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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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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.

295 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2012

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Jesse Andrews

9 books2,569 followers

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5 stars
29,396 (21%)
4 stars
44,385 (32%)
3 stars
39,922 (29%)
2 stars
16,453 (11%)
1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,769 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
July 30, 2015
“If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.”

I know this is an awful thing to say, but I am so tired of all the "illness romance" books we've seen since The Fault in Our Stars. They're so hung up on leaving the reader with a beautiful message about life and/or death, so intent on making you cry and showing how a person can gain a new outlook or fall in love from being close to someone with a terminal illness.

In real life, very few people are lucky enough to take something amazing away from an experience like that. Andrews knows it, and he does such a great job of delivering a book that is hilarious with colourful characters, that contains a girl with cancer, but doesn't strain itself to give us a life lesson.
“Look, I was an idiot. I didn't want people to think that I had a crush, so I decided to give everyone the impression that I truly, honestly hated Madison Harter. For no reason. Just thinking about this makes me want to punch myself in the eyeball.”

One of the best things about this book is that the illness is a subplot in an otherwise really funny novel. This is the most I've laughed at a story in a very long time. Greg is a fantastic protagonist and the jokes vary between witty sarcasm and a bit of ridiculous schoolboy humour - who knew breasts could be such a source of hilarity? And the even better thing is that Andrews doesn't try to manipulate the reader's emotions, I didn't feel like I was being forced to cry or pity Rachel, and I appreciated the author's message that sometimes shit happens, things go wrong and people die, and we don't necessarily learn anything useful from it, other than the fact that shit happens, things go wrong and people die.

Greg feels like he should be moved by Rachel's illness, he feels like he should hang out with her, and yet Andrews allows him to acknowledge that he isn't moved, he doesn't really want to help out or get involved, in fact he finds himself wishing he could ignore the whole situation, carry on with his life, and pretend it isn't happening. Maybe you won't like this sentiment, but it felt a million times more honest and real than any other book about illness that I can remember.

I think that what I like about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is what's lacking in Green's work. Andrews' characters are not life lessons, not philosophers, not poets, they're just kids in the worst kind of situation. And they're also incredibly funny.

If you're looking for a honest and hilarious story with a great cast of characters, I'm pretty confident Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is for you.

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Profile Image for Jesse Andrews.
Author 9 books2,569 followers
July 27, 2019
this is probably the best debut novel i have ever written.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 9, 2020
If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.
Greg Gaines survived (most of) high school by following his flawless system of staying at the periphery - be nice but not too nice. Laugh but not too loud. Exist...but only enough for people to barely notice.

He has his meritocracy, his long-time friend (Earl) and his quirky collection of homemade movies (made with Earl) - he's all ready to survive, graduate and move on.

But then his mom decides to throw one huge wrench in his great aims of blending into the background - by forcing him to be friends with the cancer-girl.
Mom was asking me to resume a friendship that had no honest foundation and ended on screamingly awkward terms. How do you do that? You can’t.
And...with much grumbling and prodding and outright threatening, he agrees.

And his whole plan - the mediocrity, the movies, the periphery - crumbles into dust.
There was just something about her dying that I had understood but not really understood..you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn't really hit you, and then when it does, that's when you feel like shit.
Wow - like seriously, wow.

This one surprised me.

Greg's story is certainly not a typical-teen-cancer sort of book.
So if this were a normal book about a girl with leukemia, I would probably talk a shitload about all the meaningful things Rachel had to say as she got sicker and sicker, and also probably we would fall in love and have some incredibly fulfilling romantic thing and she would die in my arms. But I don't feel like lying to you. She didn't have meaningful things to say, and we definitely didn't fall in love.
Jesse Andrew's novel simply felt more real than all of those other ones I've read.

It didn't dance around the topic, it didn't tug at your heartstrings in just the right way, and there was no chaste-fade-to-black sex scene.

There are so many beautiful-cancer-books out there that this one was truly a relief.

This book was funny, crass, rude and above all, absolutely real. And for that, I truly appreciate this novel.

There were times where I wanted to shake Greg, shake Rachel, shake Greg and Rachel at the same time...and (above all) wrap Earl in a huge hug.

Definitely one to read!
But you gotta live your own life. You gotta take care a your own shit before you get started doing things for errybody else.

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Profile Image for Emma.
702 reviews74 followers
February 14, 2014
Umm… I don't know exactly what to say about this book. It seems to me like one of those cult books where if you love it, you love it, but if you don't, you don't. There were parts of it that were funny, but the majority of the parts that I felt were meant to be funny just fell flat. The cover is absolutely beautiful and there were some parts that I definitely enjoyed… but, it just didn't do it for me.

This book is about Greg and Earl and Rachel. Greg is a high school senior and he and Earl are amateur film makers (spoiler alert: They're not very good.) Rachel is Greg's old kind of girlfriend who recently became diagnosed with leukemia and is dying. There were some parts of this book were laugh-out-loud funny, but the non-funny bits and the kind of useless annoying bits made it a one star for me.


Can I just talk about how much I hated all the "this is such a bad book I don't even know why I'm writing this I'm going to throw the laptop if you're enjoying this you should punch your own eye" parts. Why? I don't know if it was kind of supposed to be funny and enjoyable and like, "haha, he's making fun of himself" but it came across like those people who are always talking about how ugly they are and you just want them to shut up!

Let's just spend a second talking about this cover. So gorgeous. I'm so in love with it. All the art was amazing, it was just the story… blah.

I liked all the alternate ways of telling the stories. Bullet points and script format and all of that. Probably my favorite part of the whole rading experience.

I honestly didn't care about the characters at all. And I think that's the issue, even when Rachel died I was like, "eh, what a shame." Greg seemed like a total jerk, I could get used to Earl in a way and I actually enjoyed his character, but it was just odd.

