What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is the first gay-themed YA novel to wind up on The New York Times best-seller list. It features a gay-friendly school and town and gay characters, including a very out-and-proud character nicknamed Tiny Cooper. Tiny breaks stereotypes by being both overweight and capable of having a love life. Another character, one of the Wills, is taking medication for his depression, a depiction that's handled compassionately. Parental relationships are idealized but heartwarming. While nothing more than kissing happens physically, there's lots of graphic sexual language, and one scene is set in a porn store. The book includes other strong language as well, which might make this book a better fit for older teens.
What's the story?
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON has a fun premise: Two narrators, each named WIll Grayson, tell their stories in alternating chapters. Will Grayson No. 1 is a straight, moody teen who's best friends with a large -- and larger than life -- out-and-proud teen named Tiny Cooper. Will Grayson No. 2 is an even moodier, lonely gay teen who first crosses paths with Will No. 1 in a porn store. From there, both Wills orbit around Planet Tiny. Meanwhile, heartbroken Tiny uses his pain to write, direct, and star in a fabulous high school musical titled Tiny Dancer, which wows everyone. But he's not the only one who makes a successful journey: Both Wills also find themselves, with a whole lot of help from their friends.
Is it any good?
This book offers lots of humor, lots of music, and fantastic over-the-top moments that we all can only wish would happen in real life. Some of the story is related in IMs and texts, which adds realism and energy. This is the first gay-themed book to wind up on The New York Times children's best seller list, and it's easy to see why.
Readers will certainly get caught up in the book's fun premise -- and even find themselves moved by this clever collaboration about coming-of-age in a gay-friendly big city. Tiny Cooper is a great character; his heart of gold -- and his amazing performance -- are truly unforgettable. Plus, who doesn't love a happy ending? Even if it's not exactly believable...
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the book's portrayals of gay characters. How do character depictions like those in Will Grayson, Will Grayson impact teen readers -- both gay and straight?
What do you think is the significance of the fact that this was the first gay-themed YA novel to wind up on The New York Times best-seller list?
The second Will is misled by his online love interest. He was convinced it was for real. How can you make sure someone you meet online is who you think they are?