“If after reading this book and come to my house to brutally murder me, I do not blame you.”
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.
★★★ 3.5/5 stars.
Overall, this book was OK.
If you’re thinking this story is a romance or about “the Dying Girl,” think again.I know the protagonist left a disclaimer about this in the prologue, but I was still surprised that the story is mainly about Greg. Warning: the book is honestly about an immature teenager dealing with death and growing up. That’s it. There’s nothing more to look for under the microscope.
I had a lot of problems with Greg’s character. Throughout the whole book, he seemed insensitive, insecure, and obnoxious. He said so as much too. I understand the whole self-deprecating humor and melodramatic demeanor, but the book overwhelmed me with it. I was more interested in the serious parts than Greg making a jab at his physical appearance or whatnot. He did redeem himself a tiny bit in the end when he confessed his shortcomings and how ridiculous he had been. In retrospect, Earl was my favorite character; he did not put up with anyone’s fake bs.
Going back to the humor part, it was either hit-or-miss for me, and usually it was a miss. His humor seemed a way to shut people out. It never invited me in so as much, it made me think less of Greg. He also repeated the same jokes too. It became annoying after a time.
One more thing, the representation of the “teenager” was awful. I’m nearly still a teenager, so I should know. I don’t remember anyone repeating “That sucks” so many times, and Greg replicated that sentence in so many ways of about each chapter. He acted like the world was out to get him too. Everyone had to hate him, and everyone had to make a big deal about him.
Okay, I promise one more point, and an actual good point too. The book did portray death in an accurate way, or at least how I have dealt with it. I will give it that.