Another thing about this book, it felt like it was trying so hard to be eccentric and different. Like how there were all the dorky goth kids and Mr. Mcarthy and all of Earl's brothers. Not everyone is eccentric like that. For a lot of people, you have to get to know them and then you figure out all their little quirks. There is no place that I'm aware of where you can have teachers who are shoeless in class and kids who beat up on each other randomly and a girl dying of cancer and a kid so unable to feel things and only able to beat up on himself but who likes to make films anyway so his future self can just talk about how much they suck some more. That is just too much in my opinion. There have to be some "normal" people.

I liked some of the plot, but so much of it was tangents and they didn't really make sense to me and we didn't really get to know any of the characters (I'm sure there was some deep stuff going on that I just didn't catch onto, and really we know that Earl has spent so much time trying to help his mother and all that,) but it just isn't anywhere near enough for me.


Somewhat amusing, not at all sad, weird book: 53%
Profile Image for Samantha.
416 reviews16.7k followers
November 16, 2017
The humor was crude just for the sake of being crude and I didn't laugh once. The main character is unlikeable in an attempt to make the book realistic, but in reality it was just annoying. This book tried so hard to be edgy and real...

Oh and don't even get me started on the fact that the girl had no agency and her illness was still used as a motivator for the male main character... even though the book kept insisting that it "wasn't the usual cancer book". Spoiler alert: that's what every other shitty sicklit book does - frames the story around the not sick person.

I'm no TFIOS fan, but I'd take that over this any day because this was trying way too hard.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
915 reviews13.9k followers
September 18, 2015
a lot of people are commenting on this so i just wanted to add really quick lol

i read this book like 2 years ago but i was going through my 'read' list and noticed i gave this four stars which was weird because this book was shit so that's that
Profile Image for Teresa Bunner.
125 reviews50 followers
June 24, 2012
I can appreciate snarky. And snarky certainly describes our narrator. The problem is, I can appreciate snarky when I like the character. I never grew to like Greg. And because I didn't like him or the story line, things like the excessive cussing in the book really bothered me. Had I liked or felt drawn to the characters, I could forgive that flaw. Heaven knows I can speak in language that would make my mother cringe and a sailor seem tame.

I was so excited to find a book with an African American character represented on the front cover. And then I was appalled as Earl and his family were defined in painful stereotypes of the African American community. Single mom, stepdad left, multiple boyfriends, alcoholic. Brothers who are "gangbangers" and sell drugs, a run-down house. Earl is described as looking perpetually "pissed" and having anger issues and violent tendencies. At the end, he goes to work at Wendy's instead of pursuing college.

Greg, on the other hand, is white, lives with both parents, father is a college professor, mom runs a non-profit. 2 sisters who, as far as we know, are good kids. Pursues film school at the behest of the dying girl.

I think it really got to me when Greg described the school principal "an African American guy", big and scary and with the same "pissed" look that Earl has. Now the author has created two "angry" African American males.

I know there are those who will argue that they know someone like Earl, that it is "reality", that I am too sensitive. But these descriptors are not accidents. If we are going to put books in the hands of kids, then we have to begin to be willing to have the hard conversations that ask why the reality here is so starkly different for these two characters. Why can't the race of the two characters be switched? Are we going to perpetually defend the use of these stereotypes? I just can't.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,573 reviews5,900 followers
May 2, 2015
For this review I need to post a gif of Jesse Andrews kicking John Green's ass.

* I don't know how to make gifs myself. I just steal them from other spots on Google.
* I'm too lazy to even try and learn to make my own gifs.
* I don't especially hate John Green (take that you haters) I read TFIOS and it was an okay book. Not very realistic to someone who has survived lived with teenagers.

This book is about Greg Gaines. He just wants to make it through his last year of high-school. He knows not many people make it through un-scarred for life.

His friend Earl also is in the story. Earl gets a five star for the amount of profanity that he can come up with.
Then Greg's mom pushes him to become friends again with Rachel. She has been diagnosed with AML (Leukemia). He balks. He doesn't do friends. That's how he has survived the highschool experience so far.
He ends up caving because of the nagging.

This book is not deep and life altering. This book is what all young adult books should be if they didn't have their asses on crooked and think that young people always think deep thoughts.
Because people..the young adults I know...they are full of shit. That's more the norm.
Take Greg for instance:
So if this were a normal book about a girl with leukemia, I would probably talk a shitload about all the meaningful things Rachel had to say as she got sicker and sicker, and also probably we would fall in love and have some incredibly fulfilling romantic thing and she would die in my arms. But I don't feel like lying to you. She didn't have meaningful things to say, and we definitely didn't fall in love.

So if you are looking for this....

Go find some other book.

If this is more to your liking:
Jesus Christ on a cockwagon. At the beginning of this sentence, my Feeling Like a Dick Quotient was a solid 4.0, which is normal. By about the word "excuse", it was all the way up to 9.4. By the end I was easily maxed out at 10.0. Actually, I may have broken the scale.

You can take pretty much any sentence in this book and if you read it enough times, you will probably end up committing a homicide.

This is the book for you. And it's frigging awesome.
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
October 29, 2014
This is the book I wish received more attention than The Fault in Our Stars. Unlike the aforementioned novel, it doesn't glamorize a terminal illness and try in any way to make light of the situation. In case that offends anyone, keep in mind that I did enjoy TFIOS, but I just think Me, Earl and the Dying Girl had a more powerful message.

This isn't going to be a book for everyone. The protagonist is an anti-hero who will anger the reader and make you wish he were a real person just so you could slap some sense into him. He is flawed in every possible way, but he was so realistic, that I couldn't help but to kinda like him. Maybe. In a strange turn of events, Greg finds himself hanging out with Rachel, a girl in his class that was recently diagnosed with cancer. And he hates it. In the beginning he feels a sense of obligation to spend time with her because she's dying. He gets that she's dying, but he doesn't understand how to handle it, and as a result, says some pretty offensive stuff to her and is just a general jerk. But he keeps trying to do better, visits her in the hospital and tries very hard to make her laugh until her last day.
“There was just something about her dying that I had understood but not really understood, if you know what I mean. I mean, you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn't really hit you, and then when it does, that's when you feel like shit.”

