Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Amulet Paperbacks
Date Published: May 7, 2013
Genre: YA fiction, humor, realistic fiction, contemporary
Pages: 304 (hardback)
Age Range: 15+
Up until senior year, Greg has maintained total social invisibility. He only has one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time—when not playing video games and avoiding Earl’s terrifying brothers— making movies, their own versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Greg would be the first one to tell you his movies are 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 judgment and despite his extreme awkwardness, he does. When Rachel decides to stop treatment, Greg and Earl must abandon invisibility and make a stand.
Here comes another cancer book... Surprisingly, this book was not a 'cancer book' like The Fault In Our Stars, or My Sister's Keeper. Instead, it was more of a story about the growth of friendship between Earl, Greg, Rachel, and the other characters.
All of the characters were stunningly real. Each character covered a part of today's society, and it was something that I hadn't expected to find in a book featuring cancer. Rachel was your ordinary girl, except she had contracted leukemia. She played her part to a T, she was real, and she was raw. Greg was perfect for being the narrator of the book. His prose was light, hilarious, and kept you from bawling your eyes out. Earl was the real instigator of change in this book, he was the least likely person to be a main character in a book like this, and I loved him for that.
The fact that this book didn't make me cry gave it bonus points. Honestly, I'm tried of depressing cancer books, and I loved that Greg reflected those feelings when he said, “I learned nothing from Rachel's leukemia.” That meant that we were allowed to feel throughout the book without waiting for the huge moral of the story. Without waiting for the deep life lesson that we should take away from this story.
The humor in this book was out of place. Hearing about Greg's love life, or lack thereof, didn't fit in with your normal cancer book, and that's why this book was so perfect. It wasn’t about the cancer, it was about growth and regular life and emotion.
All in all, I love this book. Would I read it again? Definitely. Don't get me wrong, I love The Fault In Our Stars, but it's nice to see a fresh view on the regular 'cancer book'.