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 loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I started reading as a John Green fan and came out a big admirer of David Levithan too. The highlight of the book was definitely Tiny Cooper so when I heard there was going to be a book based on him I was pretty excited.
I was ecstatic however when I learnt that this book would be the script to the musical Tiny writes in WG,WG. Why? I’m a huge theatre nerd (musical theatre being the one thing more important to me than reading) and there aren’t nearly enough fiction books about or surrounding musical theatre.
If you love musical theatre…
You will love this book. There are references placed throughout the novel to so many of my favourite shows: Les Mis, The Sound of Music, West Side Story & Annie and even some lesser known shows like: Once, Rent, Spring Awakening & Kinky Boots. Either David Levithan did some serious research or he’s a crazy musical theatre fan.
“This should be the most homoerotically charged baseball dance number since “I Don’t Dance” in High School Musical 2.”
Now if you’re a big thespian like me you probably have your doubts about how good this book could truly be. How could a young adult author possibly try to pen a musical. Well let me help you to put your doubts aside by reassuring you that Levithan does this effortlessly. Okay, Hold Me Closer will never make it on the West End (or probably onto any stage for that matter), but the songs are funny and well written and I was making up the tune in my head as I read.
“This is the dangerous thing about musicals. Most of them assume that as soon as you find your voice, you’ll use it to sing to someone else.”
Another brilliant thing is that the stage directions make Tiny’s voice come though the text and give a chance for him to speak directly to the reader, something you rarely see in YA these days that I really love (especially in A Series of Unfortunate Events.)
“Fade to black. Or whatever color you like. If you can find a way to fade to pink or purple, please do.”
If you love Will Grayson, Will Grayson…
You will love this book. Though the musical isn’t identical to the snippet we see in the book, it still oozes the essence of the character Tiny Cooper. There are references to some of the book characters too (though Tiny changes some names for the sake of the musical, like ‘Phil Wrayson’ and ‘Djane’.)
“The idea that two is the ideal, and that one is only good as half of two. You are not a half, and you should never treat someone else like a half.”
If you’re not really familiar with either…
You will love this book. You might not understand the musical theatre references or the few references to Will Grayson, Will Grayson, but I’m sure you’ll still enjoy reading Tiny’s story because he’s such a loveable character.
“If act one in life is about finding yourself, then act two is about finding everyone else.”
9/10 for Hold Me Closer – The Tiny Cooper Story
Although it’s the first book of its nature that I’ve ever come across, I really loved it and would love to see more representation of musical theatre in future YA novels.