AUTHOR: Jesse Andrews
PUBLISHED DATE: 2012
I enjoyed this book. This book was a fun, light (despite that it actually is about a dying girl), and awkwardly relatable story about Greg Gaines and his friend Earl who make movies - and subsequently try to cheer up a girl named Rachel who has cancer.
Greg tackles all of the cringe-worthy moments of his life with self deprecating humor that'll leave you either rolling over with laughter, mortified, or in a tomb because you yourself are dead and you have no pulse. Earl is black - and he and his family probably exemplify every negative stereotype of black people, but somehow I still kind of liked it, even though going into the book I had the impression that I wouldn't. Earl comes from a drug dealing, violent, profane family, but he himself is a really good person, with a lot of heart. Greg's father is a professor who spends his spare time literally staring at a blank wall, his mother is an overbearing sweetheart, his sister Gretchen is the stereotypical moody teen, and his youngest sister Grace is just Olsen Twins 1989 cute.
Greg and Earl are this fascinating odd couple that make movies - typically involving Greg's cat. Greg's high school, like most high schools is comprised of cliques - of which Greg belongs to all and none. When Greg's mother learns that Rachel, Greg's sorta/kinda ex-girlfriend, has cancer, she encourages Greg to visit her in the hospital. Greg doesn't know what to say, or how to feel - and usually it's Earl who takes the lead on calling the hospital for visiting hours, and calling Greg out for not being a better friend to Rachel. It's also Earl who gives Rachel copies of their movies to cheer Rachel up while she's going through chemo. Greg freaks out. Especially when he learns that now the whole school knows about he and Earl's secret movie-making hobby and stash. He and Earl get assigned by their teachers to create a special movie just for Rachel, and premiere it in front of the whole school, and the pressure gets really real. The two now have to create an epic movie that gives Rachel the courage to fight cancer, but Greg has to overcome overthinking and overanalyzing everything, and always wondering what people think of him all the time.
Recommendation: Read it!
Audience: Young Adults (Grade 9 and up)
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