Greg showed a lot of growth in the end from going from a character who didn't seem like he gave a shit to one who became obsessed with helping a friend, who didn't realize how much her dying was affecting him.
“And the point of Rachel the Film should really have been to express how awful and shitty that loss was, that she would have become a person with a long awesome life if she had been allowed to continue living, and that this was just a stupid meaningless loss, a motherfucking loss, a loss loss loss fucking loss, there was no fucking meaning to it, there was nothing that could come out of it...”

What I loved the most was how Me, Earl and the Dying Girl showed a teen who didn't know how to deal with losing a friend, something I'm sure many teens don't understand. Death sucks. Seeing it happens just multiplies that times 1,000. There are no heroes in a story like that. I appreciate that Andrews showed that side.

Also, bonus points for completely getting Earl's character and family right! POC that actually sound and act like POC!
334 reviews174 followers
March 2, 2012
This is me during, hmm, let's see, 90% of this book:

I kid you not. This book made me laugh my ASS OFF. I have never in my whole life laughed this much while reading a book. Jesse Andrews, for this alone, YOU ARE AWESOME.

M&E&tDG is one of the weirdest books I've ever read. Nothing much really happens--in terms of both plot or character development--and despite that, driven alone by the MC, Greg's, humorous voice, the book ends up being an awesome read.

Just to lay out how hilarious Greg's jokes are, here's an excerpt--although keep in mind, it's MUCH funnier in context:

...it's just never a good idea to compliment a girl's boobs. I had to learn this the hard way. Also, it's somehow worse to draw attention to the fact that there are two boobs. I don't know why this is, but it's true. "You have nice boobs." Bad. "You have two nice boobs." Worse. "Two boobs? Perfect." F minus.

If somehow you couldn't tell, the humor in this book ain't exactly G-rated.

And seeing as how this is a book about 'cancer', it's the last thing you'd expect it to be. The gist of the story has Greg, a more-or-less typical senior, bumbling along through the torture that is high school, when his life changes once his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl he once knew in Hebrew school who has leukemia.

Here's the no. 1 reason I loved this book: It proves that life does not have to be so fucking serious all the time. Right before M&E&tDG I read this very poignant novel about bipolar disorder, and it left me feeling utterly bereft, so saying that this book helped lighten my mood is saying quite a bit. Even though the book is about cancer, it doesn't force itself to be all falsely emotional and life-affirming etc etc. Because sometimes death isn't soul-crushing and earth-shattering and la-di-da--sometimes it just is, ya know? (Please tell me I did not sound like a soulless bastard when I said that.)

Greg's also obsessed with film making, and he loves this one movie so much--Aguirre, Wrath of God--that he convinced even me to watch to it. Even though (a) the movie is in German, (b) it's ages old, and (c) it's, well, old and foreign! So parts of the book include him making movies with Earl, his best friend, who's also a great source for laughs. Some of the novel is in script format, and parts of it are so hilarious I had cramps from laughing so hard.

I will admit, however, that sometimes Greg's jokes did get a tad tiring. There's only so much self-deprecation you can take before it gets annoying. Even so, his sense of humor is seriously out-of-the-park zany. Also, the last 40 pages for me, I dunno, fell a bit flat. Maybe I was expecting something even a tiny bit profound to finally happen, or maybe it was that Greg stopped cracking jokes every third sentence, which is sort of the strongest point of the book.

Who cares, though, really? Reading this book was an awwwesome, hysterically funny and upbeat experience, and if that's what you're looking for, definitely fetch a copy of this book for yourself.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,025 reviews1,045 followers
November 4, 2015

Even though at the end of each chapter (and there are 40 chapters, plus an author's note and an epilogue), the narrator keeps nagging at the reader about how stupid this book is and how the reader will not learn anything, I on the contrary have an endless list to negate such claim.

All of these things and more are what I learned from the book:

1. If the author through his main character keeps warning you to stop reading his "stupid book", by all means read it. Even if he tells you that you might want to commit homicide or murder the author himself after reading the book, READ IT. Because I can promise you that it is going to be one of the most original books you'll ever read.

2. The book made me realize that Veronica Roth patterned the premise of her phenomenal series on the most mundane and most common institution- the High School. It's really no different from a post apocalyptic society with factions like the ff:

a. The Band Group- Amity
b. The Theater Group-Abnegation
c. The Smart Group- Erudite
d. The Jocs- Candor
e. The Stoners- Dauntless
f. The loners- Factionless.

* Note: The classifications of high school factions are from the book. The analysis and the link to Divergent factions were done by yours truly.^^

3. I'm not very good with acronyms and it's always a pleasure to learn a new one. I learned one from the book. HGWAASGHPAWNIDYL as in Hot Girls Who Are Also Sympathetic Good-Hearted People and Will Not Intentionally Destroy Your Life. LMAO!

4. I learned a lot about film making.

5. The general idea about how people look like rodents or birds.

6. The excessive modesty reflex which is clearly annoying but it just can't be helped.

7. Just because something is weird and hard to understand doesn't mean it's creative. Lol. This is HONESTLY true!

8. The use of the phrase "little did I know" totally doesn't make sense and I was laughing so hard because I sometimes use this phrase in my reviews. That is definitely going to change from now on.^^

9. Books about cancer don't always have to be terribly emotional and heartbreaking and that it's possible for a book to make me laugh out loud page after page.

