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

When it comes to the broader concept that is this book, it's everything that I wanted "The Fault in Our Stars" to be: an attempt to accurately portray what this kind of situation would be like with a high school mentality. Sensationalized cancer stories with an adult's sentimentalized idea of a teenager has been this decade's flavor of the decade, and it's nice to see Jesse Andrews' take a stab at it here.

The only problem is that it sometimes works very well, and sometimes it falls really flat. What falls flat? Some of the humor can be a bit cringe-worthy and Greg's constant meta "why are you reading this trash" comments get old really really quickly.

Unfortunately what ended up bothering me the most is how utterly and unabashedly stereotypical Earl and his family are, to the point of being shown more as caricatures than anything else. I think that Andrews is trying to turn something on its head by having Earl being more emphatic than Greg, but it just didn't seem to work.

But why did I rate this three stars if I had so many problems? I loved the interactions and whatever involved Rachael and Greg, and I think that Andrews did a stellar job in expressing the awkwardness and real pain in only casually being invested in someone while they're dying of cancer. It's downright heartbreaking at times, and not for reasons that most teenager cancer books would lead you to believe.