Jesse Andrews: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2012, Amulet Books) 3 stars

Seventeen-year-old Greg has managed to become part of every social group at his Pittsburgh high …

Review of 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

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is it about?

Greg’s a nerd. He has not many friends. At school, he manages to be invisible and to avoid being in the spotlight of the groups. Earl is Greg's best friend and the two share the love of movies. Together they turn some of their favorite films in new versions (of course no one is allowed to see!).

Rachel. A former friend and classmate diagnosed with leukemia. His mother asks Greg to be a friend to Rachel during her difficult time. But how to deal with her illness? And what should he say to her?

What I think:

This book is ironic, funny, nerdy, and differs from the bog-standard books. The author / Greg "talks" to the reader, there is no distance. At first it felt like it’s a prologue in which he describes the circumstances shortly. I waited for the book to begin. But the novel kept this narrative, which is not bad. Nevertheless, I never had the feeling that the book has started properly.

During the story there are some scenes in “manuscript language”. This is great because Greg is a film buff and the author (“in real”) is a screenwriter. Those scenes became my favorites in the novel. The author / Greg with his wry self-deprecating humor unfold completely. It’s like seeing a movie!

The story itself: I was expecting something entirely different. Drama and heartfelt emotion - a boy who is confronted with the cruelty of life. But that does not happen. Greg keeps his nerdy and weird (in the funny sense) nature and the book never reached the depth that I would have expected. Although this issue is serious. Greg - he does not take it lightly, but it's not a drama for him either.

Again and again the author / Greg affirmed that it's not a "typical" YA novel. And yes, that's true. You can see no typical schema. Honestly. I think it’s a pity. Who’s against a little love story or a little heartache (I’m not!)? On one hand I think it's great that this book shows variety and that it’s not predictable. On the other hand, I do not mind a leitmotif.

This book could be a true story. Among the actions it may be from the life of every other teenage boy (except for the ill friend). Earl - the buddy of Greg - was pretty much annoying. When he was introduced to the reader I did not even understand what " kind of boy” he is. Over time you get to know him better. He is a complete nerd, too. In his own way.

I have nothing against nerds (aren’t we all a little nerdy?) but this book would have been much better with more action and deep feelings. It seemed to me like a book written by a teenage boy for other teenage boys. Often, I could get the excitement I normally have when I read a book, I was (sorry!) slightly bored.

But there is a reason why I wanted to read the book. And that was clearly the first glance: the cover! For this is the madness! It looks great! I cannot imagine that anyone can pass on this book, when it’s in the window of a bookstore.

I cannot recommend this book; neither I can say that it’s awful. Because it is a matter of taste. The writing style is great and entertaining. I really loved the manuscript passages. Greg makes some kind of development for sure. However, for my taste a few points were missing.

All in all:

Unique cover! THE reason to buy the book and to put it decoratively on your shelf. For me, unfortunately, this was all. Too nerdy and on the “funny level”.