Meh. I could’ve done without reading this book. Sorry to spoil the review there.
I had read of a few blogs hinting at an asexual character, but that turned out to be disappointing speculation. That, coupled with the appearance of several gay characters, I was looking forward to diving into some absorbing Queer YA Fiction.
So, we have Will Grayson (number 1) who is friends with Tiny Cooper, the biggest gayest sweetest high schooler around. We have Will Grayson (number 2) who is gay, and who through happenstance meets the other Will Grayson, and consequently Tiny Cooper. The common thread throughout is Tiny’s ambition to mount a musical play at his school, a musical which is about, written, directed, produced, and starring Tiny Cooper, and is obviously very gay (the musical, but so is Tiny).
The overall feel of the book was too teenage-angsty – that is, lots of small problems without any substance. There were a few larger, more meaningful issues, yet those weren’t explored much. The dialogue was quick and quippy, although none too deep. The little dialogue that did contain some high-pointed philosophical life wisdom seemed out of place and out of character with the rest. I didn’t care much for the characters, felt little emotional connection towards them. There was also no suspenseful point of conflict to keep me intrigued, and while this is not an indispensable plot device, the story wasn’t driving itself.
Now, with all that said, it wasn’t exactly painful to read. It was well executed and the authors are no novices. The characters are not paper cutouts – they each have distinctive voices, and I could imagine precisely each of them standing in front of me. At one or two points the dialogue did make me laugh, or at the very least pause.
While there is a main gay storyline, it’s not just about being gay. It’s not even primarily about being gay, it just happens to be about kids who are gay. There was hardly any typical turmoil of “I’m gay, I’ve been shunned and thrown out, and life kinda sucks for me.” The exposition was rather more of “I’m gay, I found out, you found out, now let’s get on with our gay happy lives because it’s not such a big deal.” Which is a BIG relief in terms of LGB subject matter, because gay teens need positive examples of other gay teens just going along with their lives, and compared to most other books I’ve read this tends not to be the trend.
Most likely this is as accurate as it gets when it comes to depicting real high schoolers. And most likely I just don’t identify with real high schoolers going through a very high-schooly phase. Or maybe I didn’t read deep enough into it. But honestly I was just looking for a good story and this was barely OK, definitely not great.
So, if you’re in high school and you may or may not be gay or you may or may not have gay friends, this book may be for you. Otherwise, this book might be one to skip. And sorry to disappoint, but no matter how hard I tried I did not find the asexual.