Saturday, March 03, 2012

Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Release date: March 1st 2012
Pages: 288
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: NetGalley - thank you to Harry Abrams and NetGalley for providing a free eGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Find ou more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
Up until senior year, Greg has maintained social total social invisibility. He only has one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time - when not plaing video games and avoiding Earl's terrifying brothers - making movies, their own versions of Coppolaa and Herzog 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 judgement 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.

First sentence:
So in order to understand everything that happened, you have to start from the premise that high school sucks.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I had a feeling this book was going to be good. I hadn't heard much about it, but the cover and title are amazing, and the premise is great too. And I was right - Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is hilarious!

Really, hilarious is the only way to describe this book. I was laughing out loud on almost every page, and there were scenes where I literally could not stop laughing. My family is used to me laughing while reading (and crying and screaming and just reacting way too strongly to books), but they still regularly came in to check whether I'd gone crazy while I was reading Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, because, well, sitting alone in your room and laughing hysterically does not count as normal behaviour. It's impossible not to while reading Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, though.

Greg is a great character. He's quirky and his sense of humor is unique. His insight on high school life and the way he tries to stay invisible is hilarious. I can't even explain what makes him so funny, there's just something about his self-deprecating style and his crazy ideas and his unique way of thinking. If you want to know how funny he is, you should check out the author's website - the entire book is written like those four paragraphs on the home page. Only better.

An even more funny character is Earl. Earl is unlike anyone I've ever read about. I don't even want to say too much about him because no way can my descriptions even come close to Greg's, but the paragraphs describing Earl and his family life are probably the ones that had me laughing the most.

For the first half of the book or so, there's no real plot, just Greg describing his life and Earl and everyoyne around them in that hilarious way of his. And while that sounds boring, it totally isn't. It reads quickly and is one of the most entertaining stories I've ever read.

The second half of the book is when stuff starts happening. You'd think it'd be the other way around, but I actually didn't like that part as much as I liked reading about Greg's everyday life. Since it's about Rachel's leukemia, the plot gets more serious, and I just don't think the style fits the serious content as well as it fits Greg's everyday life. I was kind of disappointed by the whole making-a-film-for-Rachel storyline - the description says "Greg must abandon invisibility and take a stand," but that's not really the way it happens in the book. I don't want to say too much and spoil it for anyone, but Greg and Earl don't decide to make a movie for Rachel and show it to the world; the world decides that for them. Therefore, the character development I was hoping for is lacking, and I enjoyed the second part of the book less than the first one.

One more thing I appreciated: Earl and Greg remake a German movie, so there's some German in the book, and except for one tiny mistake, the German is actually correct! I'm often annoyed by how authors use foreign languages and make simple mistakes - really, how hard can it be to get a native speaker to check whether what you wrote is correct? - and I'm glad that's not the case in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

Despite the problems I had with some parts of the plot, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a great book. It's not the most deep or meaningful story you'll ever read, but, well, that's kind of the point. Read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl if you're looking for a hilarious story with quirky characters. (But don't read it where anyone can hear/see you, unless you want to end up in a mental hospital. You will be laughing so much people will think you're crazy.)

If you've read this book, what did you think?


  1. I also get the feeling this book is amazing, I need to read it :D


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