Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a marvelous debut YA novel by Jesse Andrews. His antihero, Greg, sets out to write this book to explain why he is doing so poorly in school. Along the way we are introduced to his film-making partner, Earl, and to Rachel, who has leukemia. Greg's mother asks him to visit Rachel, to cheer her up, after the cancer diagnosis and thus begins the unlikely friendship between Greg, Earl, and the dying girl, Rachel.
For obvious reasons this book has received a lot of comparisons to John Green's book, The Fault in Our Stars, which was also published this year. Though the theme is similar---teenager(s) with cancer---they really are vastly different stories with very different writing styles and approaches. Greg, the narrator and writer of this "book" uses a variety of writing styles. Sometimes he writes dialogue in script form, word for word as if we are reading a play. Other times he makes bulleted lists. My favorite was when he tried to sum up his life in headlines. He says---
"This book is probably making my life seem more interesting and eventful than it actually is. Books always try to do that. If you just had headlines from every single day of my life you would get a better sense of how boring and random it is."In this book Greg and Earl are pretty typical teen boys, trying to fly below the radar at school but who enjoy making films in their spare time. Their films are so bad they never show them to anyone, but they do enjoy making them. They often fight and bicker. When the boys interact they often use very crass language. So much so that I found myself cringing more than once. I know I am an adult but I couldn't help thinking that the language may keep us from selecting this book for our Mock Printz event. Drats! I really enjoyed this book and found it to be both humorous and poignant.