Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Greg doesn't have any friends.  Earl's not his friend; they just make movies together.  Rachel's not his friend; his mom's just making him spend time with her because she's dying.  But when Rachel finds out about Earl and the movies, Greg's entire life changes, and suddenly he's not so unattached anymore.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews is my 2012 Debut Author Challenge book for March.

Look at the first paragraph of this review.  Now forget everything it makes you think this book is about.  This book is nothing you expect it to be.  It is smart.  It is funny.  It is platitude-free.  Most of all, it is very real.  Nothing about this feels contrived, and Greg is one of the most painfully flawed narrators I've seen in a while.  I say painfully because I doubt many readers won't be able to recognize a piece of themselves in him.  However, rather than making you feel bad about not living up to a heroic ideal, he drives home just how human an ignoble reaction to death and dying is.  But don't go thinking it's too serious.  "You'll laugh; you'll cry" has become such a cliche, but this book literally had me laughing out loud involuntarily and literally had tears of deep genuine sadness rolling down my cheeks.  At the same time.  How often does that happen?  The only reason not to like this book is if you're sensitive to profanity.  If you are, you'll hate this book, and you'll especially hate Earl.  Otherwise, this is an awesome book, and totally deserving of that fantastic cover.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is published by Harry N. Abrams and retails for $16.95 (hardcover).  I got my advance readers copy from the publisher (although this review was not solicited or otherwise compensated).  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

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