First published in May 2014.
I love John Green and David Levithan, so the very fact that they collaborated on a novel together excited me rather a lot. I couldn’t wait to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and it was almost agony to put it onto my to-read shelves and wait for its title to come out of my book choice jar, rather than to begin it straight after purchasing it from Waterstone’s Piccadilly. I was patient, however, and thankfully I didn’t have too long to wait to read it.
My favourite John Green novel – rather predictably, I suppose – is The Fault in Our Stars, and my favourite of David Levithan’s is the fabulous Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares (written with Rachel Cohn), which I read every Christmastime without fail. (Also, I must mention that the periwinkle coloured Penguin cover of Will Grayson, Will Grayson is just lovely.)
I tried not to read many reviews of the novel before I started to readit, but from what I’ve seen, it appears to be a ‘Marmite’ book of sorts, and is either loved or hated. Its premise is simple yet clever:
“One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers cross paths. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, culminating in heroic turns-of-heart and the most epic musical ever to grace the high-school stage.”
I loved the nod to Neutral Milk Hotel at the start of the book (a great band, and the favourite band of my favourite band’s frontman). As with most of Green and Levithan’s characters, almost everyone was instantly likeable (aside from Maura, that is). Each protagonist in Will Grayson, Will Grayson had noticeable flaws, but they felt all the more human for it. The stories of each Will Grayson blend seamlessly, and I very much liked the different literary techniques which the authors had used to differentiate their protagonists from one another. Out of both Will Graysons, I much preferred the gay one (I am almost entirely sure that this is Levithan’s creation); he was quite simply adorable. The same can be said for Tiny, the character who essentially links both Wills.
Elements of both authors’ novels have been skilfully woven in – there is a love story a la John Green, which is rather unexpected but warms the heart nonetheless; there are many references to homosexuality, as in David Levithan’s books, and a few gay characters – all of whom I would love to call friends; and there is wit, humour, and even hilariousness at some points. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is an immensely difficult book to put down, and the authors write so well together that I hope they choose to collaborate again in future (multiple times, please, gentlemen. You know you want to.). The novel has been perfectly executed, and I would heartily recommend it to everyone in search of a heartwarming and amusing novel.