Will Grayson, Will Grayson: Book Review

By whateversexual_llama

There are two types of book in the oddly defined genre of “Young Adult Literature” that I've become sick of. The first is, unfortunately, books about queer youth. This is because they almost all have nearly the same plot line- young queer person discovers their sexuality. It gets old. The second type is books by two authors, in which each author narrates from a different character's point of view, simply because I find it grating.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is a young adult novel about queer youth by two authors, each narrating from a different point of view. Somehow, miraculously, the book is fresh, funny, fascinating, and, without question, good.

Strange, I know.

Green (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns, also an internet celebrity of vlogbrothers fame, heterosexual), narrates as Will Grayson. Levithan (Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility, Wide Awake, and many more, very gay) narrates as Will Grayson.

Will Grayson and Will Grayson are two teens from two different suburbs of Chicago and two very different worlds. John Green's Will is a straight boy whose best friend is Tiny Cooper, “not the world's gayest person... not the world's largest person... but I believe he may be the world's largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large.”

Levithan's Will Grayson is a darker character, a gay boy who struggles to make connections with real people. He has a boyfriend on the internet and one friend at school who he hates.

The two Wills' lives crash, becoming inextricably tangled, one night in front of a porn shop, and the many stories and subplots which follow delve into the meanings of love, friendship, nerd culture, musical theater, and (of course) growing up.

A simple plot summary does not adequately sum up the book's charm. The characters are fully developed, loveable, and quirky, their friendships are realistic and easy to identify with, and the plot is just strange enough to keep readers wholly interested without losing them to the oddity.

Beyond all of that, though, I think what makes this book a true gem in the sea of repetitive queer novels is the fact that this book is not about being gay. The gay characters are gay. The straight characters are straight. Their problems have little to do with that. Tiny Cooper is flamboyantly homosexual, but he is completely his own person, breaking out of the media's overdone stereotypes of what the gay kid is supposed to be like. Tiny loves football as much as he loves theater. He also weighs like 200 pounds, which is incredibly refreshing. The gay Will Grayson is equally unexpected. He is dark and gloomy and unique- not a stock character in any way.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is, I believe, a glimpse of the future, when some people are gay and some aren't and it isn't a big issue. Everyone I know who has read it read it in about a day and came out of it smiling. It is unique and fun and it talks about Schrodinger’s cat and comes together to create something new that, I think, is exactly that queer lit today needs.


Delightfuly_Emo's picture

I love this book! And I

I love this book! And I thought your review of it was wonderful!
I had the amazing pleasure of hearing John Green speak on Friday, and it was unforgetable. He is down to earth much like he makes his Will Grayson out to be.

funnyflyby's picture

Good review!

I have bought this book now... but I've also bought The Realm of Possibility and am going to finish that first.
Hehe. Nobody notices what I have on the Nook.
It sounds great, though.

whateversexual_llama's picture

good god i love love love

good god i love love love The Realm of Possibility. A lot.

jeff's picture

You know...

Whenever there is a new LGBT book of any kind, I can get anyone a free copy if they review it here. I tend to avoid getting them because of the site's previous bad track record, but if you're a more trustworthy lot, then go for it.

Just tell me what you want to review, and I'll get you a copy. Has to be new, though.

"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are." - Kurt Cobain

whateversexual_llama's picture


a thought on the reliability of reviews:
I don't know if this would make people super-angry, but maybe a minimum age to review is necessary. Like, I'm 18 now and think of myself as a pretty reliable reviewer. When I was 13, I probably would've told you the same thing... but I have the unreviewed book on my shelf to prove that when I was in middle school, I probably wasn't ready to be trusted with the responsibility.

Also, as newness goes, if you're referring to The Realm of Possibility, that one's pretty old.

funnyflyby's picture

I finished it now...

Okay, I also love love love The Realm of Possibility... I'll start Will Grayson, Will Grayson tomorrow! Yay!
I seriously do not trust myself to review anything. I am a procrastinator. Plus I really, REALLY can't recieve any of the books from Oasis, and the only one available as an eBook was Will Grayson, Will Grayson. So... no reviews from Flyby. The eBooks are like half the price of actual books, too. The Realm of Possibility only cost like four dollars. Wait, I'll check its publishing date right now.
Okay, yeah, 2004. There we go.

Punkish Insanity's picture

I'm going to have to read

I'm going to have to read this book. I love the summaryish part for it, and it's nice to know there's books out there that aren't all gay porn or about coming out.

~ It's a cosmic joke that I'm a lesbian, because I understand men so well but women are a complete mystery to me.

HopelesslyHappy's picture

I just finished Looking for

I just finished Looking for Alaska (great book but incredibly depressing at the end) and I'm on to this one next, even more so now that I actually know what it's about. I'm thinking about suggesting some of John Green's books to my school book club
Also I have to recommend John Green and his brother's youtube videos (Vlogbrothers) to anyone that wants to waste a couple hours

Dracofangxxx's picture

Oh, yeah.

That book made me cry so hard :'(
Amazingly offensive <3

MacAvity's picture

Inspired by this review, I

Inspired by this review, I read Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines, before learning that my school's library actually does have Will Grayson, Will Grayson - but it's so popular that it's never on the shelves!