10. That for a book to be smart doesn't have to include extremely smart characters and sophisticated words.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,808 reviews32.3k followers
February 8, 2016
4-4.5 stars

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: YA book #3 for me in 2016. It was a really good pick! Thank you to my bestie for suggesting we do this one on audio together! So before I get into this review, lets chat for a minute. Anyone who knows me knows I collect signed books. I have hundreds. It’s a problem (not really… but) Anyways, I was in a different city in a bookstore with my husband and in-laws. I’m texting Beverly and she’s all “Chris- see if they have hardback copies of this book we’re listening to.” So, I go to the YA and look for a hardback. Low and behold… TWO SIGNED COPIES are sitting on the shelf! It’s like it was meant to be! So now we both have a signed copy of this awesome book!

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Moving on-

So Me and Earl and the Dying Girl how do I even explain or review this book? It was hilarious. I’m sure there were tons of lines and scenes where it was totally inappropriate of me to laugh at, but I found myself constantly cracking up. Greg and Earl were the best. I don’t even know where they came up with this stuff, but it was so funny.

This is not just a book about a dying girl. It’s not a super sad book that will make you cry a river (I may have shed a tear or two… but I cry over everything so I can’t be trusted). This is a book about a teen boy who’s not perfect, and who's growing up and coping with difficult things the best way he can with his life and situations happening. I enjoyed this book so much, I’m going to buy the movie this weekend… lets hope it’s good!
“When you convert a good book to a film. stupid things happen”

Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
591 reviews3,541 followers
January 11, 2021
EDIT 17/10/2016: I am so horrendously late to the party, but the movie is awesome. It keeps the humor and self-aware nature of the novel and adds just a pinch of poignancy to make it feel worthwhile. Because the book doesn't take itself seriously enough and I love that about it, but I also love how the producers tweaked it for a more mainstream audience. They're both brilliant on their own.

Side mini-rant: How on earth did it gross less than The Fault in Our Stars? It's an outrage.

(Original review)

3.5 stars

Nice Natalie: I don't even know why we're here. This book is pure snark. We love snark!

Cynical Natalie: Not if the characters are assholes. Greg is like the worse version of that kid from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He's selfish, inconsiderate, and an all-around jerk.

Nice Natalie: What do you expect, he's a teenage boy. That's what makes him real.

Cynical Natalie: Just because he's a teenage boy doesn't give him liberty to be a douche. He treats Rachel like a burden, which I grudgingly accept because it is sort of realistic. But even towards the end when , all he thought about was how he didn't want her to die and it made him really sad.

Nice Natalie: Greg already warned us ahead of time this isn't the kind of book where he goes through Acceptance and receives some big epiphany about life or something. It's a refreshing change from The Fault in Our Stars.

And he's funny!

“I entered Excessive Modesty Mode. Nothing is stupider and more ineffective than Excessive Modesty Mode. It is a mode in which you show that you’re modest by arguing with someone who is trying to compliment you. Essentially, you are going out of your way to try to convince someone that you’re a jerk.”

“And if a jock. God forbid, witnesses you hobnobbing with theater kids, he will immediately assume you are gay, and there is no force on earth greater than the fear jocks have homosexuals. None. It's like the Jewish fear of Nazis, except the complete opposite with regard to who is beating the crap out of whom. So I guess it's more like the Nazi fear of Jews.”

We haven't laughed this hard at a book in ages.

Cynical Natalie: You know what else is funny? The Big Bang Theory. We love it to pieces and ship Shamy obsessively, but that doesn't mean its jokes aren't sometimes sexist, racist, and borderline offensive.

Greg makes some pretty sexist jokes, like saying fourteen-year-old girls are psychotic and their hobbies include not eating and yelling at parents. I was a fourteen-year-old girl once and I'll kick him right in his experimental-film-loving nuts.

Nice Natalie: He wasn't that pretentious. Even you were impressed by how the author made him so relatable, even though his hobby is really indie. And the different formats are cool.

Cynical Natalie: Point taken. But Rachel, whom this book is supposed to revolve around, hardly has any personality.

Nice Natalie: That's because Greg never took the time to know her. It's part of his character and why he's realistic—

Cynical Natalie: —and there's zero plot. It's just a big flow of events.

Nice Natalie: Not exactly. According to literature class (Cynical Natalie: Here we go), the climax of a plot doesn't have to contain fighter jets or explosions, the MC simply has to come to a great realization. Greg realizes It resembles real life.

Cynical Natalie: Yeah, but we read fiction to escape real life.

Nice Natalie: You secretly love it. You throw fits whenever endings are too happy. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is gritty and unapologetic.

Cynical Natalie: Whatever. I'm not watching the movie. The trailer leads me to think they made it a lot more The Fault in Our Fucking Stars than the original text and God knows we've had enough of that shit.

To quote this very book:

“When you convert a good book to a film, stupid things happen”

Nice Natalie: Oh, come on. I'm sure it won't be that bad.

Cynical Natalie: Hey, if we're going to tussle over the film, we're doing it off-screen. Come're...

Other Nice Natalie/Cynical Natalie brawls reviews:

The Fault in Our Stars
A Girl Like You
If I Stay
Dreams of Gods & Monsters
The Martian
Catching Fire
All The Rage
An Ember In The Ashes
Harry Potter & the Cursed Child
The Hammer of Thor
The Ship of the Dead
The Last Namsara
Profile Image for Maureen.
507 reviews4,201 followers
April 14, 2015
This was a pretty freaking great book. I really enjoyed it and laughed out loud at a lot of parts. It's not your typical YA - or typical cancer story for that matter - and that's what I loved about it. READ IT.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,399 reviews11.7k followers
February 21, 2012
As seen on The Readventurer

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was my second "cancer book" in as many months. Although both Jesse Andrews and John Green had the same intention - to write a story about cancer that was different from those other tearjerky novels, in my eyes, Andrews was much more successful at stepping away from melodrama and cliches of the genre than Green. Of course, Andrews does not (yet) have a publicity platform of Green's magnitude to promote his novel, so I am glad to be able to help him out a little, because, from my perspective, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a better, more honest, more real book than The Fault in Our Stars.

