Will Grayson, Will Grayson

By John Green


Welcome to the vibrant world of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, a novel that dances to the beat of its own drum, just like its unforgettable characters 🕺📚. Written by John Green and David Levithan, two powerhouses of young adult literature, this book is a noteworthy collaboration that brings to life the stories of two teenagers, both named Will Grayson, in a serendipitous, heartwarming, and sometimes heart-wrenching narrative. Published in 2010, it explores themes of identity, friendship, love, and the blurred lines between virtual and real-life connections.

Set against the backdrop of Chicago, Will Grayson, Will Grayson falls into the young adult, coming-of-age genre, with a twist. It’s not just a story about growing up; it’s about the unexpected connections that define us and the courage it takes to be who we truly are. The novel is unique not just for its plot but also for its narrative structure, alternating chapters between the two Will Graysons, with Green and Levithan each writing the perspective of one Will. This creative approach not only distinguishes the characters’ voices but also offers a multifaceted look at the challenges and triumphs of adolescence.

John Green, known for his deep dives into the teenage psyche, brings his signature mix of humor, empathy, and insight. David Levithan, celebrated for his contributions to LGBTQ+ young adult fiction, infuses the story with themes of acceptance and the search for identity. Together, they create a novel that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking, making it a beloved addition to the genre and an important commentary on the complexities of growing up and finding oneself.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the heart of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, exploring its twists and turns, its colorful cast, and the rich themes it explores. Ready for the journey? 🌈📖

Plot Summary

Will Grayson, Will Grayson unfolds the intertwined lives of two Illinois teenagers sharing the same name but leading vastly different lives, until fate brings them together in the most unexpected way.

Exposition — The story sets off with two distinct narratives. The first Will Grayson, under John Green’s pen, navigates high school life in the suburbs of Chicago, trying to live by two rules: keep quiet and don’t get involved. His best friend, Tiny Cooper, is his polar opposite: loud, gay, and larger than life, both in personality and physical stature. The second Will Grayson, written by David Levithan, is introduced in a darker tone, dealing with depression, his sexuality, and the complexities of online relationships. He lives in Naperville, a bit away from the first Will, and his chapters are distinctively styled in lowercase letters.

Rising Action — As the story progresses, the first Will’s life is significantly influenced by Tiny Cooper’s plan to stage a fabulous musical about his life. Meanwhile, the second Will finds solace and a sense of connection in his online relationship with Isaac. The anticipation builds as their separate stories, filled with personal struggles and moments of self-discovery, move towards the pivotal point of convergence.

Climax — The paths of the two Will Graysons cross dramatically in an unlikely corner of Chicago. The second Will plans to meet Isaac, his online boyfriend, but discovers he has been catfished by a friend. Heartbroken and stranded, he encounters the first Will and Tiny Cooper. This convergence of their lives marks the novel’s turning point, reshaping their understanding of friendship, love, and themselves.

Falling Action — Following their unexpected meeting, the lives of the two Wills and Tiny become increasingly interwoven. Tiny’s musical, an extravagant expression of his experiences and emotions, becomes a focal point around which they navigate their personal challenges and growth. The second Will begins to open up, embracing his identity and new friendships, while the first Will faces his own feelings for Tiny, confronting the complexities of love and loyalty.

Resolution — The novel culminates with the premiere of Tiny’s musical, a grand event that brings together the entire cast of characters. Each Will Grayson has come to terms with their identities and relationships in their own unique ways. The first Will recognizes the depth of his feelings for Tiny, while the second Will finds a sense of belonging and acceptance among new friends. Tiny Cooper, ever the unifying force, revels in the success of his musical and the love of his friends, embodying the novel’s overarching message of acceptance and the beauty of being true to oneself.

Through its compelling plot and heartfelt moments, Will Grayson, Will Grayson offers a vivid exploration of identity, friendship, and the unexpected ways our lives intersect.

Character Analysis

In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green and David Levithan craft a cast of characters that are as diverse as they are dynamic. Each character undergoes significant development, providing a rich ground for analysis.

