Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

3.8 66
by Jesse Andrews

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The book that inspired the hit film!
Sundance U.S. Dramatic Audience Award
Sundance Grand Jury Prize
This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about death.
It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured


The book that inspired the hit film!
Sundance U.S. Dramatic Audience Award
Sundance Grand Jury Prize
This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about death.
It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.
        This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.

Praise for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
“One need only look at the chapter titles (“Let’s Just Get This Embarrassing Chapter Out of the Way”) to know that this is one funny book.”
Booklist, starred review

“A frequently hysterical confessional...Debut novelist Andrews succeeds brilliantly in painting a portrait of a kid whose responses to emotional duress are entirely believable and sympathetic, however fiercely he professes his essential crappiness as a human being. Though this novel begs inevitable thematic comparisons to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (2011), it stands on its own in inventiveness, humor and heart.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“It is sure to be popular with many boys, including reluctant readers, and will not require much selling on the part of the librarian.”

"Mr. Andrews' often hilarious teen dialogue is utterly convincing, and his characters are compelling. Greg's random sense of humor, terrible self-esteem and general lack of self-awareness all ring true. Like many YA authors, Mr. Andrews blends humor and pathos with true skill, but he steers clear of tricky resolutions and overt life lessons, favoring incremental understanding and growth."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Capitol Choices 2013 - Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens
Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices 2013 list - Young Adult Fiction
YALSA 2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
YALSA 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults
YALSA 2014 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his debut novel, Andrews tackles some heavy subjects with irreverence and insouciance. Senior Greg Gaines has drifted through high school trying to be friendly with everyone but friends with no one, moving between cliques without committing. His only hobby is making awful movies with his foul-mouthed pal Earl. Greg’s carefully maintained routine is upset when his mother encourages him to spend time with Rachel, a classmate suffering from leukemia. Greg begrudgingly rekindles his friendship with Rachel, before being conned into making a movie about her. Narrated by Greg, who brings self-deprecation to new heights (or maybe depths), this tale tries a little too hard to be both funny and tragic, mixing crude humor and painful self-awareness. Readers may be either entertained or exhausted by the grab bag of narrative devices Andrews employs (screenplay-style passages, bulleted lists, movie reviews, fake newspaper headlines, outlines). In trying to defy the usual tearjerker tropes, Andrews ends up with an oddly unaffecting story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Matt Hudson, William Morris Endeavor. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Maggie L. Schrock
High-school senior, Greg Gaines, is a social chameleon. He's made it his goal since grade school to not belong to any one social group, instead being able to be friendly with all groups. Greg does have one friend, Earl, the only person he spends time with outside of school. Since middle school, Greg and Earl have spent their time making amateur movies; movies kept secret from everyone. During his senior year, however, Greg's master plan of anti-friendship is ruined. After being forced by his mother to befriend Rachel, a classmate with leukemia, Greg suddenly finds himself in unfamiliar territory. As people at school find out about their relationship and his movie-making abilities, Greg struggles to keep his act together. While Rachel's health gets worse, Greg is enlisted to make a movie for her by her friends. Greg and Earl try every idea possible, but in the end make a horrible film. Rachel truly begins fighting for her life, and Greg finds himself unsure of his future and his feelings about the events of his senior year. Written from the point of view of one hysterical teenager, Andrews keeps the reader interested with film-like script writing. Also, Greg actually "speaks" to the reader, which is a refreshing switch from other fiction novels. Keeping true to teenage dialect though, obscene language is prevalent in this hilarious book. Reviewer: Maggie L. Schrock
VOYA - Etienne Vallee
