Okay, I confess, I am an uber-book-nerd. When I decided to read WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green and David Levithan, I could not resist making this choice into a literature course by picking up NICK & NORA'S INFINITE PLAYLIST by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan as well.
I started with NICK & NORA, mostly because my secretary (suffering from an ear infection) seemed to perfectly embody Nick at the start of the story (though the heartbreaking/heartbroken cone around Nick's neck would certainly be metaphorical). (And, oh, come on, I had to post this pic!) The language in this novel is so stylized, so sharp, that it took me awhile to get into the book's rhythm. But the characters were so compelling, their heartbreaks and insecurities so intensely portrayed, that I had to follow. WILL GRAYSON was easier for me to begin, perhaps because I'd just finished NICK & NORA or maybe because this story begins with the unforgettable Tiny and the description of an endearing friendship.
The binary structure of both of the novels allows readers to see one narrative as a foil for the other and to choose which character, which narrator, most closely represents their own identity and situation. In this way the reader, along with the protagonists, is defining himself or herself in terms of what they see outside, or on the page. While each novel plays out in its own unique way, both are journeys in which the characters ultimately make a connection with a person who enables them to look inward with honesty and, as a result, to become a little more themselves.
To analyze these books in depth would be a very long term paper indeed. I could probably do five pages on the significance of the titles alone (maybe that's why I love writing reading guides). Today, however, I'll conclude with recommending these two titles as must-read YAs.
Do you have any books that you recommend reading as a pair? Please let me know as I can never get enough term paper assignments :)