Will Grayson (written by John Green) — A high school junior who lives by two rules: don’t care too much and don’t get too involved. Initially, he appears somewhat disengaged from life, preferring to stay on the sidelines, especially to avoid any drama surrounding his best friend, Tiny Cooper. However, as the story progresses, he learns the importance of caring and being actively involved in the lives of those he loves. His growth is marked by his acceptance of his feelings for Tiny and his efforts to support Tiny’s endeavors.

Will Grayson (written by David Levithan) — Presented in lowercase letters to reflect his depressive and cynical outlook, this Will Grayson is struggling with his identity, depression, and the courage to live openly as a gay teen. His journey is one of the most poignant aspects of the novel, as he moves from isolation to finding a supportive community, largely thanks to his encounter with Tiny and the other Will Grayson. His character arc is a testament to the power of friendship and acceptance in overcoming darkness.

Tiny Cooper — Bold, gay, and the link between the two Will Graysons, Tiny is larger-than-life in every aspect. His unwavering confidence and zest for life contrast with his friends’ struggles. Tiny’s journey is central to the novel’s themes, as he works on a musical about his life, facing and embracing his own vulnerabilities. Through Tiny, the novel explores themes of love, acceptance, and the courage to be oneself, no matter how daunting that may be.

Jane Turner — A member of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) and a love interest for the first Will Grayson, Jane is intelligent, quirky, and compassionate. She plays a crucial role in Will’s development, challenging him to open up and engage more deeply with his feelings and the world around him. Jane represents a grounding force in the novel, embodying the idea that connection and honesty bring people closer.

Character Analysis Summary

Will Grayson (Green)Reserved, cautiousSeeks comfort in avoidanceLearns the value of engagement and vulnerability
Will Grayson (Levithan)Depressed, cynicalDesires acceptance, loveFinds community and self-acceptance
Tiny CooperConfident, flamboyantAims to express and accept himself fullyFaces his vulnerabilities, celebrates his identity
Jane TurnerIntelligent, sincereWants genuine connectionsEncourages openness and growth in others

Through their intertwined journeys, these characters explore the complexities of identity, friendship, and love, making Will Grayson, Will Grayson a nuanced and compelling narrative about finding oneself and connecting with others.

Themes and Symbols

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is rich with themes and symbols that weave through the narrative to create a tapestry of meaning that resonates with readers long after they’ve turned the last page. Here are some of the major themes and symbols explored in the novel.


Identity and Authenticity — At the heart of the novel is the exploration of identity and the importance of living authentically. Each Will Grayson is on a journey of self-discovery, grappling with their desires, fears, and the pressure to conform to societal norms. Tiny Cooper’s unabashed authenticity and the development of the musical serve as catalysts for both Will Graysons to confront and embrace their true selves.

Friendship and Love — The power of friendship and love to transform lives is a central theme. The novel depicts various forms of love, from romantic to platonic, and highlights the impact of deep, meaningful connections. The friendship between the two Will Graysons, and their relationships with Tiny and Jane, illustrate how love and support can offer strength in times of struggle.

Mental Health and Depression — David Levithan’s Will Grayson provides a raw and honest portrayal of living with depression. The novel doesn’t shy away from discussing mental health, emphasizing the importance of understanding, compassion, and the role of supportive communities in navigating mental health challenges.


The Musical — Tiny Cooper’s musical is a vibrant symbol of self-expression and the celebration of one’s story. It represents Tiny’s journey towards self-acceptance and serves as a backdrop for the characters’ growth, symbolizing the transformative power of art and storytelling in understanding ourselves and connecting with others.

Chicago — The city of Chicago, where the two Will Graysons’ paths cross, symbolizes the unpredictability of life and the serendipitous connections that shape our journeys. It’s a meeting point of different worlds, reflecting the novel’s theme of interconnectedness.

Names — The shared name of the protagonists symbolizes the universality of the search for identity and belonging. Despite their differences, both Will Graysons confront similar questions of love, happiness, and self-acceptance, underscoring the shared human experience.

