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HoldMeCloserWhat: Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

Who: Text Publishing

When: March 18th 2015

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Text Publishing for review.

Larger-than-life character Tiny Cooper, from John Green and David Levithan’s bestselling novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, finally tells his own story the only way he knows how—as a stupendous musical.

In this novel-in-musical-form, readers will experience all of Hold Me Closer, the autobiographical musical written by and staring Tiny Cooper. Filled with humour, pain, and ‘big, lively, belty’ musical numbers, readers will finally learn Tiny’s full story, from his birth and childhood to his quest for love and his infamous eighteen ex-boyfriends.


I’m just going to be upfront about this: I was disappointed in Hold Me Closer. And this makes me really sad. I mean it’s TINY COOPER in musical form. But I just wasn’t feeling it. And I’m pretty sure it was because of this: there was no emotional connection for me.

Don’ get me wrong, I feel an emotional connection to Tiny, but only through Will Grayson, Will Grayson. If I hadn’t read WG, WG before Hold Me Closer I would not have felt any kind of connection to Tiny at all. And even so, knowing Tiny from WG, WG – Hold Me Closer just fell flat for me. There were parts where I was keen, and there were feels, but mostly I was kind of bored. Maybe it’s because I already knew so much about Tiny, and we’d gotten parts of the musical in WG, WG?

You have no idea how much this upsets me. I mean this is my darling David Levithan we are talking about here, and I was really unimpressed. CUE ALL THE SOBBING AND TEARS, OKAY? ALL THE SOBBING AND TEARS.

My favourite aspect of Hold Me Closer was the “stage directions” given by Tiny, which is where the Tiny as a character really came out. There was more emotion and depth in these parts, compared with the rest of the novel. I wish there had been more of these stage directions because they gave me the ~feels, and they also had me laughing out loud a few times (which is a great feat, I tell you. Great).

To be honest, I would love to see Hold Me Closer as an actual musical. I think it would be all kinds of fun and pain – which is exactly how a musical should be. I think the musical Tiny would make you fall head over heels in love with him, and everything he has to go through would just make you appreciate his character 100%. But as a book, I feel like this emotion just didn’t come across.

I also missed David’s writing. I am always going on about how much I am in love with it, and it was missing.

I don’t know – I’m really sad that I didn’t fall in love with Hold Me Closer because I really thought I would.

© 2015, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

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Posted on: April 14, 2015 • By: Chiara

8 Responses to Review: Hold Me Closer by David Levithan

  1. Beth says:

    Hold Me Closer sounds REALLY unusual – I’m not sure I’d enjoy the ‘musical’ format though! It’s a shame that you don’t really learn enough about Tiny to bond with him – it almost sounds like a bit of a wasted book… I think I’ll be giving this one a miss.
    Beth x

  2. Jules says:

    I haven’t read any of Levithan’s books other than A Lover’s Dictionary, I actually loved reading that one, but his other books don’t appeal to me as much. I don’t know why, but I am curious about Will Grayson, Will Grayson will probably try that one soon. I hope that your next read will be better Chiara :)

  3. I haven’t read a Levithan book. And I have no idea why. I’m not really gonna give this a go anyway because I haven’t read WG, WG. So sorry that you got disappointed though. Hope your next read is better!! <3

    • Chiara says:

      You should read Levithan, Paula! His books are lovely and diverse, and simply just gorgeous. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong with this one, but don’t let this keep you from his other books! They are more than worth it. :D

      Thank, lovely! <3

  4. Romi says:

    I haven’t read WG, WG, but apart from that: We feel exactly the same about this, Chiara. I tend to be either in love or disinterested in David Levithan’s work, though this was a first in that I was in the middle more than on one side, but it really had a lot of potential to be incredibly wonderful and it didn’t hit it, not quite. It would be amazing live, I’m absolutely sure, but in book form you’re right- it just isn’t enough. Doesn’t show enough or elicit enough emotion or feelings. I adored the stage directions, too, they were my favourite parts. There was such a beautiful quality to them and I loved the ways I got to know the character in a more genuine way than I felt I got from the musical, through his little directions and comments. They were utterly wonderful.
    Oh. And so was the ghost of Oscar Wilde. He was fab.
    Sorry you didn’t like it much, Chiara! It’s never nice when you’re intensely excited for something and it falls very flat. X

    • Chiara says:

      I suggest reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson – it’s very good! And you get to know Tiny a lot more, as well :)

      And it’s awesome we feel the same way! But also sad because I wish we had loved this book. I stand by the fact that I would 100% be there on opening night if this ever became an actual musical. I think a lot of the emotion would come through in person, rather than on page.

      I forgot to mention Oscar Wilde! He was so fabulous :D

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