Publishing Info: April 6, 2010 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 6, 2015
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Will Grayson meets Will Grayson. One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers are about to cross paths. From that moment on, their world will collide and lives intertwine.
It's not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Chicago suburbanites Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live on different planets. When fate delivers them both to the same surprising crossroads, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected directions. With a push from friends new and old - including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, offensive lineman and musical theater auteur extraordinaire - Will and Will begin building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most awesome high school musical.
Full disclosure: I really only read this book because of the audiobook narrators. I’ve really struck out with both authors on multiple occasions (not terrible but enough to make me feel like I wasn’t anxious to pick up anything else by them) so I was super nervous to read WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON… But with two of my favorite audio narrators ever (Nick Podehl and MacLeod Andrews), I knew I had to give it a shot!
I was actually… pleasantly surprised! WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON was enjoyable from start to finish and it ended up being a really quick read/listen for me. I wasn’t totally in love with the book since Will Grayson #2 was a bit hard to like sometimes due to his generally surly demeanor and Will Grayson #1 was a bit more closed off… But it was also really interested to watch those characters change and grow throughout the book! I really did like the character development, seeing how their relationships changed, and how they really grew up and gained confidence along the way.
The story takes place in the suburbs of Chicago which is where I’m from so really I was dying for more specific locations so I could really put myself in the book! Will Grayson #2 is from Naperville which I’ve known all my life, I have relatives who live there, and that’s also where my husband used to live so I was trying to dissect which high school he went to but there really weren’t any clues given. I guess it’s probably better and more universal not to reference a specific high school or place when referencing a real town but I really wanted to pretend like I knew exactly where Will Grayson lived!
I think I was hoping for a quicker merge of the two Will Grayson story lines. Now that I’m looking back, I can’t remember exactly how long it took them to meet (halfway through the book? Not quite as far?) but I do remember wishing it had been just a bit sooner. I also was imagining their stories would be much more connected. They aren’t quite a part of each other’s lives but they do end up with mutual friends/acquaintances from their meeting.
Overall, the book was fun, quick, and I really did enjoy from start to finish. There were some small moments where I think I had expectations that didn’t quite pan out (in general, just my impression of what the book was going to be) so I wasn’t as invested as I possibly could have been. I also had the hang-up that I wasn’t a huge fan of either author before starting but it was kind of nice to have this book renew my faith a bit! I don’t know if I’m motivated to pick up more from either author but it was a very pleasant experience and a really nice read!
MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl are two of my favorite audiobook narrators and really they’re the sole reason why I decided to grab this book on sale from Audible! They were both stellar, as always, and I just love the amount of feeling and sincerity each narrator puts into the character. They really do make the characters come alive and feel like real people and not just like I’m listening to someone read me pages from a book. I love how they really bring the story to life and almost make me feel like I’m watching a movie instead of listening to a book! It was so strange to hear Nick Podehl as an incredibly surly teenager since I’m so used to listening to his voice as a jollier character in Kvothe from Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle! I do love that each time I listen to these narrators, the characters really do feel totally different from previous listens as well.
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Will Grayson #1 (Evanston) // Character Obsessions: Friendship (with Tiny), keeping his mouth shut, maintaining a low profile.
I kind of felt for Will Grayson #1. One of his general rules is to keep his mouth shut so as not to draw attention to himself and that’s really something that I sort of ended up doing a lot in my life. I suppose not as much to disappear as to avoid conflict, but I definitely did connect to him more than I did to the other Will. It was interesting to see his range of emotion and how hard it was for him to personally connect with other people and I thought it was really neat to watch him allow those feelings to come through.
Will Grayson #2 (Naperville) // Character Obsessions: Isaac, avoiding people, generally being surly.
Ooh Will Grayson #2 was really hard for me to like at first — and I know it’s supposed to be that way. He’s incredibly unhappy with most aspects of his life and it causes him to treat other people terribly. I really did like that he ended up coming around and really finding ways to be happy, find true confidence, and making a few friends!
Kept Me Hooked On: John Green. I had totally written off John Green as a “not for me” author. I read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES and both were okay books but nothing stellar. I think this is my favorite of his works so far. Still not amazing for me but it was the one that I’ve enjoyed reading the most to date.
Left Me Wanting More: Crossing paths. I was expecting and had hoped for more of a Will/Will friendship. Although they met and ended up being connected to each other’s lives, they really didn’t end up becoming friends or directly affecting each other’s paths.
This is actually one I’d recommend! If you’re meh about John Green like I was, this may be a nice book to try if you’re thinking about taking another chance. Obviously I recommend the audio because the two narrators are just wonderful! If you have positive to no opinions about either author, I think this could be a good read for you! So many other people loved it and I really see why.
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(Click the cover to see my review!)
6 thoughts on “Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan”
I add this to my list after reading TFiOS. But I’ve tried two other John Green books and found them kid of meh. As a result this on just keeps sliding down the list. I want to give the audiobook a shot now! I hope my library has it!
One of my favourites because it is just so different from what I normally read. Plus, it reminds me a little of the Perks of Being a Wallflower but a toned down version (ie not as Awesome).
I actually forgot that this book was written by John Green until YEARS later.
A lot of people love this book, but for whatever reason I was never eager to read it. However, knowing you went in with more-or-less the same feelings as me and still enjoying it makes me a bit more curious. I’m glad you liked this one. Thanks for the review!
I totally agree with you – I didn’t 100% love it – or even like it – but I liked it enough. This is one of the books that I say the audiobook is much better than the physical book. The narrators brought the characters to life – and they even sang which I loved.
Good review. Glad you gave it a chance. I enjoyed this one as well, but I agree it would have been nice if the stories had merged sooner. I love dual author books where they write alternating chapters. I need to read more of them. I love John Green!
I’m glad you liked this one. I also got the audiobook because I love these narrators. Contemporary is tricky for me but this does sound interesting and I like the intertwining of lives concept.