Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan

May is Award-Winning

All these titles have won various awards for excellence. I'm a big fan of award winners, as it takes out the guess work. I open the book knowing that a whole lot of people already vouched for it. All of these are fantastic examples of YA lit, all highly recommended.

Will Grayson feels like a sidekick to his best friend: the flamboyantly gay, massive, football playing, drama loving Tiny Cooper. As if he didn't already feel like he was living in Tiny's shadow, Tiny's newest goal is to get his autobiographical musical "Tiny Dancer" performed at the high school. The aptly named Gil Wrayson is also a star in "Tiny Dancer," and you can imagine what that might mean. Meanwhile, Will is dealing with Tiny's newest ex-boyfriend drama, and trying to follow his two rules. Rule 1: shut up, rule 2: don't care too much. By following this philosophy he has managed to stay safely in the land of "no dating" and "not many friends." But he doesn't not sometimes kinda like this girl Jane that Tiny's been hanging out with in GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) ... who is probably gay anyway so what is the point, and he should just stick to the rules, what is his problem *ugh*.

will grayson is your typical emo kid, doesn't really have any friends except maura (who rivals him with her goth poetry and flippant speech, and who probably has the hots for him but won't get that he's not into her), and simon and derek (the kids he sits next to at lunch, but it's not like they really have that much in common since all those two care about are computers and video games), and isaac. isaac isn't like the rest of them. isaac befriended him online, and it's the only time all day that will doesn't feel "what's the point of this anyway?" on a fundamental and chemically depressed level. he takes his meds, but it's not like his life is rosy. his dad's gone, so it's just him and his mom ... and she needs a life almost as much as he does. but isaac is his one release from the everyday boredom in naperville, il.

Will lives in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, and after a near miss at a 21+ show, he decides he needs a fake ID. Jane takes him to get one, and they're all planning to hit up a show this weekend. Not that it's a date or anything, or that he even likes Jane that much. It's not like he thinks about her all the time, or what it would be like to kiss her, or spend time with her or anything. It's just going to be a good show, and he's excited about it. Until they get there and he flashes his brand new ID, which says he's 20 years old .... WTF! Tiny and Jane just go in without him like he's not even there, and he's pissed that they leave him, and pissed that he cares that they left, and pissed that he was too stupid to notice the problem before. Determined to have his own adventure, he walks into the porno store on the corner.

isaac wants to meet him! they are going to meet!! after a year of talking online, they make plans to meet at frenchy's in chicago. will isn't sure what that is, but he guesses it's a restaurant or something. when he finally arrives at the porn shop, he isn't sure what to think ... is this a joke? did isaac know what frenchy's was? and where IS he? beginning to despair that this has all been a setup, a long cruel setup, he hears his name: will grayson ... but the guy isn't talking to him, he's talking to another Will Grayson. is that possible? that he meets someone with the exact same name at the exact moment of his ultimate humiliation? and so he says hello, because it seems crazy to waste this fateful opportunity. and he (through Will) is introduced to tiny cooper.

Will can hardly believe his luck, another will grayson, who is gay. Tiny is going to have a field day with this. (Turns out, they really hit it off). When Jane and Tiny leave the club, they pair off - each with their own Will. He and Jane take a 10 minute time out to be completely honest, and he admits that he likes her. But it's never quite that easy, is it?

tiny cooper is...unlike anything will has ever known. he gives him courage to face up to who he is. he comes out at school, to his mom, starts to open up a little. it's like things are falling apart in one second, and getting scooped back up and put together again in the next. but it's never quite that easy, is it?

Fantastic slice of life fiction from two of my favorite YA authors. It won the Stonewall Honor Award for "exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience." The dialog is seamless, the characters are well balanced, they tackle so many touchy issues in a way that presents them as 'no big deal,' and I love that. I couldn't pick a favorite quote, so I picked one from each author. (Green writes the odd chapters, Leviathan the even.)
"me: i'm glad that you exist.
tiny: i'm glad to be existing right now.
me: you have no idea how wrong you are about me.
tiny: you have no idea how wrong you are about yourself.
me: stop that.
tiny: only if you stop it.
me: i'm warning you.
i have no idea what truth has to do with love, and vice versa. i'm not even thinking in terms of love here. it's way, way, way early for that. but i guess i am thinking in terms of truth. i want this to be truthful. and even as i protest to tiny and i protest to myself, the truth is becoming increasingly clear. it's time for us to figure out how the hell this is ever going to work," (Leviathan pg. 152, 2010).

"'... I just think if you don't say the honest thing, sometimes the honest thing never becomes true, you know, and I-' she says, but then I hold up my finger, because I need to hear the thing she just said, and she talks too fast for me to keep up. I keep holding up my hand, thinking if you don't say the honest thing, it never becomes true.
I put my hands on her shoulders, 'I just realized something ... you're totally right about saying the honest thing. I think if you keep the box closed long enough you do kill the cat, actually,'" (Green pg. 256, 2010).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Boy Meets Boy by David Leviathan
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Green, J., & Levithan, D. (2010). Will Grayson, Will Grayson. New York: Dutton.

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