This is a charming, engaging, and "real" story. I say real instead of realistic because some of the plot is quite improbable, but the characters are utterly convincing and lovable. Although the story is teen-centric, I appreciated that the minor characters of parents are portrayed as caring and understanding human beings and not as stereotypes or buffoons. Even the flamboyant Tiny Cooper, who is figuratively and literally larger than life, has a complex persona. The device which drives the story (and which forces the plot into its contortions) is that there are two very different Will Graysons, each written by a different author and voiced by a different reader, whose lives intersect at a time of mutual identity crisis. If I had to attribute my enjoyment of the story to one factor, it would be the respect with which the authors treat their characters and their very real teen struggles--with depression, loneliness, fame, purpose, and all kinds of love. A warning to the squeamish--the language can be quite candid and streetwise sometimes, but this is part of the verisimilitude.
Nick Podehl is probably my favorite narrator of all time. This is the eighth book I have that he narrates, and every single time, he does it perfectly. He has never disappointed me.
I've only listened to MacLeod Andrews in one other novel before, and while I loved him in Monsters of Men (also with Nick Podehl!) it was nothing like this. He narrates his Will Grayson with so much much expression in just the tiniest inflections. The whole time I was reading, I felt astoundingly connected to this depressed, adorable, vulnerable boy. (And as a side-note, however much they have paid his for this, it cannot be enough, because not only does he read Will Grayson astoundingly well, but he also SINGS. I don't mean that he sings a couple lines, I mean that he SINGS whole enormous musical numbers.)
Now, about the book: The story is great. It's fun. It's hilariously fun. It's full of large hilariously gay stories.
The first Will Grayson is the pretty much just the unwilling best friend on Tiny Cooper, the enormous and flamboyantly gay dancer/playwright/football player.
The second Will Grayson is a depressed, angry character, who hates everything in his life. There is only one thing in his life that makes him happy. He lives for those moments few and far between moments where he can finally be happy, even for a moment. As I said already, Andrews's narration is what truly *makes* this character.
If you are looking for a novel about being gay, this is it. If you're looking for a novel about a depressed, angry boy, this is it. If you're looking for a novel that will make you happy, this is it. If you're looking for a novel about musicals, this is it. I really do feel like this novel has something for everyone. Are there things that I would change? Sure. Parts I don't like? Yeah. But all in all, it is a fun story.
I am on a mission to listen to all of the Odyssey Award winning recordings. ("This annual award is given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.") The more I listen to audiobooks, the more I understand how important the reader and the production are to the whole experience.
This book definitely is an award-winning audiobook experience.
It is also a very important story for all teens, whether straight or gay. Tiny Cooper is truly a larger than life character, and the ways that both Will Graysons grow and change are realistic and heartening.
While the content of this story is not for everyone, this book has great characters (Tiny Cooper), a compelling plot (two Wills), lots of humor (and cussing), and, most importantly, the two narrators are tremendous in bringing the two Wills to life. The audio won some award though I can't remember now what it was.
I listened to this book as a requirement for a Young Adult Literature grad class and was thoroughly delighted to discover how good the book was. I think mature young people would especially like this book, but it's also a good listen for open-minded adults. MacLeod Andrews also narrates The Lock Artist, which I really liked as well.
This is a deep, insightful, painful, tragically real book that gives readers a rare glimpse into the world of not one but two very different, but somehow deeply connected, inter-related lives. The emotions, the feelings, the awkwardness, it all rings absolutely true and is amazingly transmitted through the narrators. The book takes what could have been a confusing mess and, by using two authors, turns it into a masterpiece performance that makes the story much more than the sum of it's pages. I love audiobooks but, usually, I know that I am sacrificing something of the story. Not in this case. The narrators make sure you know the point of view you are in, portray multiple voices well, and even read what could be a tedious writing device, IM screen names, with an accelerating pace that makes you feel what the characters must be feeling. I finished this book feeling like I had connected to not only the characters, but the vision of the writers in a very big way. This is the way audiobooks should be done.
At ALA, Jamie from Bookmarked told me basically how much she loved David Levithan and John Green (and she was so bummed that John Green was sick and couldn’t come!). I knew who they were but I had never read anything that they’d written before. I fell head over heels for both of their writing styles (different as they might be) and I am so glad that Jamie introduced to me a side of YA that I don’t feel like I had really seen before.
John and David each have a character named Will Grayson and even though they share the same name, they are two very distinctive people. And they share a common friend – Tiny Cooper, whom I think I would both love and hate to have as a friend. Speaking of friends – that’s what this book is about. It’s about friendship and love and appreciation.
While most YA would be considered appropriate for ages 12-18 or even 14+, from my perspective, I think this book’s content is a little mature for a 14 or 15 year old. I’m not saying that the message isn’t a great one, but some of the content may be (depending on the reader, of course). I also come from a very conservative family and so my opinion might be a little skewed. Either way, the overall message that Will Grayson, Will Grayson sends is something that I think everyone can benefit from.
The narrators definitely brought the two Wills to life and embodied their characters.
My book group read this (yes, it's a YA novel and we are adults, but there were reasons) and had a very lively discussion about it. But the two of us who listened to it had the same problem: the 2 Will Graysons are read by two different actors but their voices and personalities sound alike -- so much so that we couldn't tell who was speaking and were confused most of the way! Those who read the book form told us that one is italicized so you always know who's "speaking." This should be re-recorded with two distinct voices.
Above average. WGWG was a good listen since the characters were so very different and it helps when there are two narrators.
The ending. I didn't cry but I was darn close.
Tiny was my favorite, even if he was also annoying.
I was taken aback by the prevalence of homosexuality in this book. The book is NOT about homosexuality but it certainly generated thoughts on the subject that I did not anticipate. WGWG is purposefully and poignantly provocative and at times I was quite uncomfortable. Ultimately, the story worked very well.
I laughed a few times, mostly during the John Green chapters, but the book isn't overtly funny. As I said before, I didn't cry but that's only because I'm stubborn.
Very good read and very interesting.
The story was dumb, the narration was terrible, so overacted. I have read books by both of these authors and enjoyed them very much. But this story was a miss, and I usually enjoy the YA genre.Not much more I can say, would not recommend it.
*This review is by a 30-something female, from whom High School feels a long way away*
I like that this book exists. I hope it helps people to understand compassion, acceptance, tolerance, depression, 'love', 'like', and all the other good stuff that goes along with life (especially during those late teens). But for me, and maybe others like me, the revelations in this book are not so much ground breaking, but more like a reminder of what life was like back when a high school relationship was the totality of your world (you know, before bills, mortgages, bosses, and parenting comes into the picture).
This story is sweet in a lot of ways, and the characters are very likable. Having suffered from depression in the past (and when I was a teenager) I liked Will Grayson 2's perspective on Mental Health Days and his general frustrations with people who see "depression" as a adjective and not the all-encompassing thing that it is. Depression is a life and death battle that people do not "get over" but survive.
That said, I found myself to be a bit too old (and maybe too happy with my life these days) to get a lot out of this, aside from a fairly enjoyable way to spend 7 hours.
I'd recommend this for teens, which is the intended audience after all, but for those adult readers who enjoy a good teen fiction, it's not in the same league as Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or even Divergent, and you could do without adding this one to your collection.