Oh, how I wish I could meet Tiny Cooper. He is so the kind of guy I would have adored hanging out with in high school. Will Grayson thinks so too, he just doesn't realize it right away.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson (Dutton, 2010) is told in alternating first person point of view by two different boys named Will Grayson. Somehow, Green and Levithan weave their two stories along distant paths until circumstance brings them together. Both Wills end up playing a large part in the life (and in the play about the life) of the larger than life Tiny Cooper.
Tiny Cooper has been Will Grayson's best friend since they were kids. Will knew Tiny was gay long before Tiny told anyone. It was kind of obvious. And even though Will and Tiny drifted apart for a while, they are finding their way back into friendship. Tiny isn't the easiest person to be friends with -- he's loud, over the top about everything, and is known for speaking his mind.
Their friendship is tested as Tiny and Will wade through the dark waters of high school, making their way toward something that promises to be a bright future.
At the same time, the other Will Grayson is struggling to come to terms with his own sexual identity and mental health, the obsessive goth girl next door who wishes she were his girlfriend, an absentee father and an ongoing online crush.
There is a wonderful serendipity when these two teenage boys with nothing more in common than their names meet and end up helping the other figure out a few things about themselves. But of course none of it would have happened without Tiny Cooper.
I strongly recommend the book if only to meet this amazingly drawn character. How these two authors were able to build and sustain his personality in tandem is awe-inspiring.
But I would recommend this book regardless. WGWG is about so much more than what happens in high school, despite what happens in the book. It's the little details and underlying emotions that truly paint the picture of a time in life when every thing you do or say or wear or think can make you either a target for ridicule or akin to a god(dess). When the friends you choose to hang out with can make you or break you.
But as Will so eloquently demonstrates, you really can't pick your friends. Life picks them for you.
With strong language and themes, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is definitely a teen book -- 15 and up. 4 1/2 bookmarks. I recommend the audio book edition -- the two readers (MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl) are fantastic.