“Much depends on a best friend,” Will Grayson says. And when that best friend is Tiny Cooper, friendship is a big deal. Literally. Tiny is 6'6", so huge that when he sheds a tear, it could drown a kitten. So huge that one of his sobs measures on the Richter scale in Kansas (and he lives in Chicago). Will believes that Tiny may just be “the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large.” Tiny and Will have been friends since fifth grade, and Will stood up for Tiny when a school-board member argued against gays in the locker room. But recently Will has become too disengaged from life. He lives by two simple rules that have helped him to survive high school: “1. Don’t care too much. 2. Shut up.”
Will Grayson is not gay, but in one of many funny scenes in his first-person narrative, he meets another Will Grayson in a Chicago porn shop who is gay, and who begins a dramatic relationship with Tiny. This Will’s story forms the other half of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan, who each wrote one of the Wills.
As it turns out, the original Will still needs Tiny, too. Tiny is the one who does care, who always speaks his mind, who lives in larger-than-life drama and color. And when Tiny puts on a musical, it becomes the vehicle by which each character finds meaning and order in the universe. The musical is Tiny’s gift to the world, and his gift to the original Will Grayson is an appreciation of life and a repudiation of his anti-life rules.
Tiny will long live in readers’ imaginations—provided they have imaginations large enough to contain him. For an older young adult audience, this book about love, friends and what matters in life will be one of the best books of the year.