Will Grayson, Will Grayson

John Green, 1977-

Book - 2010

When two teens, one gay and one straight, meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined as one begins dating the other's best friend, who produces a play revealing his relationship with them both.

Saved in:

Young Adult Area Show me where

2 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Green, John Checked In
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Green, John Checked In
New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Dutton c2010.
Main Author
John Green, 1977- (-)
Other Authors
David Levithan (-)
1st ed
Physical Description
310 p. ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by New York Times Review

DANCE: 10. Looks: 3. What is adolescence but a long, grueling theatrical audition? The cruel spotlight and the snickering from the darkness might as well describe the morning walk to the locker through a gantlet of rich kids, bullies and fabulous, distant beauties. This is one reason the authors of two new gay-themed young adult books center their plots on the production of a high school musical. The other is that "gay" and "musical" tend to exert a worldbending magnetic force on each other. Cass Meyer, the heroine of Emily Horner's ambitious first novel, "A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend," is a short-haired, athletic, math-loving high school senior whose schoolmates long ago reached a consensus about her sexuality. Cass herself isn't so sure. She's never felt passionately attracted to either sex. When other girls fawn over their crushes, she just doesn't get it. But what about Julia, the sun around which she orbited from early childhood? "I had never let myself think about that too long, or too deeply," Cass observes. "Except that there was a time I wanted to hold her hand, and didn't, because I couldn't risk someone thinking it meant something. I couldn't risk that it might mean something." Julia had been her hero - laughing off or playing up to innuendos about her sexuality, always making time for Cass even after falling in love with Ollie, a theater geek. Suddenly, she's gone - killed in a one-car crash on a rainy night. Cass decides to help Ollie and their other friends memorialize her by staging Julia's "sekrit project," a gore-spattered musical called "Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad." The lead? Heather Galloway, Cass's middle school nemesis: the bully who started the gay rumors about Cass and made her life hell. "A Love Story" alternately pursues two narrative tracks - the present day, in which Cass negotiates her painful relationships with Ollie and Heather, and the recent past, in which she attempted a solo bicycle trip from Chicago to California with Julia's ashes, planning to scatter them in the ocean. Sometimes these two stories don't align, and breakthroughs in the past are followed by disorienting returns to the same issues in the present. A budding romance with Heather is not always convincing, either. But the strength of this promising novel is its emotional reach, from mourning through identity crisis through new love. Cass's grief colors everything, and the grief itself is tinged always with that question she never let herself ask: Was she in love with Julia? BY contrast, John Green and David Levithan's "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" is a complete romp. Written in alternating chapters (Green's are the odd-numbered ones), it builds toward the random meeting of two teenagers named Will Grayson. One is a gay misanthrope who thinks he's found his soul mate on the Internet, and the other is the nebbishy straight best friend of Tiny Cooper, a giant in every sense of the term: a 6-foot-6 football player, out and proud since the fifth grade, and the star of his own enormous life. This isn't your mother's gay Y.A. novel. Tiny Cooper feels not a moment of shame or alienation. When yet another boyfriend breaks up with him - by phone, by text, by Facebook status - he weeps publicly. He's writing a musical about his life called "Hold Me Closer," in which his best friend figures as "Phil Wrayson" and all 18 exboyfriends are depicted onstage. High school teasing bounces off Tiny like rays of soft, flattering sunlight, and he always has a clever comeback. "Maybe that works for Tiny," Will reflects, "but it never works for me. Shutting up works. Following the rules works." When classmates ask how it feels to have sex with Tiny Cooper, Will just shuts up and keeps walking. Once, he wrote a letter to the school newspaper in defense of Tiny's right to be both super-gay and on the football team. "I don't regret writing the letter in the least, but I regret signing it." Despite its structure, which shuttles between one Will and the other, the novel is so tightly woven that it begins to feel miraculous. Neither Will can hold a candle to Tiny Cooper - which, luckily, both of them realize near the end. They let themselves be lifted temporarily by this flaming Falstaff and then find a way to show Tiny he is appreciated. "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" is so funny, rude and original that by the time flowers hit the stage after "Hold Me Closer," even the musical-averse will cheer. Regina Marler is the editor of "Queer Beats: How the Beats Turned America On to Sex."

