Number of Pages: 200
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: March 17, 2015
“Jazz hands at the ready! Tiny Cooper (“the world’s largest person who is also really, really gay”) stole readers’ hearts when he was introduced to the world in the New York Times bestselling book Will Grayson, Will Grayson,co-authored by John Green and David Levithan. Now Tiny finally gets to tell his story—from his fabulous birth and childhood to his quest for true love and his infamous parade of ex-boyfriends—the way he always intended: as a musical! Filled with honesty, humor, and “big, lively, belty” musical numbers, the novel is told through the full script of the musical first introduced in Will Grayson, Will Grayson.“
I knew I had to read this book as soon as I discovered it was going to be published. I adored John Green and David Levithan’s novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I especially loved the fabulous character Tiny Cooper. I really appreciate the fact that instead of needlessly extending the original story, David Levithan found a creative way to bring us more of a beloved character. Although you can certainly read this without having read the actual story, I think knowing the history that all the characters have with each other adds a lot to this companion book.
First, I love the fact that it’s written in the form of a literal musical. It reads like any other script or play that you would read, which added a unique quality to the story that made it even more fun. Songs are included sporadically throughout, and even without music to go along with it they were essential elements to the book. Not only were they cleverly written, but they also had awesome rhyme schemes! Moreover, Tiny’s stage directions and little side notes here and there made everything flow together really nicely, and I could envision what was happening on stage at all times. I haven’t read many plays because I generally don’t like the format as much as I like that of regular novels, but this one posed no issues for me as far as formatting goes.
The musical itself is hilarious! There were parts that genuinely made me laugh out loud, to the point that I had to set the book down and let the giggles come rolling out. It has been a while since a book has been able to make me laugh that hard, so the humor was a welcome surprise. Much of the comedy comes from Tiny Cooper’s flamboyant, dramatic personality, which David Levithan captures perfectly. I felt like I was back in the world of Will Grayson, Will Grayson all over again, which is exactly the feeling I was hoping I’d experience. Levithan is also a really witty author in general, and even though some of his jokes may have been cheesy they were certainly effective!
One thing I really admire about Levithan is the diversity he includes into many of his books. Tiny Cooper is flamboyantly and openly gay, but Levithan makes it abundantly clear through his character that not everyone in the LGBTQ+ community expresses themselves in this way. He emphasizes that stereotypes should not and do not define individuals, no matter their sexuality. What an important message to stress in a Young Adult book!
My biggest critique of this book is that it is a little too short. I would have liked to see a bit more added to the story, especially since Tiny is such a dimensional character with a lot of personality and history. At times it felt like details or plot points were left to the wayside in a rush to get to the grand finale. For example, you get the full story about some of Tiny’s boyfriends but others are just sort of mentioned in passing. Also, it would have been nice to hear more about both of the Wills in the musical since they were important aspects of his life in the original book.
Overall, this is a fun, entertaining read and a great example of a book about accepting and embracing who you are as an individual, including whatever your sexuality may be. At times it was meaningful and thought-provoking, but it was always fabulously fun. The unique format makes it a memorable read- and how can you possibly forget about the amazing Tiny Cooper? Hold Me Closer is the perfect book for when you need that quick pick-me-up on a rainy day.
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely! Like I previously mentioned, I would highly recommend reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson first, but I think if you went into this without doing so it would still make sense.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? What other books by David Levithan would you recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!