Book: Hold Me Closer

"Hold Me Closer"

Watch out, ex-boyfriends, and get out of the way, homophobic coaches. Tiny Cooper has something to say–and he’s going to say it in a song.

Filled with honestly, humor, and ‘big, lively, belty’ musical numbers, Hold Me Closer is the no-holds-barred (and many-bars-held) entirety of the beloved musical first introduced in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, the award-winning bestseller by John Green and David Levithan.

Tiny Cooper is finally taking center stage…and the world will never be the same again.

What in the world did I just put down?

Hold Me Closer: the Tiny Cooper Story spins off from one of the few John Green novels I could stand: Will Grayson, Will Grayson–and I credit David Levithan for this. So when I found out that Levithan was releasing a book based on the most entertaining character off the Will Grayson book, I thought it would be a fun read. I wish I could say I was right.

I wasn’t wrong, let’s be clear. Hold Me Closer is not in any way a bad book. It is entertaining. But it’s definitely not the book I was expecting from David Levithan. Then again, I wasn’t expecting Every You, Every Me either–so it’s not like this was unprecedented. But unlike Every You, Every Me, I can’t fathom why Levithan would write this book. It’s not experimental. It’s not ground-breaking.

Hold Me Closer brings nothing new to the table, and I feel like I wasted the five hours I spent reading it.

The book isn’t actually a book in the most traditional sense. It is a book–for a musical Tiny Cooper wrote in the Will Grayson, Will Grayson book. But it’s not a new story. Its Tiny Cooper’s life told with songs. And we’ve already had a glimpse of Tiny Cooper’s life in the aforementioned book. The worst part is how this book ends before the source book does. So there really is nothing new in Hold Me Closer.

I guess that’s the risk of doing something like this: publishing a plot device, and pushing it to stand on its own. You have to rely on readers’ nostalgia and good will. But you know what else you can do? Give something new. In the source book, we only get glimpses of Hold Me Closer. So it shouldn’t have been hard to do. But the spin-off didn’t spin. It just took parts of the source book we already know and put it to song. And dialogue. And stage direction.

Hold Me Closer is entertaining. I’ll still give it that. But at the end of the day, for a book to be good, there has to be substance. Which I didn’t see or feel while reading this book. I guess I’ll just have to be grateful that the book wasn’t longer.

Of course, other people will have other opinions about the book too. Let’s check some of them out in the following links:
Caught Read H&nded
The Young Folks

4 thoughts on “Book: Hold Me Closer

  1. Hmmm. I can totally understand where you’re coming from saying that it didn’t add anything to the book, but for me it did, in that you get way more of Tiny’s backstory. Personally, I just love Tiny, so it was fun seeing his entire musical. 🙂 I like that you included other reviews that didn’t share your opinion. That’s really cool.

    • I guess there were some new information about Tiny’s back story–but I really felt that they were inconsequential. I wish we could’ve explored more about his relationship with his parents, or with Lydia the babysitter. They were the more interesting characters for me, since they felt more whole than the parade of ex-boyfriends.

      But, again, that’s just me. 🙂

      Thank you, by the way, for understanding that the opinions I gave are just that: my opinions. This is one of the reasons why I link to reviews that don’t share my thoughts. To create a discussion. What’s true for me isn’t necessarily true for other people. And I hope more people online are like you. 🙂

      • I agree that exploring his relationships with some other people, especially Lydia, would’ve been great. That was definitely something that was a little lacking and felt glossed over. I think that was Levithan just playing into who Tiny is, but it would’ve helped the story.

        🙂 I’ve found, at least on my blog and the ones I follow, that we’re all open and non-judgmental, but there are people out there who aren’t so open. I just avoid them. 🙂

      • That is true. Hold Me Closer, after all, is supposedly Tiny Cooper’s work. 🙂

        And that’s true…with the blogs I follow too. It’s harder to avoid the people who comment on your blog. 🙂

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