Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is typical Jesse Andrews. This style of writing is exactly like Haters (I read them in reverse). The nice thing is both are standalone titles.
I read the paper edition but looked at the hardcover and movie cover editions and have to say, I like the bright yellow cover best. Then the hard cover as it makes the characters somewhat like I pictured them. However, the movie? Oh boy! I think they totally missed on what the characters should look like, but that’s Hollywood for ya!
With that said, the book a mostly well-written and a typical teen story. There is humor, snark, caring and selfishness. There is not a lot of traditional action, because it is more about Greg (or “Me”) telling about the time he had to befriend Rachel (“Dying Girl”). And even though Greg knows he is a Class-A jerk, I never felt that he a) felt sorry about that really and b) I wonder if he learned from that revelation. And Earl? Well, he’s just Earl who does not have a lot to say, but when he does, it is a punch in the gut. Sometimes, literally.
There is also a few “deep thoughts” such as “… you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn’t really hit you, and then when it does, that’s when you feel like shit.”” But sometimes those are a bit heavy-handed. Yet, I forgave them as it was just what the story was about. What it needed. It is a pretentious little book like most 17-year-old are. And in this case, there is nothing wrong with that.
Overall, the book is about “Me” and Earl and the Dying Girl are just secondary characters. There is some typical teen tension between the realistically-clueless mother and Greg; but it could have been stronger. The ending to this is probably the most interesting part of the story. Without giving spoilers, it is probably the only ending that could happen. Sometimes real-life does not always have “Happily Ever After” and sometimes it does.