Greg Gaines has always been invisible at school and in life. That is the way he has engineered his entire existence: he is not a part of anything, but no one bullies him either, despite his being short and squat. His closest acquaintance is Earl, who is shorter and angrier. Together, they have discovered classic movies, and they now make their own in secret. Rachel, a girl Greg dated in middle school, is now dying of leukemia and his mother makes him spend time with her. When Greg volunteers to show her his movies, it forces him to become visible at school, and his peers begin to notice him. This book is hilariously written by Greg himself, with Greg stating right at the beginning that there will be no lesson learned at the end, no happy ending, nothing but his foibles during his senior year. Laced with profanities, anatomical descriptions, sexual and drug references, this book nonetheless conveys great truths about life as an unpopular high schooler. Greg's stream of consciousness and the movie scripts he writes in his head about his current situations are the same fascinating, self-absorbed monologues many teens have. It is sure to be popular with many boys, including reluctant readers, and will not require much selling on the part of the librarian. The language, however, makes this a read for older teens. Reviewer: Etienne Vallee
VOYA - Jon Hutchins
While reading this book, I almost passed out from lack of oxygen, due to laughing so hard. The book, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, is about a self-hating seventeen-year-old who is forced by his mother to befriend a classmate who has leukemia. This book is full of crude humor, film references, and enough self-loathing to fill a swimming pool. This is highly recommended reading material—especially if you are a high school teacher. It is a fascinating look into the mind of a teen. Reviewer: Jon Hutchins, Teen Reviewer
ALAN Review - Claire Holman
Greg Gaines is many things: a "surprise Jew," a self-made filmmaker, and an honest friend who just wants to survive high school, but a novel writer he is not (or so he says). As he tries to avoid the awkwardness of high school and get by with being everyone's (and therefore, no one's) friend, he gets a little more attention than he wants when he starts to hang out with a girl who has cancer. It will take the honesty of his true friends, like Earl, and more discomfort than he could imagine to get him to appreciate what he has to offer. Throughout the book, it's as if you're being tickled for a little too long: you laugh so hard you want to cry, even though it hurts a little. Andrews could not have done a better job making a charming, witty, self-deprecating commentary on the high-school human condition. Reviewer: Claire Holman
Kirkus Reviews
A frequently hysterical confessional from a teen narrator who won't be able to convince readers he's as unlikable as he wants them to believe. "I have no idea how to write this stupid book," narrator Greg begins. Without answering the obvious question--just why is he writing" this stupid book"?--Greg lets readers in on plenty else. His filmmaking ambitions. His unlikely friendship with the unfortunately short, chain-smoking, foulmouthed, African-American Earl of the title. And his unlikelier friendship with Rachel, the titular "dying girl." Punctuating his aggressively self-hating account with film scripts and digressions, he chronicles his senior year, in which his mother guilt-trips him into hanging out with Rachel, who has acute myelogenous leukemia. Almost professionally socially awkward, Greg navigates his unwanted relationship with Rachel by showing her the films he's made with Earl, an oeuvre begun in fifth grade with their remake of Aguirre, Wrath of God. Greg's uber-snarky narration is self-conscious in the extreme, resulting in lines like, "This entire paragraph is a moron." Debut novelist Andrews succeeds brilliantly in painting a portrait of a kid whose responses to emotional duress are entirely believable and sympathetic, however fiercely he professes his essential crappiness as a human being. Though this novel begs inevitable thematic comparisons to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (2011), it stands on its own in inventiveness, humor and heart. (Fiction. 14 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This debut novel is told from the point of view of intensely self-critical Greg S. Gaines, an aspiring filmmaker. A self-described pasty-faced failure with girls, the 17-year-old spends most of his time with his friend Earl, a foul-mouthed kid from the wrong side of town, watching classic movies and attempting to create their own cinematic masterpieces. When Greg's mother learns that Rachel, one of his classmates, has been diagnosed with leukemia, she encourages him to rekindle the friendship that started and ended in Hebrew school. While Greg promises that his story will contain "zero Important Life Lessons," his involvement with Rachel as her condition worsens nonetheless has an impact. In a moment of profundity, however, Greg also argues, "things are in no way more meaningful because I got to know Rachel before she died. If anything, things are less meaningful." Andrews makes use of a variety of narrative techniques to relate the story: scenes are presented in screenplay format and facts are related as numbered and elaborated-upon lists that are tied together by a first-person narrative divided into chapters indicated with self-deprecating titles (e.g., "I put the 'Ass' in 'Casanova'"). While the literary conceit—that the protagonist could be placed in a traditionally meaningful situation and not grow—is irreverent and introduced with a lot of smart-alecky humor, the length of the novel (overly long) and overuse of technique end up detracting from rather than adding to the story.—Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston

Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Jesse Andrews is a writer, musician, and former German youth hostel receptionist. He is a graduate of Schenley High School and Harvard University and lives in Boston. This is his first novel. Visit him at

