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).
Miss Riki’s Review:
**sniff, sniff** Please excuse my sniffling, but I’m still sobbing from the ending of this book! I’m in mourning for the loss that befalls these characters and I’m beyond emotional over the last 100 pages of this novel. I’ll try to pull it together long enough to give you my more coherent thoughts…
First off, I’m having a little crush moment with Charlie Hanson. The author has done a dynamite job with male POV, and Charlie captivated me from page one. He’s sweet and fumbling, yet observant and sentimental in all the right ways. Despite being totally hung up on the laws of science and the certainties of mathematics, he yearns for understanding, and he finds that understanding within a romantic relationship with Charlotte, a love-hate relationship with an English teacher, and a platonic relationship with an elderly neighbor. Charlie is a multi-faceted character with complex motivations and a sweet voice. Readers will absolutely fall in love with him as he tries to make his way through the ups and downs of life and love.
The object of Charlie’s affections, Charlotte is also a wonderful main character. She’s sassy and smart as a whip, and I love how she brought out the best in everyone she meets. Her irreverent humor and wry outlook on life changes Charlie and his sister for the better, and I adored her. Her love for sappy musicals and literature didn’t hurt either!
Besides a wonderful romantic storyline, the novel also explores a beautiful sibling relationship between Charlie and his shy, book-loving sister Becca. It was refreshing to see a sibling relationship portrayed in such a loving and realistic way, and the fact that Charlie and Becca had each other in the end helped to ease the heartbreak for me.
This book is being compared to The Fault in Our Stars, for obvious thematic and subject reasons, but Love and Other Unknown Variables definitely doesn’t need the signal boost to stand on its own. This book is a lovely contemporary romance that will make you laugh out loud one moment and then rip your heart out the next. It is beautifully written and well paced, with intriguing characters, complex relationships, and plenty of raw emotion. I highly recommend this book!