Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

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Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan ISBN: 978-0142418475, Speak; Reprint edition (April 5, 2011)

Plot Summary:

Will Grayson is a well adjusted, straight A student whose middle class parents are extremely caring and supportive. He also happens to be the best friend of an extremely large, extremely gay football player whose dream of staging an autobiographical play is putting a serious dent in Will’s two step plan to make it through high school: 1. Shut up. 2. Don’t care too much. Will Grayson is an entirely different boy who is suffering from depression, and whose single parent mother is struggling to make ends meet. The only thing that makes life bearable for the second Will Grayson is IMing with Isaac, a boy that he met online that he has fallen in love with. The second Will Grayson and Isaac arrange to meet in Chicago on the same night that the first Will Grayson and his friends decide to go to a concert. Their paths cross and both boy’s lives are changed forever.

Critical Evaluation: 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is really two stories told alternately. John Green wrote the odd numbered chapters and David Levithan wrote the even numbered pages. This unique structure allowed the authors to each tell a story in his own words that they later connected together. Both protagonists possess strong voices and each character undergoes a metamorphosis that leaves him stronger in the end. The first Will Grayson tries to live his life in the shadows and describes himself as being in orbit around his best friend, Tiny Cooper, a larger than life figure who has decided to write and direct a play about himself. The second Will Grayson is differentiated from the first by Levithan’s use of lower case text, a metaphor for how he sees himself. This Will Grayson suffers from depression and is also in the process of coming out about his sexual identity. Tiny Cooper is element that binds the two characters together and also forces them to change. By the end of the novel, the first Will Grayson has come out of his shell and the second Will Grayson has learned how to open up and gained a friend.

Information about the author:

John Green is a New York Times bestselling author who has received numerous awards, including both the Printz Medal and a Printz Honor. John is also the cocreator (with his brother, Hank) of the popular video blog Brotherhood 2.0, which has been watched more than 30 million times by Nerdfighter fans all over the globe. John Green lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

David Levithan (born September 7, 1972; Short Hills, New Jersey) is an American young-adult fiction editor and award-winning author. His first book, Boy Meets Boy, was published in 2003. He has written numerous works featuring strong male gay characters, most notably Boy Meets Boy and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. At 19, Levithan received an internship at Scholastic Corporation where he began working on the The Baby-sitters Club series. Seventeen years later, Levithan is still working for Scholastic as an editorial director. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a young-adult imprint of Scholastic Press focusing on new voices and new authors. PUSH publishes edgier material for young adults and is where Patricia McCormick got her start with 2002’s Cut. In an interview with Barnes & Noble, Levithan claimed that he learned how to write books that were both funny and touching…

Reader’s Annotation:

Will Grayson and Will Grayson are two completely different boys. Will Grayson has friends, is college bound and does his best to 1. Shut up. 2. Don’t care too much. Will Grayson has no friends that he cares about and is fighting a constant battle to keep from killing himself. They are about to meet on one crazy night that will change both their lives.

Genre:

Realistic Fiction. LGBTQ literature

Curriculum Ties:

N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

Have you ever met someone that looks like you or has a similar name to you? 

Reading Level/Interest Age:

Grades 9 and up

Challenge Issues:

Language, sexual situations, LGBTQ issues, suicidal thoughts.

I would make sure that all material was purchased in accordance with my library’s collection development policy and make sure to keep a file containing positive reviews for books that I thought might be challenged. In the event of a challenge, I would actively listen to the parent’s concern and ask if they had read the book. I would then explain why the book had been added to the collection and provide with the reviews and a copy of the collection development policy. I would affirm that they are within their rights to limit what their children read, but that other parents also have the right to determine what their children can read. If all else failed, I would provide the parent with a reconsideration form.

Reasons for inclusion:

I wanted to include more LGBTQ titles for diversity.

 

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