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 3.8 out of 5 based on 5 ratings. 66 reviews.
ReadMe11 More than 1 year ago
Don't start this book with any expectations and you'll thoroughly enjoy it. The language is vulgar, but not too terribly distracting, since you're reading from first person perspective. I found myself laughing out loud when reading this book. I was reading quotes and passages to anyone who would listen. Although this book has a character that has Leukemia, this is not the main story line. It's more a story about a boy's journey in discovering himself during his senior year. I did tear up at the end, but I cry watching Hallmark commercials. I enjoyed Greg's character, and yes you wanted to smack him around a couple of times, but guess what...that's what helped build his character's story. Was it profound? No. Was is didactic? No. What is WAS...was wonderful! Could this book have been better? Sure...but I think I like the fact that it wasn't very heavy-handed. Take a chance and read this book. As a mom, I wouldn't let my young teen kids read this, but definitely I would let my older teens read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a high school English/Creative Writing teacher, I read many young adult books that my students have suggested or even simply mentioned in class. It just so happens this is one title my students had yet to mention. Upon the recommendation of the bookseller at BN, I decided to purchase it in the hopes that I would be able to share it with my students. Unfortunately, while the premise of the novel is amusing and the characters are mostly likeable, I found some of the content to be more adult in nature than I would feel comfortable with in regard to my students. Granted, they've all probably read, said,seen, etc., words or phrases like this before but I feel recommending this book as their English teacher would be rather inappropriate. Having said that, it was quite an entertaining read!
PaperTurtless More than 1 year ago
Light hearted and hilarious
Anonymous 9 months ago
Just finished it, still a little raw from all the emotion. But you have to read this book. It will move you.
Anonymous 10 months ago
This is the best book I've ever read. People won't like it because's it's the truth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's two dollars cheaper, better written, has more likable/believable characters, will make you laugh more, and is one of those remarkable books with cancer in them that doesn't treat the entire deal like saccharine tragedy porn. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the natural answer to TFIOS, and it outshines it in every way. For readers who didn't like TFIOS, particularly those who didn't like how terminal illness was handled in that text, read this one. You'll be better for it.
codyroecker More than 1 year ago
With no expectations of this book, I picked it up at Powell's a few weeks ago and was blown away. This book is incredibly hilarious and moving. Greg Gaines is a character that has almost every thought imaginable and never ceases to surprise me. The way Jesse Andrews tells this tale is exceptional. The movie script formatting to the book gives it an extra flair and sets it apart from other novels of this caliber. I highly recommend this book and am beyond excited for the movie this summer. If you haven't read this, you need to. It is simply beautiful. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definetly read it! I would not recomend it for >13 because on 1 page the f word was said almost 20 times. I was reading this in class and laughing almost every page. Its a great book!
Anonymous 3 months ago
Got this book to hand out on world book night. Kept a copy for myself to read and absolutely loved it! If you read/liked/enjoyed/loved TFIOS then you will LOVE this one.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Yea the cancer factor was sad but the characters put a funny twist to it. It really made cry it was that funny
Anonymous 3 months ago
I cheated and watched the movie first and it was AMAZING!! I loved every second of it! I can't wait too read the book!
Anonymous 5 months ago
TheThoughtSpot 7 months ago
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl surprised me with all the different perspectives it contains. Silly, interesting characters made me laugh out loud several times, but this story is also empathetic and emotional. The unique characters bring the book to life. Earl is blunt and sometimes gross. Greg is entertaining and sometimes struck with verbal diarrhea. Touching, emotional, silly and strange run through this book and make it a must-not-miss read!
JMTJTC 8 months ago
“One thing I've learned about people is that the easiest way to get them to like you is to shut up and let them do the talking.” Genre: Young Adult. Number of Pages: 295. Perspective: First. Location: Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is exactly as the name suggests. A high school senior, Greg, is forced to become friends with Rachel because she has cancer. Greg and his “coworker” Earl love to make horrible movies. So they decide to make a movie for Rachel. There has been a trend of death and dying in young adult fiction lately, especially cancer. Books like The Fault in Our Stars made it big and to the cinemas. In order for a young adult book about death and dying to be successful, it needs to be funny and emotional. