Friday, January 6, 2012

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson     
Author: John Green and David Levithan  
Audiobook Narrators: Nick Podehl and MacLeod Andrews
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile 
Audiobook Publisher: Brilliance Audio on CD
Publication Date: April 2010 
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel 
Goodreads Summary: One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.
Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans. (taken from Goodreads on 1/5/12) 
What Jen Thinks: I love this book! It's so hard not to gush all week about all this great writing that seems to effortlessly spew out of John Green, well, in this case John Green and David Levithan. I did listen to the audiobook, and Nick Podehl quickly became my favorite narrator. He makes Will Grayson sound like such a real person. I easily forgot that it was a narrator reading a book and felt like it was a real person. MacLeod Andrews also does a brilliant job of bringing Tiny to life. He is such a grand character and Andrews does him justice.

I'm amazed by books like this one that consist of different chapters written by different authors. It seems like writing a book is hard enough, but writing and trusting another author to do his or her own part seems like it would make it even harder. At the same time, I can see how it would be possibly fun to have someone as a partner in writing a book (much like working with Kellee on this blog is so much more fun and exciting and easier with her).

I haven't tried this with students, but I think it would be really interesting to offer them the opportunity to partner up and write a story with another person by taking turns to write the parts of the story. Or a larger group of students could contribute by each writing a part like an extended version of what I know as a campfire game where each person tells one word or sentence in a wild and crazy story. It would probably take a lot of planning to make it end up coherent, but it might turn out something like Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
Read Together: 9 - 12
Read Alone: 9 - 12 
Read With: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Snatch of Text:  
"Maybe there's something you're afraid to say, or someone you're afraid to love, or somewhere you're afraid to go. It's gonna hurt. It's gonna hurt because it matters." (John Green)

"You like someone who can't like you back because unrequited love can be survived in a way that once-requited love cannot. " (John Green)

"Maybe tonight you're scared of falling, and maybe there's somebody here or somewhere else you're thinking about, worrying over, fretting over, trying to figure out if you want to fall, or how and when you're gonna land, and I gotta tell you, Friends, to stop thinking about the landing, because it's all about falling." (John Green)

"I have a friend request from some stranger on facebook and I delete it without looking at the profile because that doesn't seem natural. 'Cause friendship should not be as easy as that. It's like people believe all you need to do is like the same bands in order to be soulmates. Or books. omg... U like the outsiders 2... it's like we're the same person! No we're not. It's like we have the same English teacher. There's a difference." (David Levithan)

"After tiny has tried ballerina pose, swing-batter-batter pose, pump-up-the-jam pose, and top-of-the-mountain-sound-of-music pose in the reflection of the bean, he walks us to a bench overlooking lake shore drive." (David Levithan)
(I don't have page numbers because I listened to the audiobook.)
Mentor Texts For: Characterization, Description, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Write about a time when a friend or family member urged you to do something outside of your comfort zone. 
Topics Covered: Friendships, Relationships, Love, Trust, Adventure, Adversity, Confidence, Taking Risks

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