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [June 20, 2010]
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Two superstar authors pair up and really deliver the goods, dishing up a terrific high-energy tale of teen love, lust, intrigue, anger, pain, and friendship threaded with generous measures of comedy and savvy counsel. Though the ensemble cast revolves around Tiny Cooper, the world's largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large, the central characters are the two titular narrators, who share a name (but don't meet until partway through) and trade off alternate chapters. One Will has been Tiny's satellite for years but is starting to chafe at the role especially after Tiny forcibly sets him up with Jane, an infuriatingly perfect match. The other, whose clinical depression is brilliantly signaled by an all-lowercase narrative and so intensely conveyed that his early entries are hard to read, sees at least a glimmer of light fall on his self-image after a chance meeting with Tiny sparks a wild mutual infatuation. The performance of an autobiographical high-school musical that Tiny writes, directs, and stars in makes a rousing and suitably theatrical finale for a tale populated with young people engaged in figuring out what's important and shot through with strong feelings, smart-mouthed dialogue, and uncommon insight.--Peters, John Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In alternating chapters, the authors track two teens, both named Will Grayson, who accidentally meet halfway through the novel, perhaps changing the trajectory of both of their lives. One Will is vintage Green: a smart nerd whose rules to live by include "don't care too much," with a scene-stealing sidekick-Tiny Cooper, a large, flamboyantly gay classmate intent on staging an autobiographical musical. The other will (lowercase throughout) is angry and depressed; the one bright spot in his existence is an online friendship with "Isaac." When will agrees to meet Isaac one night in Chicago, readers know nothing good will happen-and they will be wrong. A well-orchestrated big reveal takes the story in a new direction, one that gives (lowercase) will greater dimension. The ending is laudable but highly implausible. The journey to it is full of comic bits, mostly provided by the irrepressible Tiny, who needs his own novel. Frank sexual language-a shot at a bar "tastes like Satan's fire cock"-pushes this one to high school, where its message of embracing love in all its forms ought to find a receptive audience. Ages 14-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Told in alternating chapters by alternating narrators, John Green and David Levithan's masterful story (Dutton, 2010) is beautifully rendered as an audiobook. When Will Grayson, an awkward teen who's unsure of how to connect with others without getting hurt, and Will Grayson, an angry, gay teen, meet by chance, their lives are forever changed.and connected. The authors address friendship, self-identity, self-acceptance, true love, family, and prejudice in a story that's sure to touch listeners' hearts. MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl give poignant performances. A 2011 Odyssey Award Honor winner. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

