Author: Jesse Andrews
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 2/5 stars
Disclaimer: This book is realistic fiction and young adult, because it involves many adult topics and profanity. Although the book does not consist of actual events, readers can relate to the issues the characters experienced.
The main character of this story is a senior in high school, and his name is Greg Gaines. He has to confront his insecurities ,and he is searching for an identity. You will learn a lot about how Greg has somehow managed to avoid being one of those “lame” kids with no friends. Greg doesn’t really have any friends, but there is this one kid that he hangs out with. His name is Earl. Greg and Earl are pretty much complete opposites. Earl is his own person and does whatever he wants. No one is stopping him. Greg on the other hand, has a mom that is too involved in his social life. But I wouldn’t really consider Greg and Earl friends. They’re more like associates or business partners. They work together on creating these really pointless films. Earl really isn’t a good influence on Greg, but he somehow manages to keep Greg in check. A majority of the story takes place at a hospital and in a teenage girl’s bedroom. The hospital setting definitely gives the reader a dull and sad feeling. The teenage girl’s bedroom helps the reader relate to the teenagers in the story. This book takes place in our current time because the characters are using modern day technology. They also use a lot of present time slang in this book.
Greg is that kid that has really bad social skills. He struggles with communicating with kids around him. It’s as if Greg doesn’t exist. No one notices him. Greg has somehow managed to just blend in and stay low key his whole life. Greg has one friend, and his name is Earl. They have made films together since they were in elementary school.
Greg and Earl make mediocre films that would likely never be produced. Although they are not very good movies, one of their classmates, Rachel enjoys watching the films. When Greg finds out Rachel, has been diagnosed with leukemia, he and Rachel’s mother decide that Greg would be the best person to make Rachel feel better about her illness. Greg is worried about her watching these films, because he does not think they are good. Earl doesn’t care if they are good and would do anything to make Rachel feel better, so he lends her the films. One of Rachel’s friends realize how much she likes the films and asks Greg to make Rachel a film to make her want to keep fighting. He takes on this challenge with his coworker Earl. Once they complete the film they aren’t happy with how it turns out, and Greg can tell Rachel doesn’t like it. She has still gave up fighting, and she has accepted that she is going to die. The theme of this book would be to care about others, and don’t be selfish. Greg hasn’t really ever had anyone to care about but himself. Now he’s in a situation where he has to care for someone else that is in serious need. At the beginning, Greg really struggles to comfort Rachel, because he is trying so hard to be someone he is not. Greg is too selfish to give Rachel his films to watch so Earl does it. When Earl does this, Greg gets highly upset.
I liked that this book wasn’t like the Fault in Our Stars at all. It didn’t automatically make everything about Greg and Rachel being in love. I also really like that this book actually taught the reader a lesson about sacrificing for others. I dislike how this book involves so many chapters that don’t have anything to do with the plot. Some parts were funny but most of the book was filled with humor from the narrator, but the jokes really just fell flat. (I) If you have a really good sense of humor you will love this book. I say this because the comedy really isn’t something that just anyone will find funny. You will also enjoy this book if you like books with unique formats. I give this book two stars because I did not find it very funny but I like the plot of the story.
Contributed by: Faith Bland