Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Love and Other Unknown Variables" by Shannon Lee Alexander

Love and Other Unknown Variables
by Shannon Lee Alexander

Love and Other Unknown Variables is currently on tour with YA Bound BookTours. The tour stops here today for my review and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

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).

Praise for the Book
"A quirky and heartbreaking coming-of-age novel. Fans of The Fault In Our Stars will fall in love with Charlie and Charlotte's story!" ~ International bestselling author Julie Cross
"Heartbreaking and real, Love and Other Unknown Variables will have readers experiencing the soaring heights of first-time love with whip-smart characters reminiscent of a John Green novel." ~ Swoony Boys Podcast
"It took me 1.00749 seconds to fall in love with this book. Love and Other Unknown Variables shines with the light of a thousand stars, and Sharon Lee Alexander's smart and emotive storytelling creates a chemical reaction called: Love At First Sentence." ~ Regina at Mel, Erin, & Regina Read-A-Lot
"(Humor + Snark) x (Love + Strength) / Tears = a book that I couldn't put down. Not once in my life did I ever think I would stay up all night reading a book that involved math, but it happened. Shannon L. Alexander has written a story that will stay with me for a very long time." ~ Flutters and Flails
"Brilliantly poetic and touching, this book ripped the heart out of my chest, stomped on it, and then fluffed it back up and stuffed it back inside me." ~ TiffyFit's Reading Corner

Some of My Favorite Lines
"I've been staring at this blank page for forty-seven minutes. It is infinite with possibilities."
"Her existence touches both my past and my future at one point - infinity."
"Geeks are popular these days. At least, popular culture says geeks are popular. If nerds are hip, then it shouldn't be hard for me to meet a girl. Results from my personal experimentation in this realm would suggest pop culture is stupid."
"... for once I'm thankful that the width of 1 James = 2 Charlies + 1 Greta. His large frame blocks us from the girl's glare."
"I'm locked in place, like when an electric shock seizes all the muscles in your body so that the only thing that can save you - letting go of the electrical source - is the only thing you can't do."
"The constant tide of teachers means that little learning goes on in the English classroom. It's a simple equation. No teacher = no English. No English = more time for things that matter. Like math."
"There are some things in life that cannot be explained with logic. They cannot be understood through dissection. They are what they are - good, bad, or epically crappy. Sometimes they are all those things at once."
"I haven't seen her this upset since the Harry Potter series came to an end."
"When she laughed, something inside my chest shifted. I don't know what it means, but if fells like I've got more room inside myself."
"I couldn't understand what was happening, so I did some research to figure out what was short-circuiting Greta. Turns out, other scientists had the same questions and conducted studies to understand what makes us act like assholes when we fall in love. The answer is chemistry - brain chemistry."

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Charlie's life is about to change forever. On the first day of his senior year at the "nerd" (math and science) high school, Charlie touches the eternity tattoo on the neck of a girl in the donut shop. Meet Charlotte, a sophomore at the "normal" high school, who soon becomes the best and only friend of Charlie's bookworm younger sister, Becca. As a result, Charlotte is constantly hanging around Charlie's house, and Charlie starts messing up at school because he can't stop thinking about her. Meanwhile, Charlie's friends, James and Greta, are continuing the tradition of trying to get rid of their new English teacher, who just happens to be Charlotte's big sister, Ms. Finch. Charlie is reluctant to join in until Charlotte begs him to help them out. Why is Charlotte so keen to keep her sister distracted? What secret is Charlotte keeping from Charlie?
Readers are bound to fall for Charlie, a math genius who makes equations and experiments out of everything. He is a great narrator, and the author does an amazing job of getting inside the head of a nerdy teenage boy. The author's use of Charlie's mathematical and scientific metaphors and similes is very clever, as are her literary references through Ms. Finch. The supporting characters, especially Becca, James, Greta, and Mrs Dunwitty, are also extremely well-drawn, with unique personalities.
The story is so engaging, I forgot to take notes. The writing is beautiful and so full of raw emotion, you can tell the author has suffered a loss of her own. This book is so good that I ordered the hardback version as soon as I finished reading my review copy.
Funny, touching, and simply brilliant.

About the Author
Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife, mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. Math makes her break out in a sweat. Love and Other Unknown Variables is her debut novel. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes (US only).