The premise of this entertaining collaboration is simple: there are two Will Graysons. The straight Will Grayson approaches life with two rules -- "1. Don't care too much. 2. Shut up" -- that are constantly flouted by his best friend, the continually lovelorn, exceedingly garrulous, very gay Tiny Cooper, who wrote and is now directing a school musical about his life. In a nearby town, the gay Will Grayson, lonely and clinically depressed, cultivates an online romance that leads to a chance encounter with his nominal doppelganger. As the risk-averse Will finds his friendship with Tiny falling apart, the other Will finds his life opening up -- scarily, thrillingly -- when Tiny enters it. The Wills are almost painfully easy to relate to, and Tiny transcends stereotypes (how refreshing to see a romantically viable overweight character) even as he brings the fabulous. The balance between the two narratives is uneven; at any given time, one is usually more interesting than the other. But the quirky premise, savvy integration of online interactions (Tiny is dumped via Facebook update), and epic spin on personal and interpersonal drama more than compensate. The triumphant ending sequence, which revolves around Tiny's play, produces all the euphoria of an actual musical; readers will be on their feet. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Will Grayson loves indie rock, plays the eye-rolling angry stepchild to his extraordinarily giant, lovable, gay best friend Tiny Cooper and doesn't realize that he yearns for his other indie-rockloving friend Jane until it's too late. will grayson (he never uses uppercase) hates most everything except sharing an XXL coffee with his best friend Maura each morning and covertly conversing with his Internet boyfriend every night. Their two discrete worlds collide in a Chicago porn store after dual botched evenings out. Love, honesty, friendship and trust all ensue, culminating in the world's gayest and most fabulous musical ever. Green and Levithan craft an intellectually existential, electrically ebullient love story that brilliantly melds the ridiculous with the realistic. In alternating chapters from Will and will, each character comes lovingly to life, especially Tiny Cooper, whose linebacker-sized, heart-on-his-sleeve personality could win over the grouchiest of grouches (viz. will grayson). Their story, along with the rest of the cast's, will have readers simultaneously laughing, crying and singing at the top of their lungs. (Fiction. YA)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Table of Contents Title Page Copyright Page Dedication chapter one chapter two chapter three chapter four chapter five chapter six chapter seven chapter eight chapter nine chapter ten chapter eleven chapter twelve chapter thirteen chapter fourteen chapter fifteen chapter sixteen chapter seventeen chapter eighteen chapter ninteen chapter twenty Acknowledgements DUTTON BOOKS A member of Penguin Books (USA) Inc. Published by the Penguin Group | Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. | Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) | Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England | Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) | Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) | Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India | Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) | Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa | Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Copyright © 2010 by John Green and David Levithan All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content. CIP Data is available. Published in the United States by Dutton Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 www.penguin.com/youngreaders ISBN: 9781101222997 To David Leventhal (for being so close) --DL To Tobias Huisman --JG chapter one When I was little, my dad used to tell me, "Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose." This seemed like a reasonably astute observation to me when I was eight, but it turns out to be incorrect on a few levels. To begin with, you cannot possibly pick your friends, or else I never would have ended up with Tiny Cooper. Tiny Cooper is not the world's gayest person, and he is 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. Tiny has been my best friend since fifth grade, except for all last semester, when he was busy discovering the sheer scope of his own gayness, and I was busy having an actual honest-to-God Group of Friends for the first time in my life, who ended up Never Talking to Me Again due to two slight transgressions: 1. After some school-board member got all upset about gays in the locker room, I defended Tiny Cooper's right to be both gigantic (and, therefore, the best member of our shitty football team's offensive line) and gay in a letter to the school newspaper that I, stupidly, signed. 