Okay, so. We already know that I adore John Green. I laughed and cried through Looking for Alaska, I was delightfully baffled by An Abundance of Katherines and his story in Let it Snow, and Paper Towns had me itching for a road trip.
And then Will Grayson, Will Grayson came out, like, heading toward a YEAR ago, and I didn’t read it. I said, “Oh, I should pick that up,” but I didn’t. Partly it came out right before my YA class so those books took precedence, partly I was worried that I wouldn’t like the co-written aspect of the book, but mostly, I was afraid of Tiny Cooper.
See, almost every review I saw of Will Grayson, Will Grayson mentioned this same bit that’s right in the beginning of the book: “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.” And I have to give kudos to the awesomeness of the writing there, BUT.
I know Tiny Cooper. I know SEVERAL Tiny Coopers. I have had my fill of Tiny Cooper, he gets annoying after a while. I did not want to have to deal with Tiny Cooper ever again. So I did not pick up this book.
BUT then, I was on the internet and I was reminded of National Alaska Young Day (which is spoilery if you haven’t read the book), and I was like, hey, maybe I should re-read Looking for Alaska on NAYD, but I was also at the library and they had a copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson and so I said, “FINE, fate. I will read this darn book.”
And I did. And I LOVED IT. I seriously have not cackled gleefully so many times in such a short span of time, and the book was just perfect and wonderful and definitely what I needed after a holiday season devoid of awesome books.
So forget Tiny Cooper. He’s there, certainly, and he’s large and homosexual and he has written a large homosexual musical that is all about him and how large and homosexual he is, really. But the book is really actually about the Will Graysons, of which there are two and of which one does not use capitals often and is more accurately a will grayson. Will Grayson is your average high school kid, only slightly more neurotic; will grayson is your average high school kid, only slightly more depressed. Will is actively avoiding relationships, will is in a wonderful online relationship that is about to go all IRL. Neither of these goes quite the way either of them planned it, of course, because that’s how life is, and their random meeting at a porn store in Chicago (yes, really) makes things go even slightly crazier.
And so the book is of course about relationships in the romantic sense, but it is also very much about friendships, whether between people who like each other or hate each other or like like each other or tolerate each other. And it’s about how those relationships change when circumstances change, and how two people can see the exact same event and interpret it completely differently. And it’s also about honesty and how it’s an excellent thing when used at the right time and not put off too long, which is the main reason that I want to get everyone I know to read this book.
Also, Tiny Cooper is highly amusing, probably largely (hah) because I don’t have to be friends with him. Or pick his nose.
So basically, yes, I still love John Green, and also I may need to go out and get David Levithan’s entire backlist because he shares much of Green’s writing sensibility, at least in this book. And I know it’s premature, but this may be a contender for Best Book I Will Read All Year. True story.
Recommendation: For those who love John Green, and David Levithan, and any of the similar YA writers who are wonderfully sarcastic and biting and amusing but also very spot on about everything.
(A to Z Challenge)