Chapters Eleven & Twelve

Summary: Chapter Eleven (Evanston Will)

Evanston Will talks to Tiny in the hall at school. Tiny and Naperville Will have been texting all weekend. Evanston Will is upset that Tiny did not mention Jane’s ex-boyfriend. Tiny reminds Evanston Will that he said he was not interested in Jane. Evanston Will refuses to speak to Tiny for the rest of the day. At lunch, Evanston Will’s former group of friends, including Clint and Ethan, make fun of Tiny’s play but mention a party at Clint’s. 

Evanston Will meets Jane and Tiny after school and flirts with Jane. She tells him, “I am kind of taken,” referencing research into epiphanies. He invites Jane to the Tiny Dancer auditions after school, so they can have a good laugh. They sit in the back and watch Tiny call forward over fifty different students, asking each to sing a minute of a song. Almost all of the student auditions are terrible. Evanston Will is surprised to see Ethan, from the lunch group, who actually sings well. 

After the auditions, Tiny convinces Gary to play the character that is based on Evanston Will, who is now named “Phil Wrayson.” Will agrees to the choice. He talks to Ethan, who asks if he will be at Clint’s party on Friday. 

Summary: Chapter Twelve (Naperville Will)

Naperville Will recounts how he and Tiny texted on his train ride back to Naperville. When Naperville Will arrives home, he tells his mother that he is gay. She accepts it without any shock or alarm and asks if Will met Isaac in the city. Naperville Will accuses his mom of spying, but she tells him that she heard him say Isaac in his sleep. He tells her that he did meet Isaac, but his nickname is Tiny. He tells his mother that if Maura calls, he does not want to talk to her ever again. Tiny sends him a song from Tiny Dancer, about realizing he was gay at Starstruck Drama Camp. 

At school the next day, Naperville Will and Tiny text constantly. Maura tries to apologize to Naperville Will several times, but he completely ignores her. At lunch, when he tells Simon that he is gay, Simon tells him that it is “disgusting.” Naperville Will tells Simon that it is no weirder than “jerking off to video game characters.” Simon becomes embarrassed.

Gideon, a fellow student, approaches Naperville Will at his locker and tells him that he is also gay. When Gideon asks Will out, Will tells him that he has a boyfriend, but that Gideon should sit with him at lunch sometime. 

Analysis: Chapters Eleven & Twelve

Tiny’s play brings the characters together in support of truth. Tiny is the writer, director, and star of the play as he characteristically pushes people toward honesty. Will is bolder in his flirtation with Jane and the play is a common interest for them. It is a space where they can spend time together privately without going on a date since she now has a boyfriend. They watch the auditions together and try to find their truth in the characters. Reflective of their actual self-awareness, Jane identifies herself immediately in the actor while Will has a harder time. Eventually, Tiny assigns Gary to Will’s character because Will does not yet know himself fully and cannot identify his truths in any of the auditions. This shows that Tiny knows Will and can mold Gary into him to show Will the truth in the character. Even Ethan showcases his true singing talent in his audition despite making fun of the play earlier. In reality, Ethan doesn’t really hate Will or Tiny. Now that the characters can share their truths via Tiny’s play, they can begin to build real relationships with each other.

In his chapter, Naperville Will discovers how truth opens the possibilities of love in unexpected places. He begins to understand what Evanston Will meant by truth leading to love. He understands that his guise of not caring is really a defense mechanism that has prevented him from being fully vulnerable. His new version of not caring is being fearless and accepting his truth so that he can share it with people. He begins by opening up to his mother who proves his fears wrong when she unconditionally accepts him. This is a step toward achieving the parental love that was lacking.

Tiny represents Will’s romantic love. When he comes out to Simon,, Will finds he has to defend himself. However, Simon easily sees how silly his perception is and thus Will and Simon can begin to have a relationship based on truth. Will does meet resistance from bullies but has newfound confidence in his truth that carries him through. He even makes a new friend and ally in Gideon. Where his prior friendships, romantic relationships, and familial relationships were unfulfilling, stagnant, and based on lies, he is now rebuilding them and himself in truth.