Here’s what my fellow judges and I thought of it:
Greg wants you to know that he’s not writing some soppy cancer book. The impending death of his sorta-friend, sorta-ex-girlfriend Rachel from leukemia won’t teach him any great lessons about the meaning of life. He’s gonna swear. He’s gonna crack sick jokes. There will be awkward silences. And he’ll make stupendously bad films with his best friend, Earl, while ignoring his own rules about staying under the radar during senior year.
What Greg doesn’t tell you is that his story will break your heart anyway. With sharply-drawn characters, dialogue so real you expect to hear it in the school hallway, and a mix of formats that keep the story moving, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a book that will make readers laugh out loud even as they sympathize with Greg’s bumpy journey into adulthood.
This book hooked me from page one, which if you’ve ever tried to write a first page you know is no easy task. By page two, I was green with envy and wishing I had written it.
Y’all, judging the finalists for the YA Fiction category was SO MUCH HARDER than I ever thought it would be. But discussing books with people who love reading and writing just as much as I do was amazing. Huge thanks to my fellow judges and our judge-wrangler!