Through these themes and symbols, Will Grayson, Will Grayson delves into the complexities of growing up, the search for identity, and the profound impact of love and friendship. It’s a story that celebrates the beauty of being true to oneself and the connections that bind us.

Style and Tone

The distinctive writing styles and tones employed by John Green and David Levithan in Will Grayson, Will Grayson significantly contribute to the novel’s unique atmosphere and depth. Their approaches not only define the characters but also enrich the narrative, offering a multifaceted exploration of the themes.

John Green’s Writing Style:

  • Engaging and Humorous: Green’s narrative voice for the first Will Grayson is engaging, often infused with a sense of humor that lightens the exploration of heavy themes such as love, friendship, and identity.
  • Insightful: His writing is insightful, capturing the complexities of teenage life with depth and sensitivity. Green’s ability to delve into the emotional landscapes of his characters enhances the authenticity of their experiences.
  • Descriptive: Green utilizes a descriptive style that vividly brings to life the settings and characters, making the readers feel closely connected to the narrative.

David Levithan’s Writing Style:

  • Introspective and Raw: Levithan’s portrayal of the second Will Grayson is markedly introspective and raw, reflecting the character’s internal struggles with depression and his quest for identity. The lowercase formatting of this Will’s chapters further underscores his feelings of insignificance and invisibility.
  • Emotionally Charged: His writing is emotionally charged, providing a stark contrast to Green’s lighter tone. Levithan excels at conveying deep emotional truths, making readers empathize with the character’s journey towards self-acceptance and love.
  • Concise and Impactful: Levithan’s style is often concise, with a focus on dialogue and internal monologue that cuts to the heart of the character’s emotions and struggles.


  • Varied and Dynamic: The tone of Will Grayson, Will Grayson varies between the chapters, reflecting the distinct voices and emotional journeys of the two protagonists. This dynamism creates a rich narrative tapestry that oscillates between light-hearted moments and deep introspection.
  • Hopeful: Despite the challenges faced by the characters, the overall tone of the novel is hopeful, celebrating the power of friendship, love, and the courage to be oneself.

Contribution to Mood and Atmosphere:

  • The contrasting styles and tones of Green and Levithan contribute to a mood that is at once contemplative and uplifting. The interplay between humor and heartache, light and dark, adds layers to the narrative, creating an atmosphere that is deeply engaging and resonant with readers.

Through their distinctive styles and the varied tones they employ, Green and Levithan masterfully create a narrative that is as entertaining as it is meaningful, inviting readers to reflect on the themes of identity, connection, and the beauty of embracing one’s true self.

Literary Devices used in Will Grayson, Will Grayson

In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green and David Levithan utilize a range of literary devices that enrich the narrative, adding depth, complexity, and nuance. Here are the top 10 devices employed throughout the book:

1. Dual Narration — The use of two distinct narrators, each named Will Grayson, allows for a multifaceted exploration of themes such as identity, friendship, and love. This device effectively contrasts the characters’ perspectives, highlighting their individual growth and the convergence of their stories.

2. Symbolism — Symbols like Tiny Cooper’s musical and the city of Chicago play significant roles in the narrative. The musical symbolizes self-expression and the celebration of one’s identity, while Chicago represents the serendipitous connections that define our lives.

3. Irony — The novel employs situational irony, especially in the unexpected ways the characters’ lives intersect and the outcomes of their actions. For example, the second Will Grayson’s attempt to meet an online friend in person leads to a pivotal change in his life, though not in the way he anticipates.

4. Humor — Humor is used to tackle serious themes, making the narrative accessible and engaging. It also serves to develop characters, particularly through Tiny Cooper’s flamboyant personality and the witty exchanges between characters.

5. Foreshadowing — Subtle hints foreshadow the meeting of the two Will Graysons and other key events, creating anticipation and adding layers of meaning to the narrative.

6. Metaphor — The novel uses metaphors to delve into complex emotions and themes. For example, Tiny Cooper’s larger-than-life personality and his musical are metaphors for the idea of living authentically and boldly.

