Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander


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).

MrsNorthman's Review
"It doesn't take much hope to infect a person. Hope is worse than vampire venom. It takes hold and changes a person. Fast."

This is a story about friendship, love and remembering that sometimes the best things that happen to us in life may not be part of the plan.
Charlie is a socially awkward math nerd.  He's never had any luck with girls and he doesn't have plans to change that anytime soon. He's way too focused on getting early admission to MIT.  It's the first day of senior year, when Charlotte, a spunky girl with an infinity tattoo catches his eye at a donut shop and his life is never the same.

It's become a ritual for the students at the school Charlie attends to harass the new English teachers, in hopes that they can avoid the curriculum and focus on what they love most, math.  Charlotte turns out to be the new English teachers sister and she has even befriended Charlie's sister Becca.  She spends most of her time with Becca to avoid having to go home. She's excited and warms up to Charlie when she finds out he's been  pranking her sister.  Charlotte will do anything to get her sister's focus away from her.  Away from the fact that she has terminal cancer.  When Charlie finds out what she's been hiding, he doesn't know how to deal and questions the plans he's made for his own life.
The author spent a lot of time trying to create deep connections and friendships between this cast of quirky characters, but it never fully came together for me.  The first 200 pages of the book, I found extremely slow, and immature even for a YA read.  I kept waiting for something big to happen and when it finally did, it ended way too quickly.  I wanted to love Charlie, but I didn't find him endearing in any way.  He was rude, selfish and constantly asked ignorant questions.  On the other hand, Charlotte, was kind, passionate, full of life and I  just wanted to see her have a chance to fight.  I guess this book just wasn't for me.
2.5/5 Fangs
*Complimentary copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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