a mix that the characters would listen to: heavy on the Neutral Milk Hotel.
"Will Grayson, Will Grayson" tells the intertwining story of two boys from different suburbs of Chicago who share the same name and meet by chance in a most unlikely setting. Popular YA authors, John Green and David Levithan each take a "Will Grayson" and tell their stories in alternating chapters.
Levithan's "Will Grayson" comes from a broken home, takes medication for depression and is struggling with his homosexuality. He frequently speaks on IM and doesn't use capitals or very much punctuation, but, neither does Levithan for his chapters. I find this stylistic choice accurate, but annoying. I also found his Will Grayson, honest and heartbreaking.
John Green's "Will Grayson" is less endearing throughout most of the novel. He acts in sterotypically "straight boy" ways, is a bit of a hipster, and a bit of an ass. In Green's early chapters, two characters bond over Neutral Milk Hotel, and while I am also a bit enamored with the mystique of Jeff Mangum it just feels wrong to read about it in a novel.
This book may be called "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" but the heart of the novel and both stories is "Tiny Cooper" a walking contradiction of massive football player and out and proud musical theater playwright. Someone give this man his own book set in a liberal college, please!
All in all I enjoyed this experiment in co-authorship much more than "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" and even checked some stand alone novels from both Green and Levithan. Oh, and I loved the cover, metallic circles of confusion creating a subtle gay pride rainbow - if it looks a bit too sci-fi, I'm okay with that.