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Will Grayson, Will Grayson Paperback – May 10, 2012
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2010: What's in a name? A pretty fantastic book idea, for starters. At heart, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is about a couple of kids figuring out how to be themselves. Two of those kids happen to have the same name, and not much in common outside of that, but their serendipitous friendship sets the stage for a much larger, braver, and more candid story than the simplicity of the plot might suggest. The relevance for teens here is clear--high school is the only time in your life when you have the undivided opportunity to obsess over your every move, sentence, and outfit change--but the part about understanding who you are doesn't stop when you graduate. That's what makes Will Grayson, Will Grayson as interesting a pick for adults as it is for teens: the questions don't get simpler, but looking at them through the eyes of a 16-year-old brings a welcome sense of honesty and humor to this thing called life. No one's ever too old to enjoy that. --Anne Bartholomew
Amazon Exclusive: David Levithan and John Green Talk About Names
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is about two teenage boys with the same name, whose lives intersect in unexpected ways. The book originated with the thought of giving two different boys the same name, and to give that name some meaning. It also comes from David's own experience. So to give you an inside peek at the making of the book, we figured it would be fun to give you insight into our own names, as well as Will Grayson’s.
To my knowledge, there are only two other David Levithans in the world – my dad’s cousin, and a lawyer in South Africa who, as far as we can tell, isn’t family. The last name Levithan is actually the invention of an immigration official – when my great-grandfather came to America from Russia, it should have translated to Levitan. But somehow the h got in there. Now, whenever I meet another Levithan (which is rare), odds are good that he or she is related to me.
That said, the story of Will Grayson, Will Grayson came from someone whose name is close to mine, but not identical. David Leventhal went to Brown at the same time I did, and people would confuse us often.
This ended up being something of a joke, because David was an extraordinary dancer, while I was…not an extraordinary dancer. So people would exclaim, “We had no idea someone as clumsy as you could be so graceful on stage!” and I’d have to say, “Well, un, that wasn’t me.” Finally, right before graduation, I contacted David and we met up. We became instant friends, and when we both moved to New York after college, we were always in each other’s company. The similarity of our names often threw people for a loop… and I thought, well, that might make an interesting story.
Amusingly, David Leventhal’s college roommate’s name was . . . Jon Green.
I was named after my great-grandfather, John Michael Crosby, an itinerant minor-league baseball manager and occasional catcher. I like my name, but being a John Green can certainly be inconvenient, because there are a lot of us. Among many others, there is John Green the realtor in Mississippi (who owns johngreen.com, much to my chagrin), John Green the Australian botanist, and of course John Green the world-renowned Bigfoot scholar. This last John Green, who is so revered in the field of Bigfoot research that he is often called “one of the four horseman of Sasquatchery,” is kind of my mortal enemy. I once wrote a magazine article in which I passingly noted that Bigfoot is, you know, fictional, and John Green replied with a letter arguing that my anti-Bigfoot stance was besmirching the good name of John Greens everywhere.
Such is the curse of being a John Green. Or a Will Grayson, for that matter.
We decided that I (David) would choose our character’s first name, and John would choose his last name. I liked the name Will because of its different, sometimes contradictory, meanings. As a noun, it can be so strong – where there’s a will, there’s a way, and whatnot. But as a verb, it’s split. Sometimes it’s just as definite (It will be done!), but that definiteness is underscored by an uncertainty – you say it will be done, but it hadn’t been done yet, has it? And put it at the start of a question (“Will you still love me tomorrow?”) and it becomes the entrance for all kinds of vulnerability. That seemed right for the characters.
I liked Grayson because whenever I would hear that name, it always sounded to me like “grace in,” which always struck me as a richly ambiguous phrase – is “grace in” the beginning of a clause or the end of it? Are we being asked to find grace in something, or to let grace in? Those questions seemed like interesting ones for the guy I wanted to write about. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–Told in alternating chapters, with alternating narrators, John Green and David Levithan's brilliant story is beautifully rendered in audiobook format. When Will Grayson, an awkward teen who is unsure of how to connect with others without getting hurt, and will grayson, an angry, gay teen, both living in the suburbs of Chicago, meet by chance, their lives are forever changed…and connected. Will Grayson's gay best friend, Tiny Cooper, suddenly becomes will grayson's new boyfriend. The relationship doesn't last, though, and the aftereffects almost shatter Will and Tiny's friendship. Delving deep into the relationships in each teen's life, the authors address friendship, self-identity and acceptance, true love, family, and prejudice in a novel sure to touch the hearts of listeners. MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl give wholly believable and heart-rending performances. The narrators also provide wonderful singing performances when snippets from Tiny's musical, “Tiny Dancer,” appear in the text. This title contains some strong language and adult themes, but is an excellent addition to high school collections.Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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The characters themselves were amazingly easy to understand. Even though I couldn't actually relate to any of the situations they were in I still felt like the feelings were conveyed really well. The depression one of the Will's suffers was explained very realistically in the book and was handled in a way I haven't seen in many books before. He isn't discovering his depression, he's just at the point where he's living with it and it isn't romanticized. The other Will is going through problems with his love life (with Jane) and his friendship (with Tiny). I connected really well with the problems he was facing with Tiny and I felt it was solved in a wonderfully touching way.
Overall I read this book in only a few hours, so it was a pretty quick read for me. I just didn't want to put it down. It was incredibly funny to the point where i actually was laughing out loud and by the end I had cried at least once. I would recommend this to most readers as a great book about love and friendship.
Some of my favorite quotes:
-That's the thing about Tiny: his problems are so huge that yours can hide behind them.
-If anyone ever uses lol with me, I rip my computer right out of the wall and smash it over the nearest head.
-You like someone who can't like you back because unrequited love can be survived in a way that once-requited love cannot.
-One of these days, I keep telling myself, you'll learn to truly shut up and not care.
-But I mean, why do you have to fix the salad? Who broke it? I didn't touch it. Did you break the salad, mom? If you did, YOU'D BETTER FIX IT!
-Being gay is not an excuse for being a dick.
-It's all about falling you land and get up so you can fall again it's all about falling I won't be afraid to hit the wall again.
It has these more serious moments and it has parts that are kinda unbelievable and at one point or another every character is unlikable and they all have flaws and some parts in this book are just plain annoying but overall it's just fun. I feel like this is not a book that takes itself seriously which I love. I don't imagine it's one of those books that can change your life or the way you see things it's just a book that is extremely fun to read.(Jeez why don't I say fun one more time?) Fun.
I'm not gonna say it had the best plot or the best characters or the best hidden message or that it was even the funniest book I've ever read, I'm just saying I really enjoyed reading it and that's enough for me. It didn't give me all the feels but also it didn't annoy me to no end or make me want to smash my head against the wall. It's not a book that I will never forget but it is a book that I will read over and over again and that's really all you can ask a book to be isn't it? Something you want to read again and again just because it's fun?
Okay that's the end of this increasingly weird/bad review!
Would I Recommend This? Yes
Who To? People who just want a good book that can make them laugh and that they don't have to take too seriously.
Will I read more from this author(or series)? Is that even a question?