Genres: YA; Contemporary; Humor
Published: 2012 (my edition with the green cover is the 2015 revised edition)
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Greg Gaines, highschool senior, thinks he has life figured out and under control. He has his grand scheme for escaping high school pretty much unnoticed, by never really being friends with anyone and keeping the lowest profile possible. He makes films with Earl, the one person you could kind of describe as his friend. He exists, but doesn’t really interact with other people. Greg is totally fine with this, and really wants to continue living this way. Things get more complicated (and at times absolutely mortifying) than he could have ever imagined when his mother interferes and gets him to become friends with a girl named Rachel, who has cancer.
This book was a delightful disaster from the first page until the last. The story is written from Greg’s perspective, and there were times when I wanted to punch him in the eye, and other times when I wanted to awkwardly hug him and pat his head. It was interesting to get the story from his POV, even if he was a bit of an ass at times. I don’t think he ever really meant to be an ass, but even he acknowledged that he wasn’t the greatest person. He wasn’t a horrible guy, though, just human. Honestly, it was a nice change from the “super amazing and wonderful underneath the asshole/badboy/whatever exterior” cliche.
I mostly loved Earl. He was fantastic in so many ways. Earl had serious anger and attitude problems (which was kind of hilarious sometimes), but he was pretty much Greg’s moral compass in a way. He was also responsible for waking Greg up a bit to the reality of what was going on. I really want to know more about Earl, especially how he’s doing now. My only serious complaint about him was when he made some biphobic comments to Greg at one point. That really irritated me.
Rachel (AKA The Dying Girl) didn’t play as big of a role as I expected. I don’t have any opinion of her, really, which is a bit disappointing.
I think my favorite character was Greg’s dad. He was such a stereotypical dad at times, and I thought every scene with him was really amusing. Greg’s mom really annoyed me, though. There was this one part that involved several adults doing a thing that made me want to shake them all and ask them what the hell was wrong with them. I think you’ll know which part I’m talking about if you’ve read this or do read it at some point.
If you like YA without romance, but with humor, I would recommend this one. Just don’t read it if profanity and other “strong language” offends you haha.