Thursday, May 13, 2010
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
So help me God, I have been waiting for this book to come available to me from the library for what feels like FOREVER. For. Ev. Er. For. Ev. Er. (make sure it sounds just like that kid in the movie The Sandlot... For. Ev. Er. For. Ev. Er.). But I finally got the email saying it was mine, so I praised Jesus and promptly went to the library and snatched this sucker up.
Something really cool happened when I started this book, which was written by the Kings of Young Adult. About five pages into it, I realized that even though I knew the basic premise, I had not actually read the summary on the dust jacket. So I flipped it open, and one word jumped out at me immediately: Naperville.
Umm, holy crap! I grew up in Naperville!
Emily Giffin (of Something Borrowed and Something Blue fame) is from Naperville. In fact, she and I graduated from the same high school, albeit about fifteen years apart. One thing I loved about the above books was that her two main characters Rachel and Darcy were from Naperville as well, though Giffin for some weird reason chose to make the Naperville in these books in Indiana. But John Green and David Levithan stay true to life and keep the town where it belongs: near Chicago. And that means that JG and DL get a giant freaking thumbs up from me and my slightly OCD-ish desire to make every piece of the puzzle fit into the big picture nicely.
Anyway, needless to say I got really excited because I love references to my hometown. I get to "legally" imagine the characters walking the halls of my high school. I get to wonder which neighborhood they live in, and I can pick one that I think best fits. It just adds to the fun of reading, in my opinion.
So Will Grayson, Will Grayson is basically the story of two average sixteen-year-old kids with the same name (I'll give you one guess what their name is). They both live in suburbs of Chicago (Evanston and Naperville) and encounter each other in a chance meeting at a porn shop. This happy coincidence is a turning point in both their lives, and from there the two Will Graysons go on to discover more about themselves and what matters most.
I really loved this book. I loved how JG and DL gave each of these Will Graysons such wonderfully distinct voices and personalities. The supporting characters were great, and I found myself laughing out loud at so many classic one liners scattered throughout the book. This book was so different from anything I have read lately, and it was really a refreshing and fun read. Despite these laugh out loud moments, I don't think this book was meant to be purely comedy. The themes of this book are much more serious, and it explores various relationships in ways that I think few YA books ever have before. And the ending was absolutely beautiful. It was unexpected and completely refreshing and so full of awesomeness that I can't describe it. You imagine this whole book is leading in one direction, and then SMACK! It hits you right in the face and goes somewhere totally different. Love.
My only complaint about the book was that I would occasionally run across small continuity errors. One Will Grayson at one point mentioned he lived in an apartment, and yet throughout the rest of the book his dwelling is called a house. Things like that in books sometimes throw me off a bit, but overall it didn't overly impede my enjoyment of the book.