Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Love and Other Unknown Variables {by Shannon Lee Alexander}

Title: Love and Other Unknown Variables
Author: Shannon Lee Alexander
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Received via NetGalley

Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswered questions. He’s that smart. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck.
The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she’s counting on the present. She’s not impressed by the strange boy at the donut shop—until she learns he’s a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. But, in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy.
By the time he learns she's ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second squared).

I loved this story. I actually wasn't sure how I felt about it for a while, but in the end, I ended up loving it. It was so brilliant, and made me have all the feels. And I rarely ever have the feels. But I enjoyed this one so, so much.

I love nerd characters. And Charlie is no different. Super brainy, he's on course to go to MIT and be some freaky genius kid. He has boiled down love to science, and doesn't have time for the derailment of his perfect plans. But that all changes the day he meets another Charley--Charlotte Finch. Charlie is a very blunt character. He is definitely a huge geek, but that made him endearing and lovable. (And he definitely reminded me of a few of my own friends, so I can definitely say he was written realistically. Well, okay, I don't think any of my friends would randomly touch a girl's neck without her permission. We tried to limit our human interaction).

I also loved the secondary characters in this. Greta and James were awesome best friends. I love that we have a family dynamic, as we get to see his interactions with his sister Becca and his parents. I even loved Mrs. "Dimwit", as all her parts made me laugh.

And Charlotte. At first, I didn't think I would like her, but she grew on me. You can't help but love her by the end. She's a free spirit, just wants to experience life before it is taken from her. Both her and Charlie go through so much growth throughout the book and I loved seeing that. I think Charlie even became a better brother to Becca by the end, and I loved seeing how important family was in this book.

I think the pacing at the beginning lagged a bit, but once it picked up, I was fully drawn into the story. Charlie and Greta and James made me laugh. Charlie's special brand of nerd humor definitely made me laugh. I loved all the nerd talk thrown in throughout the book. I also loved Ms. Finch and her resolve to make these math and science nerds see the value of literature. I mean, I'm a science geek too, but I love my fine arts classes just as much, if not even more.

This was a beautifully written story. It's sad in parts, but it's also happy. The serious was wonderfully balanced out by the fun. It's a compelling story, and I can't recommend it enough.

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

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