7. Simile — Similes are used to draw comparisons that illuminate characters’ emotions and the novel’s themes, such as the struggles of growing up and finding one’s identity.

8. Dialogue — The use of distinctive dialogue styles, including the lowercase letters for the second Will Grayson’s chapters, serves to characterize and differentiate the dual narratives, enhancing the authenticity of their voices.

9. Imagery — Vivid imagery brings to life the settings, characters’ emotions, and the thematic elements of the novel, engaging the reader’s senses and deepening the connection to the story.

10. Motif — Recurring motifs, such as the themes of connection and authenticity, run throughout the novel, reinforcing its central messages and unifying the dual narratives.

These literary devices are integral to the storytelling in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, enriching the narrative and engaging readers in a deeply emotional and thought-provoking journey.

Literary Devices Examples

In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, literary devices play a pivotal role in enriching the narrative, offering depth, and enhancing the reader’s engagement. Below are examples and explanations for each of the top 10 literary devices identified in the book.

Dual Narration

Examples and Explanations:

  1. Contrasting Voices: John Green’s Will Grayson writes in standard text, focusing on humor and external observations, while David Levithan’s Will Grayson uses lowercase letters, internal monologues, and a more introspective tone. This contrast sets a distinct voice and perspective for each character, enriching the narrative by showing different angles of the story.
  2. Interwoven Plots: The alternating chapters between the two Wills gradually reveal how their lives intersect, demonstrating dual narration’s power to build suspense and complexity within the narrative structure.
  3. Character Development: Through their respective narratives, each Will Grayson undergoes significant personal growth, highlighted by their distinct viewpoints and experiences. The dual narration allows readers to see the impact of various events from multiple perspectives, deepening the emotional resonance.


Examples and Explanations:

  1. Tiny Cooper’s Musical: Represents the celebration of identity and the journey of self-acceptance. It symbolizes the courage to express oneself openly and authentically, resonating with the theme of living truthfully.
  2. Chicago: The setting where the two Wills meet symbolizes crossroads, chance encounters, and the interconnectedness of lives. It reflects the theme of serendipity and the impact of seemingly random connections.
  3. Names: The shared name of the protagonists symbolizes their shared human experiences, despite their different backgrounds and struggles. It emphasizes the universal quest for love, acceptance, and identity.


Examples and Explanations:

  1. The Meeting of the Wills: The anticipated meeting under disappointing circumstances for the second Will Grayson is ironic, leading to significant positive changes in both Wills’ lives. It illustrates how unexpected events can have profound impacts.
  2. Tiny Cooper’s Role: Tiny, with his larger-than-life persona, ironically becomes the catalyst for change in the lives of the more introspective and reserved Wills, highlighting the unpredictable nature of influence and friendship.


Examples and Explanations:

  1. Tiny Cooper’s Extravagance: Tiny’s flamboyant personality and his unabashed approach to life provide humor, lightening the novel’s exploration of serious themes and making the narrative more engaging and relatable.
  2. Witty Banter: The sharp, witty exchanges between characters, especially in John Green’s chapters, use humor to reveal character traits and relationships, enhancing the reader’s connection to the story.

This approach to detailing literary devices in Will Grayson, Will Grayson showcases the authors’ skillful use of language and narrative techniques to deepen the thematic impact and engage the reader on multiple levels.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson – FAQs

Q: What is the main theme of Will Grayson, Will Grayson?
A: The main theme revolves around identity, friendship, love, and the journey toward self-acceptance. It explores how these elements are intertwined and how they impact the characters’ lives.

Q: Who are the authors of Will Grayson, Will Grayson?
A: The novel is co-authored by John Green and David Levithan, each writing from the perspective of a different Will Grayson.

Q: How do the two Will Graysons meet?
A: The two Will Graysons meet serendipitously in a Chicago porn shop, an unexpected twist that significantly alters their paths and perspectives on life.

