09 January 2012

(ARC) YA Book Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Release Date: 1 March 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books (Abrams Imprint)
Format: ARC
Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Goodreads description:
Up until senior year, Greg has maintained total social invisibility. He only has one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time—when not playing video games and avoiding Earl’s terrifying brothers— making movies, their own versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Greg would be the first one to tell you his movies are f*@$ing terrible, but he and Earl don’t make them for other people. Until Rachel. Rachel has leukemia, and Greg’s mom gets the genius idea that Greg should befriend her. Against his better judgment and despite his extreme awkwardness, he does. When Rachel decides to stop treatment, Greg and Earl make her a movie, and Greg must abandon invisibility and make a stand. It’s a hilarious, outrageous, and truthful look at death and high school by a prodigiously talented debut author..
My Thoughts...

So here's the thing that I'll tell you up front: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is unlike pretty much every other book I've read that deals with death and teenagers.  It doesn't have the cry your eyes out storyline that will leave you broken for hours after you finish (you know, it doesn't read like a Lurlene McDaniel book where they fall in love and someone dies).  It avoids the obvious in both its narrative and general storyline and all around seems to dodge all the obvious tropes that generally come with a story like this.  And you know what? I LOVED IT.  The honesty and humor with which this story is told will have you laughing from page one.
You may have already figured out that tit's about a girl who had cancer.  So there's a chance you're think, 'Awesome! This is going to be a wise and insightful story about love and death and growing up. It is probably going to make me cry literally the entire time. I am so fired up right now.' If that is an accurate representation of your thoughts, you should probably try to smush this book into a garbage disposal and then run away. Because here's the thing: I learned absolutely nothing from Rachel's leukemia. In fact, I probably became stupider about life because of the whole thing.
-p2-3, ARC
Greg Gaines is a pretty typical teenager.  Entering his senior year of high school he's achieved his ultimate goal: not to be hated or really noticed by any one clique of student at Benson High. Granted, he's sacrificed any real shot at friendship through the choice, but he feels like he's made it. Of course, his mom throws all his plans for skating through unnoticed when she tells him that his former Hebrew school classmate, Rachel, has been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, and she expects Greg to spend time with her.  Out the window goes Greg's anonymous status!
By now Earl is almost a member of my family: the chain-smoking vertically challenged son my parents never had.
-p64, ARC
Greg is a character who I think is easy to relate to.  His sarcasm and humor were right up my alley and his attitude seemed very authentic.  He doesn't sugar-coat things that he thinks and does just to make it into a good story and you'll laugh a heck of a lot more than you'll cry (and yes, eventually Greg does cry, but I don't think it's going to move you to tears as well).  Earl is a great side character who clearly has a lot more depth than the reader ever really gets to experience and it's clear that Greg, too, doesn't really know Earl all that well. 
It's like when a kitten tries to bite something to death. That kitten clearly has the cold-blooded murderous instinct of a predator, but at the same time, it's this cute little kitten, and all you want is to stuff it in a shoebox and shoot a video of it for gradnmas to watch on YouTube.
-p6, ARC
If for nothing else, read this for the laugh out loud moments throughout.  You'll constantly come across passages that you want to write down or share with others (just ask my husband).  The writing style is conversational with a very authentic male narrator.  Certain scenes throughout are written in a "screenplay" style that I wasn't sure I was going to like at first as it made some of the scenes seem disjointed.  By the end, those scenes didn't stick out nearly as much to me, but I'm still not sure that they were really the best (or my favorite) way of handling it.  Overall, this is a more light-hearted look and death than you'll probably find anywhere else.  I read that the movie rights were sold to this book back in March, and while I'm not 100% sure how the humor and inner sarcasm will come through on screen, I'd probably be in line to see this one.


La Toya, Literally. said...

Great review, this seems like an interesting read for sure :)

La Toya (La Toya, Literally)

Book Light Graveyard said...

Okay, I typically HATE books about sick people, but this one sounds really unique and humorous, so I think I'll probably give it a try! Great review. -Book Light Graveyard

Giselle said...

Oh wow this definitely sounds different as well as fun! It's my first time hearing about it but I'm super intrigued!! Great review Jessi! Adding this to my wishlist! :D

Xpresso Reads

elena said...

I'm so glad you liked the book! I really wanted to read it based on its cover so it's great to hear the inside is just as good. It seems like a book I would really like, funny + authentic are totally up to my speed. 

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