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.
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
This is book is a bit of a rebel - it deviates from what you expect a book that explores illness, friendship and finding yourself in high school to be like. And I really appreciated that. It's like seeing a rainbow that's painted in teal, maroon and pink. It's a book I wanted to experience ever since I watched the trailer of the movie (AND look at that cover:)) and felt chills and felt excited for this new and weird (in a lovely sense) coming-of-age story! It didn't live up to my expectations but it was worth the read.
The beginning of this book is one of my favourite beginnings. Although the beginnings of books tend to not be the strongest, this one unashamedly makes me laugh and pokes fun of the high school hierarchy. I picked up this book hoping it would be as hilarious as I hoped it would be and Greg's description of high school groups is not cliche in any way but so ridiculous and perfect that a smile can't resist itself.
Greg's philosophy on high school is so different from most peoples that I felt like I was watching a social experiment. He doesn't want to belong with anyone - he doesn't want friends - he just wants to make it through high school without having a spotlight shining on him. I loved how he and Earl make quirky parody movies because it's fun to hear about the ideas behind their weird and wonderful (not technically but in spirit;)) films. Greg and Earl have an interesting and unusual relationship that I would call friendship even though the 'friendless' Greg refuses to acknowledge he does indeed have a friend. Their dynamic is a special part of this book because it shows you that friendship can spring from unlikely places and that friends have the ability to push you to become a better person.
This book is not a dreamer. This book does not pretend to be a dreamer or an optimist. That was one thing that made it unique. It refused to give in to what we expect in a book: romance, typical relationships and big dreams dreamt by everyone. It chooses to be raw and realistic and funny, even when you it would be so easy for it to fall to convention. I liked how Rachel, Greg and Earl interacted with eachother because it was like pieces of different puzzles somehow coming together. It could get really awkward for them (People cringe in real life so why not in books too?:P) but that's what the start of things tends to be like (and I like how their awkwardness and weirdness was so real - it wasn't eccentric - it was more grounded in reality with a fun twist).
But there was just a slight disconnect between me and this book. I'm not sure if it's just me being an eternal dreamer and an optimist who likes a bit of cheesy or lots of emotion but I just didn't feel like I got an emotional pay off as I didn't feel satisfied by the end of the book. Normally books that focus on characters and relationships are my chocolate (for example, the TV show, the Office (US) has so much humour but also touching and beautiful moments - and it's about a paper company BUT it's really about the people who work there!) but I just never felt as invested in the characters or in the plot as I wanted to be. That's why the start of this book was my favourite part of it. I did thoroughly enjoy this book but it's not an all-time favourite for me and if there was a fire and I had to choose which books to save (Never let this happen!), this would probably not be one I'd run for.
So this book gets a lovely 4 stars!