As the name predicts, Will Grayson, Will Grayson follows the story of two teenage boys, each with the respective names of the title. We meet Will Grayson, a quiet, cynical high school junior who lives very simply by two rules: 1. Don’t care too much and 2. Shut up. He is one to fly under the radar, a difficult task made even more insurmountable by his best friend, Tiny Cooper. It would seem quite the odd pair, as Will describes Tiny as “the world’s largest person who is really, really gay” and “the world’s gayest person who is really, really large”, and, contrarily to Will, is not the type to go around unnoticed. Thus enters Tiny’s plan of creating an autobiographical musical, which further draws attention to himself and inevitably, Will Grayson.
The evenly numbered chapters introduce will grayson, (designated by the use of lowercase throughout the book), a moody, desolate boy who is “… constantly torn between killing [himself] and killing everyone around [him].” His life includes the avoidance of Maura, his one friend who he believes to be in love with him, as well as keeping an online relationship with the mysteriously alluring “Isaac.” As the two share their lives across the web, they finally decide to meet in person, just in the outskirts of Chicago.
As fate would have, the other Will Grayson, Tiny, and the pretentiously attractive Jane attend a concert in the same neighborhood as the other will’s arranged meeting. The Wills meet, and subsequently, there is no Isaac- a harsh deceit at the hands of will’s close friend. Enter Tiny, serial dater extraordinaire, to pick up the pieces of will grayson’s broken dreams. The two begin a fast-paced affair- one that seems destined for a downward spiral.
Relationships forge clumsily between Will and Jane, after she dumps the boyfriend so eloquently described by Will as the guy …”who tries to hijack my cool by reading poetry and listening to halfway-good music.” As Tiny’s over-the-top, fabulous play, “Tiny Dancer,” begins to fall apart, so does the infatuation between him and will grayson. The heartbreak inspires a new play, one no longer about Tiny and his story of coming out, but about love in general. The story culminates in a presentation of the play, with an inspiring performance from the director, writer, costume designer, etc. himself.
The repetition of names becomes a bit daunting at times, but the reward comes in that extra bit of attention to detail while reading. The interactions between the characters are genuine, and the story explodes with messages of self-worth and appreciation. A truly heartfelt book, authors John Green and David Levithan create a friendship with a name that will be left resounding in your ears, and a collection of hilarious one-liners.
Always wonderful to hear John Green, one of the co-authors, read aloud!