Will Grayson, Will Grayson

by John Green and David Levithan

Both John Green and David Levithan are known for their witticism, and both also have created stories where things get out of hand, and the reality just seems larger than life/real — I often think of it as “ultra realism.”  And in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, you get a double dose of this over-the-top tone: Their nerds are just nerdier, their gay characters gayer, their jokes funnier, their sorrows more desperate, and their big finale of a High School Musical is so improbable that readers just have to suspend ALL disbelief (WILLINGLY) and simply enjoy the ride.

I enjoyed it for sure.  I laughed out loud many times — both are so good at coming up with amazingly intelligent and painfully truthful funny one-liners (or one-paragraphers.)

What intrigued me the whole way was how these two YA superstar authors collaborated.  Did they challenge each other with surprising scenarios or was it all planned out?  Am I right in assuming that one wrote the Gay Will Grayson part and the other the Straight Will Grayson part?  Who wrote which?  (I thought I got it down from the beginning but now I’m not so entirely sure!)

One of my high school students read the book (a big Levithan fan, didn’t know John Green and now became a fan, too) and did not love love it because it reminds this student too much of the REAL life drama that goes on around the group of friends.  It probably is painful.

No matter how ultra realistic this novel is, so much truth is dragged up from the bottom of a teenager’s heart that one cannot but admire the authors’ deep connection with their own inner teens and their abilities to capture all those feelings in words.

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