It is better mainly because it does not try to force you into feeling all the obvious things we are expected to feel reading stories about young, terminally ill characters. There is a certain compulsion to idealize cancer kids, lives ending so tragically early and all that. It is also pretty common to practically guilt you into feeling sorry for their specific predicament. But I like that Andrews allows his characters, even his hero, to be resentful and maybe indifferent towards or burdened by the illness, that his cancer-stricken patient is not an ever-so-wise, heroic saint, that there are maybe no life lessons to learn from such personal tragedies. Maybe having a dying girl in your life is just an event that will affect you in a major way, or maybe it will not and that would be okay, too.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is not all about cancer though, in fact, the dying girl subplot plays only a relatively small part in Greg's story. It is more about Greg defining himself, stopping to play so safe, about bringing a little more focus onto his future and about understanding of who he is. The author might be a little coy repeating again and again in his narrative that there is no point to this novel, but there is one.

Another good thing about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is that it is very funny. The success of the book with a reader will depend a lot on what he/she finds funny though, because, admittedly, the novel is filled with jokes of the bathroom variety, you know, boogers, boobs and boners. But it was funny to me nevertheless.

Great dialogue, self-deprecating humor (albeit occasionally too self-deprecating to be not annoying), vulgarity, wacky secondary characters, fresh (to me) approach to portraying cancer - I enjoyed it all and I hope you will too.
Profile Image for Jo.
268 reviews946 followers
May 12, 2020
An exchange.

“I think I’m gonna go and read my book.”
“Oh? Which book is it?”
“Just this hilarious book about cancer.”

And you should’ve seen the glare I received.

You see that is the problem I fear I’m going to have with this book. I want to run around wildly and throw this book at people and yell “READ IT!” and they’ll be like “Woah, Jo, what’s it about?! Tell me everything!”
“Is it, is it really?”
“But what’s it actually about?”
“Um… well, there’s this guy and he’s friends with this girl and… um, well… she kind of has cancer. Well, no, I guess there’s no kinda about it, she does have cancer.”
“Oh god, it’s one of those books, isn’t it?”

It is not one of those books. Yes it’s about someone who has cancer but it’s not a cancer book.
Are you still with me?
I’ll take that as a yes.
I often think that some writers think that if a book is about (or, in this case, features) a difficult subject then their readers must be crying all the way through the book to show that they have succeeded in handling it in an honest and realistic way.
Thankfully, Mr Andrews shows that this is not the case.

Although, while I’ve been writing this I’ve realised that, in my trying to convince you this that this book isn’t about cancer, all I’ve done is talk about cancer.
So, one last time with feeling or… um...y’know… bold writing.


So seeing as I’ve just been chatting on about this book is not about, I should probably talk about what it actually is about, shouldn’t I?
This book, in a nutshell, is about a boy stumbling wildly through adolescence with the help of a brilliant and hilarious friend named Earl.
Except I don’t really mean help… because Earl doesn’t really help him as such. He just swears a lot and is gross and crude and is just generally brilliant at random intervals throughout this book. Throw in some fantastic Son of Rambow-eqsque scenes and you have one of the funniest and memorable double acts in young adult literature.

I really loved Greg, both as a character and a narrator. He was fresh, original and definitely the kind of person I would want to punch in the arm on numerous occasions. Yeah, he wasn’t always likeable but what seventeen year old boy is?
I could chat on for a bit about all my favourite Greg moments but when I went back and looked at my notes I realised I’d pretty much highlighted everything for the first few chapters and then I gave up and just vowed to re-read it again.
This book had pretty much everything: lists, scripts, film reviews. I loved these different styles because they were hilarious, original and really added a lot to the book.

The only quibble I had was that some jokes went on for a smidgeon too long and I realised I had no idea how we’d got to that bit and I was probably just laughing because I thought I should be.
Oh, except that I also wish there was more Earl. He should get his own book… and television series. I would watch that religiously and probably buy the box set.

I loved how this book never set out to trick you and lull you into a false sense of security of laughter only to bombard you with sadness and a message at the end. It stated from the get go that this was a hilarious and ridiculous book and if you were looking for a message and/or meaning, it’s your own fault if you’re left disappointed.

“If this were a touching romantic story, in this moment some STRANGE NEW FEELING would wash over Greg, a sense of being understood, in a basic way that he almost never understood. Then, Greg and Rachel would make-out like lovesick badgers.
However, this is not a touching romantic story. There is no NEW FEELING that washes over Greg. There is no BADGER MAKE-OUT SESSION.”

“I can’t believe you’re still reading this. You should smack yourself in the face a couple of times right now, just to complete the outstandingly stupid experience that is this book.”

“You can take pretty much any sentence in this book and if you read it enough times, you will probably end up committing homicide.”

No message.
This book doesn’t want you to learn anything!

I think the only similarity this book has with a "cancer book" is that you shouldn’t read it in public because seriously, the amount of bellowing laughter this book caused was ridiculous. And kind of embarrassing. My normal, everyday laugh resembles the bark of a dying seal with a cold and this book took that to a whole new level.
I’ll let your imagination deal with that one.

OK, I’m reading through my review and I’ve realised I’ve not really said anything about this book to convince you whether it’s right for you so I’m just going to stop.

This book made me:
Really look forward to see what Mr Andrews writes next.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,199 followers
November 21, 2018
Not that funny as I excepted. Definitely a great contempoary for these days. Highly recommend it.

Full review to come!
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,891 followers
February 16, 2012
3.5 stars

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a very strange book indeed. I’m sure some of you read the blurb and thought: Not another cancer book! Really, are books about teens with cancer the new black?! Yeah, I thought so too. It turns out that this book has very little to do with cancer. It has more to do with several other, completely unrelated things like filmmaking, high school social structure, odd friendships and nagging parents. It’s certainly not a sob story. The only tears I’d shed while reading it were caused by laughter.

