As I did with my Anna Karenina review, my rating of this book is actually an average of several ratings that this story earned as I read it. To be specific, I would give half of this book two stars, and the other half four stars.
The basic idea here is that there are two teenage boys named Will Grayson, and their lives intersect about a third into the book. The two Will Graysons alternate chapters, and the alternating chapters are written by two different authors (John Green and David Levithan). For clarity’s sake, I will refer to Green’s character as Will Grayson #1 and Levithan’s as Will Grayson #2, and discuss them accordingly.
Will #1 is your typical John Green Nerdy Boy Hero – he’s a loner but has a couple close friends to trade witty banter with, is delightfully dorky, likes to list things, and will fall in love with the first teenage girl character to be introduced. It should be mentioned that I did not have a problem with any of this, except maybe it’d be nice if I wasn’t able to guess which girl our hero would end up with as soon as she’s introduced. All I can say is thank god there’s no Manic Pixie Dream Girl to ruin his life this time. Instead we get Tiny Cooper, who if we’re being honest is the real focus of this book. I will let Will #1 introduce the concept of Tiny: “Tiny Cooper is not the world’s gayest person, and he is not the world’s largest person, but I believe 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.”
You will spend a lot of time with Tiny over the course of this book. You will either think Tiny is the best character ever created, or you will despise him. For my part, I am Pro-Tiny, but that’s mainly because the majority of my rage was focused on another character. Speaking of whom…
Will #2 is insufferable, a high school cliche in the worst way. He’s is self-absorbed, self-loathing, petty, and mean without the virtue of being clever. Take this exchange between him and his “friend” (term used accompanied by exaggerated quotation mark gestures and eyerolling) Maura:
“maura: are you gay?
me: what the fuck?
maura: it would be okay with me if you were.
me: oh, good, because the thing i’d be worried about the most is whether you were okay with it.
maura: i’m just saying.
me: noted. now will you just shut up and let me work, okay? or do you want me to use my employee discount to get you something for your cramps?
i think there really needs to be a rule against calling a guy’s sexuality into question while he’s working.”
No, you petulant jackass, there really needs to be a rule against using “Hurr, what’s wrong, you got your period?” as some kind of all-purpose comeback when you’re losing an argument with a girl. Like the only reason she’s even arguing with you in the first place is because she’s having her woman times. Get that bitch some Midol, quick!
Oh, and did you notice how he doesn’t capitalize anything? Every single Will #2 chapter is written that way. That alone made me want to throw grammar books at his head. This is a novel, not a fucking text message. Christ.
He gets a little better once he meets Will #1 and starts hanging out with that crowd, but I still kept wanting to smack him upside the head every couple of chapters.
Verdict: three out of five stars