Author: Jesse Andrews
Release Date: March 2012
Published By: Abrams
Goodreads Rating: 3.71 stars
Review: Greg has just one friend, the loud-mouthed and unconventional Earl, with whom he makes crappy movies modeled off cult classics that were less than exemplary to begin with. The movies are just for fun, not to be shown to anyone - that is, until Rachel. Rachel is diagnosed with leukemia, and Greg's mom decides that he should hang out with her to make her feel better. But he finds himself enjoying her company at least a little more than he thought he would, and he wants to make a movie with Earl for her once she stops her treatment and loses all hope. To do so, he must cast off his invisibility and for the first time in his life, take a stand.
I originally picked up ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL because of how completely gorgeous the cover was, and the actual contents of the book certainly did not disappoint. Every word was just as beautiful as the outside, but not in the way you would normally expect from your average "issues" novel. One of the reasons I really loved, loved, loved this book was because of how refreshingly honest and different it is from other books of its type.
When you read the summary of this novel, you would expect that Greg would become best friends with Rachel and maybe even fall in love with her, and that he would gain a newfound appreciation for life and all the opportunities it holds for him, but this was - refreshingly - not the case. He did end up becoming friends of sorts with Rachel but their conversations were hopelessly awkward for much of the novel. And yes, while he did gain something from the experience, he remained very much an immature teenage boy still grappling with his place in the world.
But perhaps my favorite aspect of this book was how funny it was. Greg is cynical and sarcastic, and not afraid to show it, as evidenced through his numerous hilarious remarks. There are sad moments in the novel, but most of the time, if you're crying, they're tears of laughter instead of grief. That's something you wouldn't necessarily expect from a cancer book, and I really enjoyed the different experience.
All in all, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL was so not what I was expecting, but every bit of it was wonderful. It was such a strange reading experience, but so rewarding at the same time. Anyone who's perhaps a little tired at reading "issues" books that are all the same should definitely give this one a whirl; they might just find it to be the same pleasasnt surprise I did.