My point is this: This book contains precisely zero Important Life Lessons, or Little-Known Facts About Love, or sappy tear-jerking Moments When We Knew We Had Left Our Childhood Behind For Good or whatever. And, unlike most books in which a girl gets cancer, there are definitely no sugary paradoxical single-sentence-paragraphs that you’re supposed to think are deep because they’re in italics.

This is where I would normally write a lengthy plot summary, but I’m afraid my usual reviewing patterns simply won’t work for this book. Greg Gaines is a normal, awkward teenage boy who prides himself in the fact that he doesn’t belong to any of the usual groups in high school, but is on friendly terms with everyone. He only has one real friend, his complete opposite, Earl. When a girl from his school gets leukemia, Greg’s mother makes Greg spend time with her, and as much as he doesn’t want to, he’s too afraid of his mother to say no.

Greg Gaines, our main character, assumed the role of the author, which led to a lot of self-deprecating humor (and made me think that he was also, at least partly, an author surrogate). Although I’ll be the first to admit that his observations about his own writing were often hilarious, I did feel that the whole thing was overdone at times. A good joke can only be good for so long before it becomes downright annoying. Here’s just one example:
And that’s part of the backstory for me and Earl. It’ll probably be relevant later, although who really knows. I can’t believe you’re still reading this. You should smack yourself in the face a couple of times right now, just to complete the outstandingly stupid experience that is this book.
That is just one example in which an invisible line was crossed and Greg’s story stopped being funny and became eye-roll inducing. That doesn’t mean, however, that this book didn’t have incredibly funny moments. It is, after all, based almost entirely on humor, and the kind of humor that actually worked for me most of the time. It is what kept me reading even after I realized that there isn’t an actual plot to speak of. The fact that it took me a while to even notice says enough about the kind of narrative we’re dealing with here.

I honestly think that I’m not the intended audience for this book, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. In many ways, it provides a realistic insight into a teenage boy’s mind, and that’s something we (I) don’t see enough of. Do I think you should read this book? Definitely. It’s not a book that you’ll read compulsively, so it’s best to pick it up when you’re otherwise preoccupied. It’s one of those books you can abandon for a while and go back to whenever you feel like it. There are times when that’s exactly what I’m looking for: a light, fun read that will allow me to focus on other, more important things.
Profile Image for Theresa.
228 reviews141 followers
March 26, 2017
"Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" is crude, lewd, silly, heartbreaking, sweet, cynical, honest, and too smart for its own good. Probably one of the funniest YA novels I've had the pleasure of reading. I also recommend watching the movie. Actually, the movie is pretty tame compared to the book (a lot less profanity and sexual directness). Thomas Mann who plays Greg Gaines in the film knocks it out of the park! Holy hell, he's talented. Jesse Andrews is weird little writer (I like weirdoes) who does a fine job of balancing humor and heart. Give this offbeat novel a try. Enjoy!
Profile Image for Banny Kirsten Marie Reviews.
43 reviews6,332 followers
May 19, 2018
I'm sorry to say but this book was terrible... I don't normally give out one star but whenever i do there has got ro be something wrong... This was not a funny book in my opinion it was highly innapropriate.... Greg was selfish... Earl had a foul mouth and needed someone to wash it out with a good bar of soap! If i talked the way Earl did then my mama would of grounded me for life! Rachel was the only character who actually seemed okay. This is not the right message we should be sending out to our children or our youth. We should be teaaching our children to love and care for others..... Greg seems like he cares but all he worries about i his stupid videos... Greg had an attitude and deserved the beating he got from Earl! Earl was the worst he really cared for Rachel more then Greg did and i could sense that but he really has no bussiness being in a book that might possibly be picked up by a fourth or fifth grader. The author should have more considerate in what was put in his or her's book because the children who read are the children of the future and if we want them all mini Earls then let them keep reading things like this. I will never let my kids touch this kind of nonsense... I did not laugh whenever it supposed to be funny and i not cry when i supposed to cry..... I just kinda starred at it with no emotions what so ever! This book is a one star read for me and i don't plan on picking it up again anytime in the future... I am very dissapointed because whenever i picked it up from the library i was so anxious to read it and now i am suprised that i got all the way threw it i completly wasted my time. I'm so, so, so sorry Jesse Andrews but this was rotten.... I do plan to read more of the authors books and i hope and pray that i like them because i hate giveing bad reviews it crushes my heart.. I think i am going to cry... :(

So i just finished the movie so as i promised lets compare… Let me start by saying… What the HE DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS was ths? The movie was just as bad possibly not worse but it was BAD! Greg is not as selfish as the book and this time he does cry whenever Rachel passes away which got me. Earl was still foul mouthed and Rachel did not play her role very well. My mother wanted to watch this movie with me but i firmly told her no because it was so bad and i am always happy to watch family movies. My sister had no bussiness watching this so called film but she liked it more then i did… Sometimes i wanted to get up and slap the stupid out of these teenagers… Yes this is how teenagers are these days but its stuff like this that sets the example. Hey everyone i have got an idea… Lets all go befriend a dying girl and whenever we go over to her house we can be on drugs and then we can take her out to ice cream and talk crap behind eachothers backs… Would you like that? No? Good because neither would I! I cannot even go on the book and the movie were so bad… I am not even going to give it another chance EVER! Sorry Jesse Andrews but this one was not for me and i no longer feel bad bout the one star rateing!
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,444 reviews7,531 followers
October 1, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

EDIT: I NEVER change my rating, but this one deserves all 5 and I don't know what assholery I was up to when I first reviewed it and knocked it down half a star. Also, THIS (http://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/...) was a thing a couple of weeks ago and Jesse Andrews already did it for realsies with Earl. Also #2, I used to write non-giffified reviews. How lame.

