Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Will Grayson Will Grayson book cover

Well, what a book. Lots to talk about. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is about two teenage boys both named Will Grayson – they aren’t related, don’t live in the same town, and don’t know that the other exists until they meet one fateful night at an “adult video” shop in Chicago. The book is about their lives and the results of their meeting.

So, for clarification’s sake, let’s sort them out, kay?

  • The Will Grayson written by John Green is a straight teen whose best friend is a larger-than-life, fabulously gay teen named Tiny Cooper, and this Will is pretty normal although he kind of tries to hide from life – we’ll refer to him as Cool WG.
  • The Will Grayson written by David Levithan is a still-in-the-closet gay teen that acts all emo and depressed and is a jerk to everyone except his internet boyfriend, Isaac – we’ll refer to him as Lame WG.  

Got all that?

Basically both Will Graysons are going through different issues in their life, and Tiny Cooper is the grace that saves them all. Tiny is GREAT – he’s fun, incredibly sweet, passionate, and huge – like over 6 feet tall and just enormous. Tiny is also writing a play about himself, called Tiny Dancer, that ends up being a pretty big plot point later. In a lot of ways, this book is more about Tiny than either of the WG’s.

I did really enjoy this book – the wit and humor of the two WG’s, the themes of love and acceptance and stuff. It was entertaining, and I read it in less than 24 hours. The writing is a bit pretentious sometimes, but at least it kept it from being boring.

I liked Cool WG a lot more than Lame WG, obviously. He’s kind of trying to live in the background of life, which is easy because he’s friends with Tiny. He starts to have a crush on a girl but fights it so much, which was annoying for a bit. But I liked how close he was with Tiny and how he usually stood up for him, and I liked that him and Jane (his crush) talk about the Schrödinger’s cat experiment, which sounds completely random but I loved that it was in there because of my recent fondness for reading about quantum physics. Also, this Will’s chapters are where you get to see the most of Tiny, and since he was my favorite character it makes sense that I just automatically liked these chapters more.

I get a little stabby when I think about Lame WG. He annoyed the bejeezus out of me. Not because he’s gay, but because he’s an asshole who blames everything on his clinical depression. I guess I’m just sick of YA books including some kid who’s depressed. YOU DON’T HAVE DEPRESSION, YOU’RE A GODDAMN TEENAGER WHO IS HAVING A HARDER TIME THAN NORMAL HANDLING BEING A TEENAGER. (I don’t believe in diagnosing minors with any sort of mental depression/disorder, and I REALLY don’t believe in putting them on medications for it, because how the hell are they supposed to learn how to cope if they don’t just work through whatever they’re feeling? We’re raising a whole generation of kids who will not be able to function as adults because they spent their childhood years drugged up instead of learning how to handle their emotions and actions. End rant.) Anyways, Lame WG was annoying. Not that he wasn’t mildly amusing when he said funny things (“you know how sometimes you see a really sexy baby?”), but he was just frustrating. I definitely wanted to smack him about a hundred times.  On a good note though, thanks to Tiny’s help he eventually rises above his own drama and becomes less irritating.

A couple of other things…

  • Why is it that teens in these uber-popular YA books lately go apeshit for local underground indie music? I’m so sick of that… for once I’d like to see characters just like these, but who are into classical or rap or country or anything other than indie-punk. The percentage of teens who know about and actively seek out local underground music is low, I promise.
  • I think I’ll try another John Green book. This is the first thing I’ve read by him, and Cool WG & Tiny Cooper were good characters.
  • I am never reading another David Levithan book. The only good thing I’ve read by him is Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, in which he writes the part of Dash. But everything else I’ve read by him involves annoying, emo characters and I’m-trying-too-hard writing, and just UGH. I’m done with him.
  • I loved that both WG’s mentioned Austen-related books and movies. MORE BOYS SHOULD READ JANE AUSTEN.
  • I loved the theme of homosexuality and acceptance, but more than anything this book was about one awesome person, and how much one person can make a big difference in the lives of others.

So, it was a good book, even though I hated Lame WG. It made me laugh out loud several times, so I definitely recommend it, and it was a good readathon pick! I’m glad I bought it.


Sarah Says: 4 stars




  1. Haha, lame WG annoyed me, too! I did read The Realm of Possibility by Levithan a few years back and enjoyed it, but now I wonder if that enjoyment was more circumstantial (I didn’t read as much back then, and I was reading all GLBT lit, which is mostly terrible). You should definitely read another John Green — I recommend Paper Towns!

    Also, the Indie music thing makes sense to me. The pretentious kids were always into stuff like that, and “I hate pop music” and whatnot. John Green’s characters are a bit pretentious, so I never questioned the indie music love (I was friends with a lot of pretentious kids in high school, I guess!)


  2. I haven’t read WG WG yet, but it’s on my list. I can see this book being a bit confusing for me. I’ve read all of John Green’s others. I’d recommend Looking For Alaska. It was the first I read and it was histerically funny and at times a little sad. I don’t think there were any suppressed characters, just nerdy smart ones.


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