief. Not only is everyone too well-spoken, but their lives are too unstructured and independent. I always find myself wondering ‘WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS?!”. That is not the case in this novel. Each chapter is written in rotation from the point of view of one of the two titular Will Grayson’s. This means that the reader never spends too much time in the life of one teenage boy. We skip the boring parts – extracurricular activities, exam study sessions, family dinners, bus rides to school – and instead get to focus on what is meaningful and important to the story. I really enjoyed and appreciated this narrative approach.
4 out of 5 Schrodinger’s Cats.