Greg has managed to make it to his senior year by being an acquaintance to all and a friend to none one. When you’re a rodent-faced, chubby kid growing up in a not-so-great area and attend a high school of cliques that run the gamut of nerd to criminal, it’s probably best to just blend in so you never get singled out. His only friend has always been Earl – a foul-mouthed, chain-smoking, vertically challenged, roundhouse-kicking kid from a broken home, who has pretty much raised himself in a house filled with drug dealing, gangbanging brothers. After Greg decided to give up on having other friends (or ever getting a girl), he and Earl spent all their free time making their own versions of their favorite movies. That is, until Greg’s mother tells him he has to rekindle a friendship with Rachel, a girl from his Hebrew classes ages ago, who is now battling leukemia. Begrudgingly following his mother’s demand request, Greg (and Earl) do as told, eventually letting Rachel in on their secret and sharing their movies with her. Rachel’s dying wish of her new two friends is for them to make a new movie for her. Unfortunately, said movie ends up being the "Worst Film Ever Made" and Greg finds himself in the spotlight he has hidden from all his life.

How can I even describe how much I liked this quirky little novel. After realizing he has made the “Worst Film Ever Made”, Greg has taken to paper to write his tale rather than put it on film. His self-deprecation (i.e., “I can’t believe you’re still reading this. You should smack yourself in the face a couple of times right now just to complete the outstandingly stupid experience that is this book”) and complete honesty about being an awkward teenager (“He has just gotten home from school and is trying to read “A Tale of Two Cities” for class, but it is difficult for him to maintain focus, because inside his pants he has AN INEXPLICABLE BONER”) made me have a “you had me at hello moment”. I am always reeled right in by the loveable loser. (And cover art. God am I a cheap date for a good cover.)

Although nearly 100% certain I would like this book right from the get-go, I never imagined what would happen when Earl entered my life. Earl is one of my favorite characters of the entire year. He gives you zero time to pity the poverty and drugs he has been raised around – instead he is just a constant ball of hilarity and brilliance and I remain smitten.

If you’re concerned about this being a replay of “A Fault In Our Stars” and turning into a huge boo-bag because you’re reading a book that flat out tells you it’s about a dying girl, have no fear. Yes, there is a dying girl, but she is really more of an accessory to the story. Andrews doesn’t let you in Rachel’s life so far as to rip your heart out at her suffering. He just gives you enough info to get you a little misty.

If you’re a fan of John Green or Matthew Quick or Stephen Chbosky, you should not be disappointed with Jesse Andrews. I can’t wait for him to write more.
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews420 followers
December 6, 2015
I'd seen so many negative review for this book. My best friend warned me not to read this book and I didn't listen. But I was curious and there was a couple positive reviews so I read it. A small part of me thought I might like this book. Okay, I hoped that I would like this book. But I didn't and I ended up quitting around page 200. I'm not surprised that I didn't like this book (my best friend told me over and over that it was an awful book) but I'm still really disappointed.
I could tell that this book was suppose to have a lot of humor in it but it just didn't work for me. I smiled a little bit in the first few pages but it got old real fast.
Greg was one of the worst narrators ever. He's right up there with Bella from Twilight and Anastasia Steele from
Fifty Shades of Grey. He was so annoying and he just wouldn't get on with the story. It just kept dragging on and on. I don't even know how I made it to page 200.
The characters were boring, underdeveloped and not well written at all.
I don't understand how an editor could have read this book and thought it was ready to be published. I don't like the concept of this book that much but great writing could have saved it. But I just can't think of anything about this book that I liked other than the cover is kind of cool.
I feel like I'm starting to rant so I'm just going to stop here. But overall, I should have listened to my best friend and not read this book because I lost a few hours of my life for nothing and I also wasted $10 on buying this book.

My best friend's review: http://loganashleyleduc.com/2015/06/2...
Profile Image for Sarah Churchill.
470 reviews1,173 followers
July 8, 2015
Such an unusual approach to this kind of story; a guy's reluctant friendship with a girl who's suffering with Leukemia, and while it should be a coming of age with some heartwarming scenes I spent most of the novel thinking he's a gigantic dick. And that just made it feel more real and understandable. That might seem like a strange sentence until you read the book.
Profile Image for Katie.
43 reviews1,100 followers
May 13, 2015
I enjoyed this book and thought it was really funny at times, but overall, it was kind of disappointing. I guess it was just a lot of hype, but I think it'll make a pretty good movie, and I'm really excited to see it when it comes out :)
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
838 reviews3,754 followers
February 15, 2021
Edit 06/18 : The movie looks fantastic! Me want. Trailer

Impromptu reread because what's better than starting vacations laughing?

This is it. Second time I read it and my opinion didn't change. Yes this is immature at times but what did you expect? The teenagers here feel real. Don't wait for the big revelations, for the meaningful things these kids have to say, you'd be disappointed. Don't wait for The Great Romance, either. That's just LIFE and I adored it for its honesty.

“It's like when a kitten tries to bite something to death. The kitten clearly has the cold-blooded murderous instinct of a predator, but at the same time, it's this cute little kitten, and all you want to do is stuff it in a shoebox and shoot a video of it for grandmas to watch on YouTube.”

▒ Original review (December 2014) ▒

I'd been thrown off guard.

To read this book was the best and the worst idea I could have :
- Perfect because I couldn't stop laughing.
- Not-so-perfect because I couldn't stop laughing in public. Out loud.

Of course I earned a lot of weird glances. Merry Christmas, that's so nice of you!

Therefore, I laughed out loud during the whole book : in the train, in the park, in front of my family. Well, the whole time. Mostly, because of Greg, the main character and narrator of the book, the Me of the title, my buddy Greg.

