Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

Hold Me Closer

“…the right song at the right time can stop all the clocks, wipe away all the cares, and gently make you see the world in a new way.”

It’s Tiny Cooper’s turn in the spotlight in this companion novel to New York Times bestseller Will Grayson, Will Grayson.
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.

Personal Thoughts:

Its been more than three years since I last read Tiny Cooper from David Levithan and John Green’s novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson but I still remember the flamboyant gay who make Will Grayson, Will Grayson so much fun to read. Tiny isn’t a major character in Will Grayson, Will Grayson but his bright and bigger-than-life personality makes his character unforgettable. And now that he finally got the spotlight and his own show through this companion piece, I can’t help but feel happy, because Tiny Cooper deserve to tell his story.

Being pitch as a “musical novel” I’m not sure what to expect in this latest book of David Levithan. Though I’ve seen a couple of musical plays and movies I haven’t really read a novel written in musical screenplay format. What I’ve read is a lot of David Levithan’s novels and if I am going to set my expectations based from that alone I can only expect another beautiful and wonderful read.

In this companion piece which basically the script of Tiny’s Musical – a musical stage play about Tiny Cooper’s life, we finally get the chance to see and know more about Tiny. There so much to him than just being gay or being loud, because behind those colorful clothes and loud personality is a brilliant and loving person who isn’t afraid to be real when it is so much easier to do otherwise.

“It’s always easy to blame other people for holding you back. But sometimes, the only person holding you back is… well… you.”

Right from the day he was born, Tiny was already categorized by people. Put label in him for being different than usual. He grew up with this label like a name attached to a person, he basically lived through it and eventually embraced it.

As Tiny’s life unravel, we see not only the bright side of his life but also the dull and dark moments. His struggle to come out about his gender and preferences is well executed. There’s a balance between the hilarious lyrics and thoughtful comments via production notes or stage directions. Tiny really shines in this musical novel.

As always, I am at awe with David Levithan’s writing. He never fail to bring something new in the see of YA novels. He is really creative, talented and a wonderful story-teller. He isn’t afraid to experiment and break the norm. He knows no boundary, giving us not only unique and clever novels but also something to shake our thoughts and touch our hearts.

“…it’s important to realize that the truth is sometimes quiet…and other times, it’s loud and spectacular. You don’t always get to choose which form it takes.”

The musical format is unexpectedly fun and touching. In my head I’m actually seeing the entire play. I sang along with Tiny and other characters as if I really know the melody, though most of the time I’m sure I’m just making tunes in my head. The lyrics are hilarious – so gay and big like Tiny, but also poignant and wise. Reading this musical novel is like watching a real musical production on stage with a bonus of knowing what is also happening in the back stage.

Overall, Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story is refreshingly unique novel that offers hilarious dialogues and thought provoking commentaries. I won’t be surprise if someone actually make this an actual musical production someday, and if that happens I will surely go see it live, because Tiny’s voice is worth hearing.

3 thoughts on “Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan”

  1. I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson and I have been eagerly waiting to get my hands on this book! Great review, I’m glad you liked it 🙂


    1. Since you loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson I think you’re gonna love this one too. Tiny is impossible not to like. I love to know your thoughts about this book after you read it Liza.


  2. I have read Will Grayson long long ago 😀
    and thinking about it now, I can’t remember much about the titular characters compare to Tiny Cooper. Glad he got his own spotlight in here.

    Lovely review!


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