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18 April 2010 @ 05:35 pm
John Green & David Levithan's WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON (a fabulous 5 stars)  
I’ve never solved a John Green website riddle, but I’m fan enough to call myself a Nerdfighter and "confident enough in my masculinity" to read David Levithan in broad daylight. I’m 1,231 of the 30 million viewers of John and Hank’s Brotherhood 2.0, I’ve blogged pictures of myself “putting stuff on my head” (#1, #2, #3) and I’ve enjoyed and even studied Green’s first three novels, so it is with esteemed privilege that I review their latest collaborative effort, WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON.

Will Grayson’s friends may say he’s incapable of emotion, but it’s not true. He’s just obeying his two life rules: 1. Don’t care too much, and 2. Shut up. You can’t get hurt if you don’t really care, and so far, life in the shadow of a ginormous, six-six offensive lineman best friend has kept him safe enough.

Will’s best friend, Tiny Cooper, “is not the world’s gayest person, and he is not the world’s largest person, but 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.” Football player, loyal fan of lesser-known-but-awesomer-than-thou bands, producer of musicals, and matchmaker extraordinaire, Tiny is fabulous.

The other Will Grayson (o.w.g.) wants the world to die in a flaming bus crash. He’s not Facebook friends with suicide yet, but they’ve met in chat rooms and IM’d a couple of times. If you ask him, he won’t tell you, but he’s found “the one” and can’t wait for the day they finally meet. Without Isaac—screenname: boundbydad—o.w.g. wouldn’t have any reason to survive each school day, or slave away at the music store, or put up with his mother and absentee father, or et cetera.

So when . . .

. . . Tiny helps Will buy a fake ID and Will’s new crush-not-crush Jane joins them at the best underground concert ever, Will learns his ID’s no good and has to spend the evening wishing. Wishing he’d double-checked his ID. Wishing he was inside with Jane. And wishing the planet of his life didn’t revolve around the flaming star called Tiny.

. . . while on the same night . . .

. . .o.w.g. secretly takes a train across the city to meet Isaac. Hoping to actually meet him. Hoping this boy is the answer his life’s been dying for. Hoping to hold hands and be together for the first time. Hoping to be normal, in person “because Isaac has become the one the songs are about.”

. . .Will Grayson meets Will Grayson.

Their chance meeting and conversation shows them that there’s nothing wrong with being in love—that what sucks about love is that it’s so tied to truth—and that if you keep focusing on why you have it so bad, you’ll never realize how you could have it so good.

Nothing (aside from aliens abducting my eyes for intergalactic experiments) was going to keep me from reading WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON. John Green (author of Printz-award-winning LOOKING FOR ALASKA and PAPER TOWNS) and David Levithan (author of BOY MEETS BOY and co-author of NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST) have delivered the fourth cornerstone of young adult literature. While some teen readers might be turned off by rumors that the book has too much “gay stuff” in it, the smart ones will ignore the rumors and take my word for it—hilarious, touching, thought-provoking, and worth it—this is one story you won’t forget.

Andbutnor will you want to.

--- Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens
--- First published by www.TeenReads.com