book review

Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables

Shannon Lee Alexander - Love and Other Unkown Variables

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).

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you publishers!

I have rather mixed feelings about this book. It’s one of those books which aren’t great at the start but then they suddenly take off and the story gets really interesting. I started off not liking this book at all. I thought the main character was a bit of a creep right from the first few pages, and it took me a long time to warm up to him. I also got fed up of the stereotypes very quickly. However, as the book went on, I found myself liking Charlotte, the love interest, a lot. I also liked the best friends of the MC. Basically, I just wasn’t a fan of Charlie.

I’ll start at the start. Charlie and I really didn’t hit it off. I just found him really creepy when it came to girls – he first meets Charlotte by touching the back of her neck to look at her tattoo. See? It’s kind of creepy. Anyway, I did warm to him eventually. The other thing I didn’t like about this book were the stereotypes. From the title, it’s obvious that this book involves maths, but all the people who go to the science-y school are very stereotyped. As a maths student, this annoyed me a lot! I mean, not all science people hate English/reading/books/things that aren’t maths. To be fair, this did improve a bit, but it still annoyed me.

However, I did end up enjoying this book by the end. I really got behind Charlie and Charlotte’s relationship by the end, and I liked getting to know the two of them. I also liked a lot of the side characters, such as Becca (Charlie’s sister) and Greta (Charlie’s best friend). The book also took an interesting turn with Charlotte’s illness because I hadn’t actually been expecting that side of the book at all (even though it is mentioned in the blurb). I thought it was done well, although there wasn’t a point where I got hugely emotional in this book.

Overall, I think this book is worth the read. Even if you don’t like it to begin with, give it a little longer because it might just change your mind.

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