Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
by Andrews, Jesse






Greg has managed to become part of every social group at his Pittsburgh high school without having any friends, but his life changes when his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl he once knew in Hebrew school who has leukemia.





Jesse Andrews is a writer, musician, and former German youth hostel receptionist. He is a graduate of Schenley High School and Harvard University and lives in Boston. This is his first novel. Visit him at jesseandrews.com.





*Starred Review* Greg Gaines, 17, would be the first to tell you that his constant "dickhead behavior" makes him the least likely person to befriend a classmate dying of leukemia. But he is pushed into it by his mother and, well, the result is this "horrifyingly inane," "unstoppable barf-fest" of a book. Greg prefers to keep a low profile at school, instead collaborating with his almost-gangsta pal, Earl, on terrible remakes of classic films: Apocalypse Later with Super Soakers, The Manchurian Cat-idate with cats. But his knack for cracking jokes keeps the dying girl, Rachel, smiling, and pretty soon the whole school thinks he is some kind of hero. He is even pushed into making a final opus: Rachel the Film, aka "the worst film ever made." One need only look at the chapter titles ("Let's Just Get This Embarrassing Chapter Out of the Way") to know that this is one funny book, highlighted by screenplay excerpts and Earl's pissy wisdom. What's crazy is how moving it becomes in spite of itself. The characters are neither smart or precocious. Greg is not suitably moved by Rachel's struggle. His film sucks. He thinks bereavement means "being attacked by beavers." But it's this honest lack of profundity, and the struggle to overcome it, that makes Andrews' debut actually kinda profound. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.





A frequently hysterical confessional from a teen narrator who won't be able to convince readers he's as unlikable as he wants them to believe. "I have no idea how to write this stupid book," narrator Greg begins. Without answering the obvious question-just why is he writing" this stupid book"?-Greg lets readers in on plenty else. His filmmaking ambitions. His unlikely friendship with the unfortunately short, chain-smoking, foulmouthed, African-American Earl of the title. And his unlikelier friendship with Rachel, the titular "dying girl." Punctuating his aggressively self-hating account with film scripts and digressions, he chronicles his senior year, in which his mother guilt-trips him into hanging out with Rachel, who has acute myelogenous leukemia. Almost professionally socially awkward, Greg navigates his unwanted relationship with Rachel by showing her the films he's made with Earl, an oeuvre begun in fifth grade with their remake of Aguirre, Wrath of God. Greg's uber-snarky narration is self-conscious in the extreme, resulting in lines like, "This entire paragraph is a moron." Debut novelist Andrews succeeds brilliantly in painting a portrait of a kid whose responses to emotional duress are entirely believable and sympathetic, however fiercely he professes his essential crappiness as a human being. Though this novel begs inevitable thematic comparisons to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (2011), it stands on its own in inventiveness, humor and heart. (Fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






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