"Music really only interested me as a soundtrack to a movie, and as for sports, I mean, come on. It's some guys throwing some balls around, or trying to knock each other over, and you're supposed to watch them for three hours at a time, and it just sort of seems like a waste. I dunno."

Greg was such a relatable character! In my opinion, one of the most credible and believable teenager's voice I've had the opportunity to hear for years. Oh, if you're weird. I was undeniably odd in high-school. Maybe I'm still a bit. So Greg? Here's what I loved about him :

✔ The highly entertaining movies he makes with his friend coworker Earl. At first, when I became aware that we'd have to go through the description of every single movie they made, I kind of freaked out. I mean, I'm not a movie-hater, but I'm not a movie-lover either. But you know what? It became one of my favorite parts of the book, because those summaries? Awesome. What? You're not taking my word on it? See for yourself! That's free!

Astonishing movie #1 : I though the exact same thing!

"Apocalypse Later (dir G. Gaines and E. Jackson, 2007). Again, not our best title. Once we found out what the apocalypse was, we thought that it was ridiculous that Apocalypse Now was not, in fact, about the End of the World. This movie can best be summed up like this :

1. Earl, wearing a bandanna and holding a Super Soaker, demands to know when the apocalypse is happening.
2. Offscreen, I tell Earl that the apocalypse is not for a while.
3. Earl sits in a chair and does a lot of cussing.
4. Repeat.

Astonishing movie #2 : Tested and approved by my cats!

"Cat-ablanca (dir G. Gaines and E. Jackson, 2008). The thing is, cats can't act."

Astonishing movie #3 : Because the title says it all!

"Batman versus Spider-Man (dir G. Gaines and E. Jackson, 2011). (...) The bat and the spider have never been enemies... until now!!!!"

Astonishing movie #3546286 : Ha ha ha, you've seen my point?

Greg, you're totally cool. I wanna hang-out with youuuuuuuuu. Sorry about that.

✔His hilarious way to relate his own-life and the honesty with which he sees himself : No, Greg isn't perfect, even far from it. He doesn't know how to handle what he sees at first as a burden : that is to say, reacquainting himself with a former not-so-friend, Rachel, because she has been diagnosed with cancer. He isn't popular, isn't selfless, and especially not courageous. But his way to make a one-man-show of his own life was so funny I couldn't help but forgive him, even when he was being a coward. And even if I'm not able to point the exact moment I started to be moved by him, that happened. Suddenly I've been touched by the vulnerability implied by every single sentence we read.

"It was like when a dog makes a human-style face at you and you're temporarily thrown off guard by it. You're like, "Whoa, this dog is feeling a mixture of nostalgic melancholy and proprietary warmth. I was not aware that a dog was capable of an emotion of that complexity."

I've already written more than 500 words and I didn't even begin to deal with the cancer issue. Don't think I'm stalling - I'm not. In my opinion, this book manages to handle the cancer issue in a way so accurate I consider it as a real gem .

Why am I thanking Jess Andrews? Because he never magnifies cancer and cancer patients. You won't find here neither artificially-created love stories nor random teenagers magically answering existential questions. Because cancer does change people, but not always that much. Oh, and Greg is pissed. Yes, he is pissed, mad, and goes through all these emotions which have been labeled as bad. Rachel isn't always fearless and strong : she's upset, scared, she wants to give up sometimes, because fighting all the time is not humanly possible.

Finally, one of the main character is diagnosed with cancer but can Me, Earl and the dying girl be reduced to it? Definitely not.

That's only an amazing, heart-warming, laugh-out-loud book you don't want to miss. Only.

Icing on the cake? Listen to Greg : "If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I truly do not blame you"

PS: And I didn't talk about Earl! Earl's the best. That's all you need to know.

"So I said, "Ugh, there was just this badger picture in my head for some reason."
It goes without saying that the moment those words left my lips, I wanted to do serious injury to myself.
"Badger," Madison repeated. "Like the animal?"
"Yeah, you know," I said feebly. Then I added : "Just one of those badger head pictures you sometimes get."
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,001 reviews35.9k followers
January 4, 2016
UPDATE: 1/4/16 I finally saw the movie! Paul, (my husband), and I watched it at home over the week-end. It was equally -(or better) -than the book! Paul kept saying ...."this is so creative"...
We both loved it!
So, if you're not in the mood for the book....I'm sure most people would adore this movie! Wonderful actors!

Fresh frankness, humor, and pathos.

Jesse Andrews writing is outrageous .... funny as hell....that revolves around a
sensitive plot. The dialogue is brutally honest...which is why I must have been laughing
most of the entire book. Yeah... I was aware that my heart was breaking at the same time...
But good grief... LIFE is GOOD with the type of authentic humor Jesse writes.
There is a feeling of 'real' freedom of speech.

For a few hours...I was oblivious to all outside noise, and my surroundings.

*The movie is playing in our town... I hope to see it before it leaves the small indi
theater that it was playing at last weekend. I've already heard fantastic reports.

I'd definitely be up for another book with Greg as the protagonist. He is a terrific

For readers who enjoy Jonathan Tropper - or Shalom Auslander- Jesse Andrews can make
you split your sides as much as these other comic-tragic type authors who have been around a little longer.
Razor sharp wit.... 'Very talented' young author!!

Many congrats to Jesse Andrews!!!! We can use more hilarious books
like this in our world!

Profile Image for Sophia.
270 reviews2,035 followers
July 3, 2015
aw man. i'm really bummed about not COMPLETELY LOVING this book since i've heard so much praise for it.
it was just okay for me. some of the time, the jokes landed and i'd be smiling while reading, but more often than not, the jokes didn't land. greg is very-much-super-aware of his own stupidity as he likes to remind you every other line, but that didn't really help much. (yikes that sounds mean i'm sorry)
it's a creatively written book, which is something i can very much appreciate. jesse andrews makes it very fun and easy to read.
but overall, it wasn't really my style.
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