Q: What role does Tiny Cooper play in the novel?
A: Tiny Cooper, a friend of the first Will Grayson, is a central figure who connects the characters. His journey toward staging a musical about his life acts as a catalyst for much of the character development and plot progression.

Q: Is Will Grayson, Will Grayson suitable for young readers?
A: Yes, the novel is targeted at young adults and deals with themes relevant to their experiences, such as identity, friendship, and emotional growth. However, parents and educators should note that it contains mature themes and language.

Q: How does the novel address mental health?
A: The novel addresses mental health through the character of the second Will Grayson, who deals with depression. It provides a nuanced portrayal of his struggles, highlighting the importance of support, understanding, and therapy.

Q: Can Will Grayson, Will Grayson be considered an LGBTQ+ novel?
A: Yes, one of the novel’s main themes is the exploration of LGBTQ+ identities, relationships, and the journey toward self-acceptance within the LGBTQ+ community, making it a significant contribution to LGBTQ+ literature for young adults.

Q: What is unique about the novel’s narrative structure?
A: The novel’s narrative structure is unique due to its dual narration, with each chapter alternating between the two Will Graysons, each written by a different author. This structure allows for a diverse exploration of themes and character development.


Who are the authors of Will Grayson, Will Grayson?John Green & David LevithanJohn Green & Rainbow RowellDavid Levithan & Becky AlbertalliJohn Green & Hank Green
What is the primary setting of the novel?New York CityChicagoNapervilleIndianapolis
How do the two Will Graysons initially meet?At a concertIn a high schoolIn a coffee shopIn a Chicago porn shop
What significant project is Tiny Cooper working on?A dance recitalA musical about his lifeA bookA film
What major theme does the novel explore?Time travelFriendship and identitySpace explorationMedieval history
Which character struggles with depression?First Will GraysonTiny CooperJane TurnerSecond Will Grayson
The narrative of Will Grayson, Will Grayson is told through how many points of view?OneTwoThreeFour
What is a major symbol in the novel?A green lanternTiny Cooper’s musicalA map of ChicagoA pair of glasses
Which of the following best describes Tiny Cooper?Shy and retiringFlamboyant and larger than lifeA computer geniusA star athlete
What literary device is used to differentiate the chapters of the two Will Graysons?Different fontsDifferent colorsLowercase letters for one WillItalics for one Will

This quiz is designed to test comprehension of the book Will Grayson, Will Grayson, focusing on its authors, setting, plot, themes, characters, and literary devices.


Spot the Literary Devices

Read the following paragraph from Will Grayson, Will Grayson and identify the literary devices used:

“In the cold, somewhat dark, and entirely believable streets of Chicago, two Will Graysons — each carrying their own set of fears, desires, and profound feelings — were about to collide in the most unexpected way. Tiny Cooper, a beacon of unabashed joy and large in both stature and heart, was the thread that would soon tie them together, weaving a tapestry of friendship that spanned the complexities of love, identity, and the search for truth. It was in this urban labyrinth where paths crossed, lives intertwined, and a musical would come to symbolize the raw, beautiful mess of human connection.”


  1. Imagery: “In the cold, somewhat dark, and entirely believable streets of Chicago” – This phrase uses descriptive language to create a vivid picture of the setting, appealing to the reader’s senses.
  2. Metaphor: “Tiny Cooper, a beacon of unabashed joy” – This metaphor compares Tiny to a beacon, suggesting he is a source of light and hope, guiding those around him.
  3. Symbolism: “a musical would come to symbolize the raw, beautiful mess of human connection” – The musical represents the complexities and beauty of human relationships, symbolizing the theme of connection.
  4. Foreshadowing: “were about to collide in the most unexpected way” – This phrase hints at the future meeting of the two Will Graysons, building anticipation for their encounter.
  5. Alliteration: “spanned the complexities of love, identity, and the search for truth” – The repetition of the ‘s’ sound creates a pleasing auditory effect, emphasizing the novel’s themes.

This exercise helps to identify and understand the use of literary devices in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, illustrating how they contribute to the narrative’s depth and richness.