2. This guy in the Group of Friends named Clint was talking about the letter at lunch, and in the process of talking about it, he called me a bitchsquealer, and I didn't know what a bitchsquealer was, so I was like, "What do you mean?" And then he called me a bitchsquealer again, at which point I told Clint to fuck off and then took my tray and left. Which I guess means that technically I left the Group of Friends, although it felt the other way around. Honestly, none of them ever seemed to like me, but they were around , which isn't nothing. And now they aren't around, leaving me utterly bereft of social peers. Unless you count Tiny, that is. Which I suppose I must. Andbutso a few weeks after we get back from Christmas break our junior year, I'm sitting in my Assigned Seat in precalc when Tiny waltzes in wearing his jersey tucked into his chinos, even though football season is long over. Every day, Tiny miraculously manages to wedge himself into the chair-desk beside mine in precalc, and every day, I am amazed he can do it. So Tiny squeezes into his chair, I am duly amazed, and then he turns to me and he whispers really loudly because secretly he wants other people to hear, "I'm in love ." I roll my eyes, because he falls in love every hour on the hour with some poor new boy. They all look the same: skinny and sweaty and tan, the last an abomination, because all February tans in Chicago are fake, and boys who fake tan--I don't care whether they're gay--are ridiculous. "You're so cynical," Tiny says, waving his hand at me. "I'm not cynical, Tiny," I answer. "I'm practical." "You're a robot," he says. Tiny thinks that I am incapable of what humans call emotion because I have not cried since my seventh birthday, when I saw the movie All Dogs Go to Heaven . I suppose I should have known from the title that it wouldn't end merrily, but in my defense, I was seven. Anyway, I haven't cried since then. I don't really understand the point of crying. Also, I feel that crying is almost--like, aside from deaths of relatives or whatever--totally avoidable if you follow two very simple rules: 1. Don't care too much. 2. Shut up. Everything unfortunate that has ever happened to me has stemmed from failure to follow one of the rules. "I know love is real because I feel it," Tiny says. Apparently, class has started without our knowing, because Mr. Applebaum, who is ostensibly teaching us precalculus but is mostly teaching me that pain and suffering must be endured stoically, says, "You feel what, Tiny?" "Love!" says Tiny. "I feel love." And everyone turns around and either laughs or groans at Tiny, and because I'm sitting next to him and he's my best and only friend, they're laughing and groaning at me, too, which is precisely why I would not choose Tiny Cooper as my friend. He draws too much attention. Also, he has a pathological inability to follow either of my two rules. And so he waltzes around, caring too much and ceaselessly talking, and then he's baffled when the world craps on him. And, of course, due to sheer proximity, this means the world craps on me, too. After class, I'm staring into my locker, wondering how I managed to leave The Scarlet Letter at home, when Tiny comes up with his Gay-Straight Alliance friends Gary (who is gay) and Jane (who may or may not be--I've never asked), and Tiny says to me, "Apparently, everyone thinks I professed my love for you in precalc. Me in love with Will Grayson. Isn't that the silliest crap you ever heard?" "Great," I say. "People are just such idiots," Tiny says. "As if there's something wrong with being in love." Gary groans then. If you could pick your friends, I'd consider Gary. Tiny got close with Gary and Jane and Gary's boyfriend, Nick, when he joined the GSA during my tenure as a member of the Group of Friends. I barely know Gary, since I've only been hanging around Tiny again for about two weeks, but he seems like the normalest person Tiny has ever befriended. "There's a difference," Gary points out, "between being in love and announcing it in precalc." Tiny starts to talk and Gary cuts him off. "I mean, don't get me wrong. You have every right to love Zach." "Billy," says Tiny. "Wait, what happened to Zach?" I ask, because I could have sworn Tiny was in love with a Zach during precalc. But forty-seven minutes have passed since his proclamation, so maybe he's changed gears. Tiny has had about 3,900 boyfriends--half of them Internet-only. Gary, who seems as flummoxed by the emergence of Billy as I am, leans against the lockers and bangs his head softly against the steel. "Tiny, you being a makeout whore is so not good for the cause." I look way up at Tiny and say, "Can we quell the rumors of our love? It hurts my chances with the ladies." "Calling them 'the ladies' doesn't help either," Jane tells me. Tiny laughs. "But seriously," I tell him, "I always catch shit about it." Tiny looks at me seriously for once and nods a little. "Although for the record," Gary says, "you could do worse than Will Grayson." "And he has," I note. Tiny spins in a balletic pirouette out into the middle of the hallway and, laughing, shouts, "Dear World, I am not hot for Will Grayson. But world, there's something else you should know about Will Grayson." And then he begins to sing, a Broadway baritone as big as his waist, "I can't live without him!" People laugh and