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Mathematical Geekiness, Love, Cancer: How Can You Lose?

Love and Other Unknown Variables - Shannon Alexander

10/29/14 ** DO NOT start this book - if you don't have time to finish it. One of the hardest things I did over the weekend was put the book down to finish a paper for grad school. It is the best book I've read this year, and I cannot speak highly enough of this moving YA debut novel by Shannon L Alexander.


Though it's being described as a "read alike" for The Fault in Our Stars" (and it is), this book should be read on its own merit. The protagonist, Charlie, has his life plotted out - valedictorian, MIT... He knows he hasn't been able to figure out girls in the past, and he figures he won't be able to now. He meets Charlotte, a girl with the symbol for infinity tattooed on her neck - a girl with links to math? He falls hard, then finds out Charlotte has a secret. 


In addition to having a mathematically-voiced protagonist I believed, emotion I felt, and characters I REALLY cared about, I appreciated allusions to other literature throughout the book - Harry Potter in snippets and many references to To Kill a Mockingbird. I was also astounded by the lengths to which the English teacher at Charlie's school went went to entice the math and science majors to connect with poetry (who knew there were so many mathematical references in poems?!)


I sincerely hope to see this book on the tables in front of the Printz and Morris selection committees.