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“Will Grayson, Will Grayson” by John Green and David Levithan

I love a well-written YA book -- one that has a strong voice, real situations, and realistic teens. Will Grayson, Will Grayson fills the bill.

It’s a story about two Will Graysons—one straight and one gay—and Tiny Cooper, best friend of the former and short-time boyfriend of the latter (though that comes later). The Wills take turn narrating, with the gay will grayson using all lower-case. Plus they talk about different friends, different family situations, and, of course, different love interests, so you should be able to easily tell the difference. (Or you can be clueless like I was for about 1/3 of the book and then have it suddenly dawn on you. No matter that I read the reviews, which clearly state this fact. I forgot.)

Tiny is larger than life. And the plot revolves around a musical he’s producing about his life. Will is an important character in that life story, though in typical teenage fashion, often feels not enough attention is paid to him. Turns out Tiny feels the same way. And depressed will, living in another part of the state, feels this way too. The two Wills meet one night in Chicago porn store. Will is there because his fake ID has the wrong date on it, so it didn’t get him into a concert he wanted to see. will is there because he thinks he’s meeting the love of his life—a boy he met on the Internet named Isaac. Instead they meet each other, and this chance meeting changes their lives—in rather good ways.

We probably never really grow out of that egocentric period of our babyhood, where the world revolves around us. It fades and resurfaces throughout our lives. Certainly teens are egocentric. And this book plays with that and lets the teens—even the female characters of Jane and Maura—experience it and work toward giving more of themselves to others. The books is funny and touching, and I wish there were more of it. I would have loved to go to school with either Will and Tiny.

NB: I borrowed both Will Grayson, Will Grayson and I Am Number Four from the Nassau Library System as eBooks and read them both on my little old iPhone, using a program called OverDrive. It’s a rather neat thing. Right now you can download the app (for free) from OverDrive Media Console for Macs, PCs, and several smartphones. I think an iPad version is in the works. Then, you browse on over to your library and, with a valid library card, “borrow” audio and eBooks. The member libraries are building up their selections of eBooks. There are plenty of adult books to choose from, fewer YA titles, and much fewer Children’s titles. But not many children have smartphones (right?), so I think that’s OK. I have also heard of an application out there for the Nook that lets you borrow library eBooks, but I don’t know too much about it. My peers on the adult reference side are learning more about these apps all the time.

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