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl attempted to be only funny and not emotional, which caused it to fall flat. I liked that the formatting resembled a movie script since the narrator loves to make no-budget films. That was probably the most interesting part of this book. I just didn’t like how he tried so hard to not be invested in anything. It just made the whole book feel emotionless and dry. To read the rest of my review, go here:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a standalone contemporary/young-adult novel written by author Jesse Andrews. You may read some reviews that reference this as a "cancer book", but it's not. Yes, one of the characters suffers from leukemia (I'm not spoiling anything - it's right there in the synopsis), but this book focuses on the characters and not just the circumstance, and I love that! One of the main aspects of this book is crude, laugh-out-loud humor. I think the dialogue does a descent job of representing the minds of adolescent boys and it's pretty great. However, if you are easily put off by spoken hormone-influenced thoughts, you may want to just wait for the movie to come out on DVD so you can fast-forward. Personally, I'm glad I read it and I would recommend it. It's awkward, interpersonal, and funny. On the surface, it seems somewhat meaningless and random...but on a deeper level it is anything but. These characters learn about life, struggle, and death...but I laughed like crazy and didn't cry once. It's not a cancer book. My favorite quote: “This book probably makes it seem like I hate myself and everything I do. But that's not totally true. I mostly just hate every person I've ever been. I'm actually fine with myself right now.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This felt true, everything about it was real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am on my nook now if youwent to chart
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not trying to insult you, in fact at some point in this I will praise you. You mentioned that the book wasn't well written, but i think that was the point. The story was to be told from te min character's perspective so the writing was a stylistic choice that helped us semorinto te main character's, well, chatacter. This reminded me of the writing in Perks of Being a Wallflower(although that one wasn't as "bad" because th main character is good at / enjoys reading and english.) And the Catcher in the Rye. I, and here's the part where I praise you, think that it takes a really good reader to enjoy this book and not think it was a little boring and plotless, which I myself had a bit of trouble trying to keep myself from falling into that trap, but I applaud you for being a good reader because it takes one to look deeper which this book practically requires you to do. However the plot also left me off on a sad but somewhat happy note because suddenly this girl he barely knew died and he basically lost his friend and then decided to go to film school. It all happened very quickly which can seem like bad plot, but it actually very good because thats kind of what life's like. So, though I seem somewhat negative towards this book, all those "flaws" actually make me have newfound appreciation for it and it is very beautiful in its own way, you just have to uncover the hidden beauty to truly know, which you seem to have done :) *sorry that as so long
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Turn_The_Page1 More than 1 year ago
The first half of the book is funny and moves a pretty good pace, but the momentum peters out in the last half. It was difficult to finish.
bmamca36 More than 1 year ago
Not my genre
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Um, hi. I wanna join, but i'm only in middle school
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
Greg S. Gaines of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has dedicated three of his 17 years trying to survive the social chaos that is high school. He has carefully constructed a friendly but distant relationship with everyone, except Earl, his movie-making colleague and “sort-of friend”. However, when Greg and Earl set out to begin their most difficult film yet- one about Rachel, a girl dying of leukemia, Greg’s social life comes crumbling down. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a realistic fiction young adult novel, chiefly targeted towards high schoolers. Recently, it has also been made into a movie. Part of it is written as a screenplay, and it provides for an easy read and is written in an informal style. Keep in mind that profanity is common, but this is one of the methods in which Andrews reflects reality. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I give it four and a half stars. Greg’s character is lively, and Andrews conveys his flaws and quirks very well. In addition, Andrews writing style reflects the thoughts of a high school boy accurately, providing for a humorous read. However, I only recommend it to readers that can grasp and manage topics such as death and drugs, and also are mature enough to handle profanity. Although this book is about a girl dying of cancer, it’s not a romantic coming of age story, such as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. It describes the harsh reality and blunt truth about the hardships of cancer, high school, broken families, and both creating and holding on to friendships. Nonetheless, Andrews weaves humor in almost every page, creating a story that is as hilarious as it is believable. Review by Lauren A., age 14, Lone Star Mensa
LoLeeTa More than 1 year ago
What i loved most about this book is that it doesnt try too hard. The main character doesnt fall in love with the dying girl or have some kind of life altering epiphany, instead we get a more refeshing and quite frankly, more genuine story. I was pleasantly surprised and even found myself laughing. Honestly i consider myself hard to please, but this book was able to make me smile.