Monday, June 13, 2011

Will Grayson, Will Grayson (briefly): Go Read It, Go Read It

Get it at Indiebound or your public library.
In a nutshell: My favorite YA novel of the year.  And I want you all to read it.

To sum up:  Two Will Graysons live in the metro-Chicago area.  Both are in high school.  One is straight, with a larger-than-life gay best friend.  The other is clinically depressed and 'in the closet', but ready to come out.  They all meet through a series of unfortunate events one night in Chicago, and all three characters' lives are changed by their encounter.

What's to like? 
     The dueling voices of the two Will Graysons (Wills Grayson?), one written by John Green (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines), the other by David Levithan (Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, The Lover's Dictionary) are each energetic, singular, witty, and entirely real.   And Tiny Cooper, one of the Will's best friend, is an unforgettably joyous, bossy, creative, loving, careless giant of a character.  All three evolve over the course of the narrative, and even the supporting characters are quirky, flawed, and yet sympathetically drawn.
     It's quick paced, and the plot, though in some ways traditional, is in no way predictable from page to page.  And besides, it's such a fun ride that you get swept up in the action.  It's a fast read, and quite satisfying.
     Plus there's insight here about human nature and the way some young guys think that was actually new to me, even after all these years working with teens. 

So just go read it, OK?

A caution:  If you are at all concerned about swearing and frank sexuality, then you will definitely be put off by this book.  However, despite my concerns about gratuitous sex and coarse language in many current YA fictions, in Will Grayson, Will Grayson these are not tacked-on to sell books, but rather organic to the characters and necessary for the story.  On the other hand, I could never ever teach this book as a whole-class read in a high school setting.  At least not this decade...

That doesn't mean I won't go on recommending it to adults and teens who are ready to take on this material, beautifully treated.  In fact, it would be a fantastic book to read and discuss with one's own teenager or teenage friend.


Action: I've been loudly recommending this to everyone I know, and I passed along my copy already.  I vow to convince at least five more people to read this book.  If you're convinced and would be willing to give it a go, please let me know in the comment section so I can track my progress.  It would make a quick summer beach read too...

AND, since I've read quite a few John Green books but no David Levithans, I'm starting with Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist, then moving on to The Lover's Dictionary.


As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

You sure as heck convinced me! I'll be buying it and tucking it into my beach bag soon. Thanks for confirming my leanings on this one.

Jenna (Literature and a Lens) said...

Sounds like a wonderful read! I'm a big fan of David Levithan, so I will definitely be picking this one up. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on The Lover's Dictionary. I read it a few months ago and really loved it. Sparse, but very meaningful.

Holly said...

This one has been on my list of books to grab from the library for a couple of months now. Will have to go get it soon!

LBC said...

You would have convinced me if I hadn't already read it and loved it. It was absolutely one of my favorite YA novels ever. I echo your sentiments completely.

Laurie said...

L - So glad that we share an appreciate for this book!
H - Yes, do!
J - I'm looking forward to your review of WG, WG, and you can be sure I'll look up yours of TLD.
E - Swell! I think it'll be a fine travelling companion.
All - Off to visit your blogs, see what y'all have been reading lately...

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