Synopsis Snippet: One cold night, serendipity plays its part to allow two Will Graysons to cross paths. A chance encounter which will shake up both of these teens and their romantic worlds.
The Cast: The characters are wonderful. Flawed teenagers with a mix of personalities, sexualities, body-shapes and senses of humor. Unfortunately, the cast is definitely white-washed.
Romance Aspects: This is a book (mostly) about boy romance, explored in a way I’ve never read before. Boys with boys, boys with girls, boys unsure of what or who to/if/when they should/why to love.
Language: Alternates between the two authors writing each about a different Will Grayson. Each style is different enough that you immediately know which character is “on-stage” at any time; yet the two manners or writing blend together so well as to work as a cohesive story beautifully.
Fat treatment: There are a range of body-shapes in this book and the treatment of one self-loving character (Tiny) is so well-done and stunningly non-fat-hatred that it made me almost sob with relief. Here was a character (a teen no less) who was not only exploring the intersection of fatness and gayness, but who did so in a loving way. It will likely be the rare reader who doesn’t end up loving Tiny Cooper!
Review: This is easily one of my new favorites. The characters are diverse and believable, the plot is fun and thoughtful at the same time and the reflections are poignant without making you want to sob from the cruelties of the world. Also, the humor was liberally sprinkled throughout to lighten even the few harsh/tense moments.
Great Quotes: Some awesome tidbits that might get your curiosity going.
“When I was little, my dad used to tell me, “Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.” ”
“Tiny Cooper is not the world’s gayest person, and he is not the world’s largest person, but I believe he may be the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large.”
“i feel my life is so scattered right now. like it’s all these small pieces of paper and someone’s turned on the fan. but talking to you makes me feel like the fan’s been turned off for a little bit. like things could actually make sense. you completely unscatter me, and i appreciate that so much.”
“after tiny has tried ballerina pose, swing-batter-batter pose, pump-up-the-jam pose, and top-of-the-mountain-sound-of-music pose in the reflection of the bean, he walks us to a bench overlooking lake shore drive. i think he’ll be all sweaty because, let’s face it, most fat people get sweaty just from lifting the twinkie to their mouth. but tiny is just too fabulous to sweat.”
Final Verdict: I love this book. The characters, the chance to see sexuality as not so cut and dried, to see an actual positive portrayal of a fat teen, all of these lead to what I found to be a fun, beautiful story. I read the hardcover version but heard from many of my fellow classmates (who also read this as a break from some of the more intense YA books we had been reading) that the audiobook for this is amazing as well.
So, have you read this yet? Would you now want to? Would you suggest it to someone else?