4/5 Text Publishing There are two Will Graysons, which may not seem like a big deal until a series of events ensure their lives collide in the most spectacular fashion. The first Will Grayson, whose chapters are written by John Green, is the indie hero of the modern day. Ask him to name the B-sides from the latest Wilco album and it’s done. Get him to show a little emotion and you’re in for a treat. This Will Grayson builds his life around flying under the radar. He’s average looking, average intelligence. He’s average.
His best friend is Tiny Cooper and the opposite of the inconspicuous Will Grayson. Tiny is tall, large and oh-so-camp. Together they navigate Tiny’s string of relationships and Will’s inability to care about a girl who actually likes him. But for the most part their greatest struggle is getting into over-21 music gigs.
Then there is David Levithan’s will grayson. His chapters are written in lower case because this will grayson doesn’t care. Doesn’t care about his mother, doesn’t care about his one friend, maura, doesn’t care about life, and he certainly doesn’t care about capital letters. The one thing he does care about is isaac, his secret online crush, whom he’s never met, but is desperately in love with.
This Will grayson is the genuine voice of the depressed teenager. David Levithan, whose experience of growing up with this forbidden love has been the subject of much of his work, channels his knowledge into an interesting character who, despite his obsessive negativity, is quite likeable.
The novel takes off when the two Will Graysons are brought together through chance and they learn that each has much to offer the other. It’s a risky concept, but Levithan and Green nail it, producing a story that shows perhaps there is something in a name. The novel tackles serious teenage struggles, but in the hands of these uniquely funny writers they are turned into something defiantly positive.