ARC #REVIEW: Love and Other Unknown Variables

ARC Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

*This review has been updated to keep it relevant on 12/11/2015

Title: Love and Other Unknown Variables
Author: Shannon Lee Alexander
Pages: 336
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publish Date: October 7, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis: 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).

Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander was an ARC I received via .pdf by Entangled Publishing for reading/viewing purposes only. In receiving this ARC, I will post an honest, true review reflecting my opinion over this book. This review is my opinion and hasn’t been influenced by any other party.


Cover: Well, I actually haven’t seen the cover yet. It wasn’t included on my .pdf copy. I’m going to do a Google search before I post this, but I haven’t seen it yet.

I actually kind of like the cover, but it has a lot going on. The shoes remind me of a lot of other covers though. I like how they stuck with the red theme and everything else was black and white. It looks pretty cool.

Characters: I liked the characters although they weren’t amazing and not very memorable. The main characters were pretty eh, but I liked quite a few of the secondary ones.

I really liked Mrs. Dunwitty. She was very sarcastic, and I loved how she called Charlie ‘Jack’ as in Jackass. She was one of the funniest characters in this whole novel. Her personality shone through. I loved her flamingo pink door. It really fit her. Also, everyone was too afraid to talk to her, but she wasn’t that bad once Charlie got to know her. She was misunderstood.

James was also one of my favs. I found him incredibly funny, plus I was always looking forward to what he had to say. He was really good at pranking (not really, but he tried some pretty hilarious pranks). He didn’t go the normal route of pranking; he was original. And I liked that.

Becca kind of reminded myself of me, except I’m way more social. I wish I had as many books as her.

Plot (MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS): This book was very similar to The Fault in Our Stars. The girl has cancer (of the brain), but the boy doesn’t. Very similar, but I guess any fiction novel with cancer compares to TFIOS, whatever this genre is considered. Since TFIOS was so successful and praised for being incredibly real, we’ll probably be seeing a lot more of these books. We always see that; examples include Twilight for bringing us all the vampire/werewolf paranormal novels, Harry Potter for bringing us the countless books on wizards and witchcraft, etc. So this genre needs a name. In the comments below, suggest a few names for this new, growing genre. Be creative with it. I’d probably call it “Sad, Realistic Fiction About Sickness That Makes You Realize How Short Life Really Is And How It Can Be Taken Away So Quickly.” I feel as if this explains how believable the plot is, and how sad this stories can actually be.

This book was very nerdy humor, and I loved it. I appreciate nerdy humor. I find it hilarious, but a lot of people don’t get it. I guess it can be categorized as awkward humor. Hopefully, that doesn’t offend anybody, but it’s true. It’s really sweet, and I connected with it so much. This nerdy humor continued throughout the book. It was awesome! I also learned some pretty cool things from this book. Did you know that there are 8760 hours in 1 year? I never knew that. There were a lot of advanced words in this book as well. I had to search a few up.

The plot seemed to flow pretty well. Most of it made sense in the long run. Except for Mrs. Dunwitty’s part, she was mentioned at first when Charlie was fixing her garden. Then, she would pop up unexpectedly. Sometimes he would go over and talk to her, then she sends him a Christmas card, and then Charlie goes and visits her at the retirement home. But then her part stops. You’d think if she was that important to Charlie he would visit her, or even mention her, again. But she wasn’t mentioned for the rest of the book. I didn’t know what happened to her. Did she die? Is she alive? I don’t know. And that makes me mad seeing how she was one of my favorite characters.

Ending (Major Spoilers): Since this book was compared so much to TFIOS before I even started reading it, I kind of guessed the ending. Which sort of defeats the whole purpose of reading a book, except it does teach quite a few lessons. I knew that someone was going to have cancer, I just didn’t know who. And I knew that when someone has cancer, they die, especially when the refuse treatment. So I knew the ending before it happened. It shouldn’t have been compare to TFIOS if they didn’t want us to know Charlotte dies. Just saying. It was a very predictable ending.

It’s just I wasn’t expecting it to end so abruptly. Everything’s happy and fine one chapter, and then the next chapter flashes forwards a couple weeks and BAM! she’s dead. It should have been carried out. I was not expecting Charlotte to die this early. I was thinking she still had another year because it didn’t mention she wasn’t doing good. It was VERY rushed. (END SPOILERS)

Overall: Overall, this book was okay. It was not the best I’ve read in this genre (whatever you decide to call it), but it was still pretty good. I was very emotional while reading this. It make me cry in some parts and grin like an idiot in others. It was kind of cheesy, and I liked that. These kinds of books teach a very important lesson, and I’m glad I learned it. I have really stopped taking things for granted. I recommend this book to people who like The Fault in Our Stars, though it doesn’t shine quite as bright. If you liked TFIOS, you should like this book. (I need to stop comparing it to that book like everyone else).