I had never read anything by either John Green or David Levithan before picking up WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON despite hearing amazing things about both authors. I finally picked it up this year after 1) Meeting David Levithan in April, and 2) Deciding to read every book by John Green this year in order to finally read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (because I want to read his "best" book last!). I decided to start with this one because it killed two birds with one stone. While reading WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON, I was reminded of the novel NICK AND NORA'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, which is about two strangers whose meeting one night changes their lives forever. And...I just looked up the authors of N&N because it's been a long time since I read it, and I was really surprised to see that David Levithan co-wrote the book with Rachel Cohn, so maybe I'm not that surprised to be reminded of it. Plus, this means I lied a couple of sentences ago: I HAVE read David Levithan before!
Told in differing POVs, the novel is about two different boys named Will Grayson. John Green's Will Grayson is straight, with a gay best friend named Tiny Cooper. There's nothing tiny about Tiny, though--his personality is huge and he's not afraid to be himself. Will isn't as grounded, and while he thinks he has things figured out, he'll find that he really doesn't. David Levithan's Will Grayson has been chatting with his online friend, Isaac, for a long time now and harbors feelings for him, leading him to realize that he's gay. The two decide to meet up one night, and when Isaac never shows, Will's life shatters...until he meets a guy his own age named , of all things, Will Grayson. Tiny Cooper will become the link that ties the two Wills together, and in many aspects, this is his story even more than it is either Will's.
I'll probably be alone in saying that Tiny Cooper wasn't my favorite character in the novel. I didn't like how self-absorbed he was or the way he was consistently flitting from one love interest to another without stopping to consider the way he was hurting anyone's feelings. I also couldn't get a handle on the way he treated Will, his supposedly best friend. I've had friends like Tiny before, and they can become toxic, so maybe it was my own experience tainting his personality. I did, however, appreciate his love of the theatre and think he's a rising star who will make a big impact someday when he's grown up a little bit. My favorite character was, hands down, David Levithan's Will Grayson. At first, I struggled because nothing in his chapters were capitalized (to differentiate the two Wills, which I do get), but I loved the way his mind worked (And I will never look at an online heart like <3 in quite the same way again!). My heart also broke for him after the whole Isaac Incident and he felt the most "real" and down-to-earth. I always looked forward to his chapters the most!
More than anything, the novel is about discovering who you are and learning to be comfortable in your own skin. Being a teenager is tough, and if you're not sure of yourself, daily life can be torture. I love when books have real character growth from beginning to end, which is one more reason to enjoy WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON. I'm excited to read more books by both of these acclaimed authors.