whoop and clap as Tiny continues the serenade while I walk off to English. It's a long walk, and it only gets longer when someone stops you and asks how it feels to be sodomized by Tiny Cooper, and how you find Tiny Cooper's "gay little pencil prick" behind his fat belly. I respond the way I always do: by looking down and walking straight and fast. I know they're kidding. I know part of knowing someone is being mean to them or whatever. Tiny always has some brilliant thing to say back, like, "For someone who theoretically doesn't want me, you sure spend a lot of time thinking and talking about my penis." Maybe that works for Tiny, but it never works for me. Shutting up works. Following the rules works. So I shut up, and I don't care, and I keep walking, and soon it's over. The last time I said anything of note was the time I wrote the fricking letter to the editor about fricking Tiny Cooper and his fricking right to be a fricking star on our horrible football team. I don't regret writing the letter in the least, but I regret signing it. Signing it was a clear violation of the rule about shutting up, and look where it got me: alone on a Tuesday afternoon, staring at my black Chuck Taylors. That night, not long after I order pizza for me and my parents, who are--as always--late at the hospital, Tiny Cooper calls me and, real quiet and fast, he blurts out, "Neutral Milk Hotel is supposedly playing a reunion show at the Hideout and it's totally not advertised and no one even knows about it and holy shit, Grayson, holy shit!" "Holy shit!" I shout. One thing you can say for Tiny: whenever something awesome happens, Tiny is always the first to hear. Now, I am not generally given over to excitement, but Neutral Milk Hotel sort of changed my life. They released this absolutely fantastic album called In the Aeroplane Over the Sea in 1998 and haven't been heard from since, purportedly because their lead singer lives in a cave in New Zealand. But anyway, he's a genius. "When?" "Dunno. I just heard. I'm gonna call Jane, too. She likes them almost as much as you do. Okay, so now. Now. Let's go to the Hideout now." "I'm literally on my way," I answer, opening the door to the garage. I call my mom from the car. I tell her Neutral Milk Hotel is playing at the Hideout and she says, "Who? What? You're hiding out?" And then I hum a few bars of one of their songs and Mom says, "Oh, I know that song. It's on the mix you made me," and I say, "Right," and she says, "Well you have to be back by eleven," and I say, "Mom this is a historical event. History doesn't have a curfew," and she says, "Back by eleven," and I say, "Fine. Jesus," and then she has to go cut cancer out of someone. Tiny Cooper lives in a mansion with the world's richest parents. I don't think either of his parents have jobs, but they are so disgustingly rich that Tiny Cooper doesn't even live in the mansion; he lives in the mansion's coach house , all by himself. He has three bedrooms in that motherfucker and a fridge that always has beer in it and his parents never bother him, and so we can sit there all day and play video game football and drink Miller Lite, except in point of fact Tiny hates video games and I hate drinking beer, so mostly all we ever do is play darts (he has a dartboard) and listen to music and talk and study. I've just started to say the T in Tiny when he comes running out of his room, one black leather loafer on and the other in his hand, shouting, "Go, Grayson, go go." And everything goes perfectly on the way there. Traffic's not too bad on Sheridan, and I'm cornering the car like it's the Indy 500, and we're listening to my favorite NMH song, "Holland, 1945," and then onto Lake Shore Drive, the waves of Lake Michigan crashing against the boulders by the Drive, the windows cracked to get the car to defrost, the dirty, bracing, cold air rushing in, and I love the way Chicago smells--Chicago is brackish lake water and soot and sweat and grease and I love it, and I love this song, and Tiny's saying I love this song , and he's got the visor down so he can muss up his hair a little more expertly. That gets me to thinking that Neutral Milk Hotel is going to see me just as surely as I'm going to see them, so I give myself a once-over in the rearview. My face seems too square and my eyes too big, like I'm perpetually surprised, but there's nothing wrong with me that I can fix. The Hideout is a dive bar made of wooden planks that's nestled between a factory and some Department of Transportation building. There's nothing swank about it, but there's a line out the door even though it's only seven. So I huddle in line for a while with Tiny until Gary and Possibly Gay Jane show up. Jane's wearing a hand-scrawled Neutral Milk Hotel v-neck T-shirt under her open coat. Jane showed up in Tiny's life around the time I dropped out of it, so we don't really know each other. Still, I'd say she's currently about my fourth-best friend, and apparently she has good taste in music. Excerpted from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, David Levithan All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.