★ ★ ★
Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.
Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.
And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.
I’d like to begin by explaining that I watched the movie before I read the book. I know, I know, but I’d put off this book for so long that it was becoming a dwarf planet, which basically means not important and forgotten. So, I took the plunge, watched the movie and fell in LOVE
However the book wasn’t as solid as the movie, in my honest opinion. I know it’s rare for the movie to surpass the book, but when you read it you’ll probably understand why. But, I’m not going to spend this entire review commenting on the movie, in fact, this will be the last time I mention the movie. Since, It’d be rather repetitive for me to basically retell what the summary already does, so I’ll just get directly to the meat – this will be extremely short.
- Our protagonist is male – this is unusual in YA cancer books (at least to my knowledge)
- Greg – His character began hilarious. He was sarcastic and extremely pessimistic in a way that’s appealing to a reader.
- I enjoyed the format. It was written similar to a diary, just different.
- It’s not a romance.
- It’s very real.
- The hobby of remaking movies was very fun.
- Rachel’s character wasn’t alive. Very one-dimensional, which I wasn’t expecting after the movie (Damn you! I said don’t mention that). This could stem from the *POV or just the lack of importance the writer felt toward her character. She’s dying. I just expected more.
- Greg developed into an asshole. Let me rephrase; he became an unlikable asshole. Early on his character wasn’t particularly…pleasant, but he was real which allowed his antics and attitude to be acceptable, but later on he just became selfish and self-absorbed and shallow as hell. To be honest this might’ve been his original traits but I chose to overlook it because I liked the movie (I swear this is the last time). Not to mention after a while, Greg telling the reader they’re an idiot to keep reading his book was just…in bad taste.
- Earl was a character I enjoyed when first introduced, however, he went downhill from there. I’m gonna admit that giving Greg a black friend was awesome to read and the diversity of a MAIN character being a *POC was refreshing – particularly in YA – but also damned hard to accomplish without some issues if you’re not a *POC. As the book progressed Earl and his family took on a cartoonish feel, to be specific they took on:
Don’t get me wrong, The Boondocks is a great show, but it has no business in this book.
There was sooooo much vulgar language! Swear words in general don’t offend me, neither do other words, but there was one point where my mind just blanked after seeing pussy and fuck several hundred times. This is supposed to be a YA novel, however it’s really not for Young Adults. I go by movie standards, a movie with this amount of cursing would’ve been R-rated.
*POC = Person of Color
*POV = Point of View