Review | Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green

Meet Will Grayson: an apathetic teenage boy.

And, meet Will Grayson: an apathetic teenage boy.

(Trust me, I’m talking about two different people.)



Will Grayson knows the best way to get through life is to not care. Caring leads to attachment. Attachment leads to happiness. Happiness leads to ultimate disappointment.

He does have friends…just not ones he really wants. And the person he wants might not even be the one for him. Life is dull. And the only way to get through it is to plug in and tune out.

That is, until the night he meets Will Grayson.


Of all of the books that John Green has written, this is certainly the most unlike the others. I say this because the focus is not on a boy chasing after a girl. This book is about a boy trying to find a reason to care. Actually, it’s about two boys finding a reason to care. I think that’s such an interesting idea, especially since the two have the same name.

The whole plot is about these characters learning what means to be a friend, to be in relationships—romantic and platonic alike. I like how the meeting between the Graysons doesn’t immediately change their lives…it’s just a turning point.

I do have huge issue with the ending, which was both cheesy and sort of unbelievable.


I would argue that there are three main characters: Will Grayson, will grayson, and Tiny Cooper.

Will Grayson reminds me of Greg from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. He’s trying not to care because caring leads to hurt. I like that over the course of the story it slowly reveals that humans can’t help but care. That being said he’s not exactly a likeable character. While I like his obsession with bands, besides that he doesn’t have any particular qualities that make him stand out.

will grayson, on the other hand, is depressed. This is likely due to hiding the fact that he’s gay. While I feel like Will avoids caring to prevent getting hurt, will avoids caring because he can’t believe someone could care about him. He has an ideal, and when that ideal is shattered, he begins to learn how people interact in relationships.

Tiny Cooper is the exact opposite of these two: loud, exuberant, and loving life. He’s an entertaining character, though, like Will, I don’t think I’d choose to be his friend.

That being said, I don’t think I particularly like any of these characters. Tiny is a little too over the top and the Graysons are a little to apathetic in contrast. The star of the book is their interactions, the way they talk to each other and what they do for each other.


What’s great about the books writing style is the way that it was organized. Apparently, John Green and David Levithan wrote their opening chapters separately, exchanged them, and continued the story from there.

The two authors make the Graysons distinct from one another despite being very similar in terms of basic character, and the story is surprisingly cohesive despite the rather independent origins.


This is a book about friendship and individuality. In many ways, I feel like Tiny is the real protagonist, teaching the Graysons what it means to be a friend.

The two Will graysons, on the other hand, are very much about individuality. When the one thing that identifies you is no longer just yours…what do you do? I really like how the meeting of the two Graysons doesn’t really change them  immediately, or even explicitly. It makes them think about themselves, without really pushing it, and I like that subtlety.

Final Verdict

Recommendation: Buy. This may be one of my favourite John Green books after Paper Towns. It’s a story about friendship more than it is about romance. It’s about identity.


9 thoughts on “Review | Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green”

    1. It came out recently, right? Hm, as much as I like Tiny, I’m not rushing to read his musical. I feel like it would be a hilarious, light read, so maybe if I’m in the mood, I’ll look into it.


    2. Yeah, it just came out a couple of months ago. I was pretty excited for it, and picked it up almost immediately, but I was disappointed, because it didn’t really add anything to the story. It was funny, though.


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