Published: May 10th 2012 by Penguin Books Ltd
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.
“You like someone who can't like you back because unrequited love can be survived in a way that once-requited love cannot. ”Thank you Penguin Books for providing me with a copy for review.
DNF at 50 %
Let's play a game of Never Have I Ever. Never Have I Ever had the chance to read an LGBT novel, which just means a novel that deals with homosexuality. There have been times when I encountered some aspects of it in books I'd read, yet never has it had such a big impact on the story. Will Grayson, Will Grayson therefore felt like a breath of fresh air. Even though it does not matter whether love is between the same sex or not, it was interesting to see the falling in love from a very different perspective. However, this is as far as my praise for this book goes. Yes, it was a disappointing read. It took me two whole months, if not longer, to read the first half of the book. I had plenty of time on my hands to pick the book up and finish it in a couple of hours, but I never felt the need to. The more I did read, the more I wanted to set it down and not continue. Like many, it started off on an interesting note, and then drifted off to nowhere, resulting in a DNF.
When reading a book which is written by two completely different authors, it was hardly impossible to not pay attention - and compare - their writing styles. Unpopular opinion time: John Green isn't my favourite author in the entire world, and I feel like this book has yet again confirmed that he is not the most talented one out there. As with his other books, his chapters of Will Grayson, Will Grayson are full of unnecessary metaphors, combined with a boring male protagonist and a thin plot. I also often found myself being irritated with his writing style in this book and with the way how it came across with little emotion and a lack of depth. It even shone through in his male protagonist, as I liked Will Grayson far less than the other one.
All the reasons above made me lean more towards David Levithan, author of the even chapters and thus the other half of the book. I must admit that it took me a while to settle into his way with words, and the fact that he decided to throw grammar overboard, though it was kind of worth the effort. I liked his chapters just so much more. It was easier to get a grip on the way he portrayed his characters personalities and their vivid thoughts and emotions. Sometimes his writing style did get to a point where it was just annoying, but fortunately it never lasted for long.
Because I clearly preferred Leviathan over Green, the same went for their characters. Specifically when it comes to their protagonists. While Green's Will Grayson is just a replica of all the other male protagonists in his other books, Leviathan's will grayson is the one who had immediately sparked my interest upon starting the book. I had never encountered such a self-centered, pessimistic, not-giving-fucks-to-anyone character before. He was such a struggle, yet a pleasure to read. As with every character in this book, it was also hard for me to really connect with him, despite his words sounding more real to me than anyone else in this book did. The other characters just complained a lot and were overall kind of boring. This brings me to a character who frustrated me so much to the point of wanting to chuck the book at the wall: Tiny Cooper.
It has been pointed out that despite the two Will Graysons, this book should have been called Tiny Cooper, Tiny Cooper, and I completely agree. Whatever was left of the plot after the two Wills met, was filled up with Tiny's musical and Tiny's romance, and so on. I don't know if it was the actual intention to come up with such a stereotypical gay character. It seemed to mock homosexuals more than anything else, because there is so much more to a person than just his sexual orientation. Tiny is described as being 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. I feel like he should be a funny and adoring character, but it rarely comes across as such.
As far as the story goes, it is not something I would immediately start reading after having read the synopsis. Eventually the hype pushed me towards reading it, and I can't say I'm glad I did. This book feels like a little fragment taken out of two very ordinary teenage lives. It seemed to me like a lot of the book was just a build-up for what's still to come, and dragged a lot of the time. In the end, it led up to this big and life-changing moment where the two Will Graysons would finally meet. I think I expected too much of it, because nothing really happened. As Tiny began to take control over what was left of the book, I quickly decided it was enough. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is overrated, although I know it will please fans of John Green's other books. It just wasn't my cup of tea.