Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Amulet Books
Greg has worked tirelessly to maintain a persona so invisible and unattached that he never feels obligated to do or be anything for anyone at school, besides his one friend and co-director Earl. This carefully crafted persona cracks, however, when Greg enters senior year and is forced to reacquaint himself with Rachel. Because his mom says so. Because Rachel has leukemia and is dying. So against all his instincts and hard work, Greg begins spending time with Rachel. And although their relationship never goes anywhere beyond friendship, that friendship helps Greg as Rachel opens him up and helps him see his potential as a director, creator, friend, and person.
Hilarious, blunt, honest, sincere, heart-wrenching—these are just a few of the terms that describe Jesse Andrews’s debut novel. The language is a bit excessive, and Greg and Rachel’s friendship leaves a bit to be desired, as Andrews doesn’t give us as many details about what they talk about together or how they connect as friends. That being said, the writing is solid. Greg’s observations are often outrageously funny while still being completely genuine. Andrews has given us the antithesis of a John Green-esque sick-lit book; here, as Greg tells us from the get-go, this story isn’t about love and romance. It’s about friendship and finding yourself and your hope, even in the darkest of times.
*Contains severe language.