Release Date: October 7, 2014
***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Entangled.
“Charlotte’s hands are in my hair, pulling my face to hers. Her lips crash into mine like a meteorite hitting Earth’s atmosphere. Fire and heat explode as we fall together toward an uncertain ground. It’s a long, beautiful fall.”
“Charlotte shakes her head. ‘Please don’t confuse love and logic, Charlie. They aren’t even remotely related.'”
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 is the kind of book that makes you want to live, laugh and hold on to your loved ones; the kind that makes you reevaluate your life and consider just what makes you happy and how many other inconsequential and stupid things interfere with our true elation in simply living. Love and Other Unknown Variables makes you appreciate the little things, the silly things, and those that open your heart and fill you with light. Be forewarned, this is the kind of story that will rip you open and send your emotions into a chaotic spiral of confusion and sadness.
Sometimes you get a book and you realize, this just isn’t for me and it’s really hard as a blogger to navigate between personal preference and critique. Unfortunately, Love and Other Unknown Variables didn’t grab me from the get go. Yes, there was mystery, there was a meet cute that turned into serendipity that typically I would be all over but for some reason, Charlie was not a heart throb or even endearing, in fact he was kind of an idiot so wrapped up in his scientific beliefs that he walked all over Charlotte’s feelings. While she appreciated his brute honesty, that he didn’t always treat her like she was breakable or damaged, it was hard not to cringe. When you’re talking to a girl with terminal cancer, I feel like it’s just not okay to start off a conversation with “When you die…”
Charlie is socially awkward. Everything is an experiment to him and his mathematical calculations and their applications into everyday life were tiresome, really random and boring. I yearned for the scenes when Charlotte was there to liven things up and bring him out of his sad little MIT obsessed box. Scenes dragged on where nothing happened other than Charlie’s paranoia and infatuation with Charlotte. Charlie’s friends, Greta and James were as lackluster, although James had some moments. I wished Greta would live a little, lighten up, and not be so serious all the time. She was a bit of a pushy buzz kill. James is fun. He takes situations and adds immaturity and comedy to them. The pranks are so amateur but earn a few chuckles and the scene where James gets Charlie drunk is AMAZING. I laughed so hard and it reminded me of my own first drunken experience. The way Charlie chugged that alcohol and slurred his works was kind of adorable and I found myself suddenly liking him a little.
There’s something a little Salinger-esque about this story just for the sheer random awkwardness.
I love Charlotte, she’s whimsical and quirky, and she looks at life through a kaleidoscope of imagination. She’s beautiful not only physically but in her soul. She’s kind and sticks to her guns, she doesn’t put up with anyone dragging her down or making her feel like less than she is because of her illness. She’s charming and the way she sings loudly to music and dances around is so inspiring. Charlotte changes everyone she meets, she opens them up to possibilities and seeing the world differently than what’s hard facts or physically in front of them. Her art is colorful and puzzling, just like her. I would love to see these pieces in real life.
As a former lit major, I appreciated the play on To Kill a Mockingbird and the importance of literature in touching the soul. ❤
Some scenes took my heart and trampled on it. I mean, ugly cry, book throwing sadness. The last scene with the To Kill a Mockingbird dedication. I can’t even…wow. It’s like all of the emotional trauma that was lingering beneath the surface rose to the surface in an explosion of remorse and heartache.
One thing I thoroughly enjoyed about this story is that the romance was different. It wasn’t really flirty or forward, it was painfully awkward at times and yes, they said the wrong things and it didn’t go well, but it was real. Charlotte and Charlie seem at odds with one another but develop a quasi-friendship that blossoms into something more. Their first kiss is one of the oddest, mushiest, breathtakingly perfect things I’ve ever read. You will melt, swoon, collapse into a puddle of happy.
This cover is everything. The black and white, the pops of red, the heart 🙂 LOVE.
There wasn’t a strong plot. The pranks seemed pointless and the story felt unfinished. The scenes with Dimwit for one had a big effect on Charlie and yet they were unstressed and ended sort of abruptly.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this: