Friday, October 10, 2014

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

Title: Love and Other Unkown Variables
Author: Shannon Lee Alexander
Release Date: 7th October 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Find on: Goodreads

Quick ReviewCharlie 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).

Detailed ReviewDetailed Review: <<I received an ARC copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for my honest feedback>>

Sorry for the really delayed review! Apologies to the publisher and author. I've been so busy nowadays that I can hardly find time to blog! 

Love and Other Unknown Variables was pretty much a book for John Green fans. It was a cross between The Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska. And a bit of Am Abundance of Katherines as well. And if you're wondering, I have read every John Green book except Let It Snow.

So you have this really smart and logical guy and this mysterious girl who is terminally ill? Instant sparks and then a love story. And considerably very John Green-ish. 

Oh, but it's so much more than that. It's not JUST a love story, it's a story of a logical person's perception of love. It tells a story about love shaking your world to its very core, causing you to lose certainty of your life and future. In the end, it doesn't even matter.

I didn't even realise the effect this book had on me until one particular part that linked to the very first chapter. Here's an idea of how it was like. The chapter headers weren't common ones like Chapter 1. It was more of a logical idea, like Charlie's personality. 

I will give you a taste of the first chapter.


Beginnings are tricky things. I've been staring at this blank page for forty-seven minutes. It is infinite with possibilities. Once I begin, they diminish.

Scientifically, I know beginnings don't exist. The world is made of energy, which is neither created nor destroyed. Everything she is was here before me. Everything she was will always remain. Her existence touches both my past and future at one point- infinity.

Lifelines aren't lines at all. They're more like circles.

It's safe to start anywhere and the story will curve its way back to the starting point. Eventually.

In other words, it doesn't matter where I begin. It doesn't change the end.

And so it begins, from 1.0 on the circle up to 1.0 again. It really does happen in the book, when the circle reaches 0.0. I just lost it then. And no, it wasn't the beginning. Is there really any real beginning in a circle? You won't understand, but if you read this book, you will. 

My favourite character wasn't Charlie or Charlotte; it was a character who, although didn't appear as often as the main characters, played a vital role in the book and liven it up. She is Mrs Dunwitty, whose garden Charlie ran over in his car when he was daydreaming about Charlotte. This means that he has to come back every afternoon after school to repair the garden until its whole again. The old woman was like a reminder to me that it was ok to stand out in the crowd, with her house door painted flamingo-ass pink, and her own species of roses, the Harvest Moon. She definitely wins an award for best supporting character. Greta comes a close second. Friendship is as important as romance in this book.

The plot, was not how John Green would have structured it, so it did have a sense of originality I liked. It was ordinary, primarily, but it didn't play down the love Charlie and Charlotte had for each other. I believe it did the exact opposite. The story instead augmented their love. I liked the fact that it showed the power of first love, and how it was its own force, independent of any variables- except for Charlotte's sickness, of course, but does it even matter if she's sick? I don't think so. I believe it would be the same thing even if Charlotte wasn't sick.

Finally, the pairing couldn't have been more perfect. Charlie is a logical person, anchored by his planned future. Charlotte was more like drifter, drifting from one place to another and finding solace and herself in art. And as they say, opposites attract.

There was one part where there was a painting in Charlotte's house of a barn with holes. A girl was looking through it. The girl was Charlotte's sister, Jo and the barn was Charlotte. 

Get it ? GET IT? 

Oh lord, another book of metaphors. Another person has risen up to continue John Green's legacy. But I don't mind. I really don't mind.

Brief Review: In Love And Other Unknown Variables, we see Charlie's perspective of love firsthand, mixed in with biological references of reactions to love. With characters like Charlie and Charlotte, sparks will instantly fly between the both of them. This book shows the power of first love and how it defies even science and logic, mixed in with new friendships and life lessons. It certainly shines as bright as a John Green book, or possibly even brighter!

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'


 I'm going to use a quote featured in the book, which I believe highlights the theme in the book so well,

How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?--- Albert Einstein

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