Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teen Fiction Tuesday: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 304
Reading Level: 14 and up

From goodreads.com:

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens--both named Will Grayson--are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most fabulous high school musical.

John Green is my favorite author. I'll just get that out of the way now. I could gush about his books for days, but I'll try to contain myself. With Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I knew I could expect in-depth characters, an interesting story, and great writing. But, this book wasn't written by one author; it was written by two. Although David Levithan is another popular young adult author, I had never read one of his books before, so I didn't know what to expect. What I found was brilliance.

Each author wrote from the perspective of one of the Will Graysons in alternating chapters. I expected to love John Green's Will Grayson, and I did. Will is a typical teenager dealing with life, love, and friendship. His best friend, Tiny Cooper, is a larger-than-life character who is both extraordinary and believable at the same time. The humor and honesty in these chapters was highly enjoyable.

Even though I loved John Green's Will, I have to say that David Levithan's Will blew me away. Will is a teenager dealing with depression and I was astounded by how real the depression was portrayed. I've heard reviewers’ comment that this Will was unlikable in the beginning, but I disagree. As a mental health professional, I know quite a bit about depression and I saw Will's "unlikable" behavior as a reaction to the depression. This endeared the character to me instead of pushing me away. It has been a very long time since I've felt so connected to a character. Also, there was more plot in this storyline, so I enjoyed that aspect as well.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is that I couldn't predict the story. Specifically, there is a huge moment in the middle of the book (I won't spoil it) that completely took me off guard. I literally stared at the page for several minutes in shock. I had to re-read the previous passage a few times before it sunk in enough for me to move on. The shock and emotion that part elicited has been unmatched by anything else I've read.

I can't think of anything I didn't like about this book. It was fabulous from beginning to end. I actually stayed up till two am on a weekday, just so I could finish the story. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Happy reading!

~ Rose

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