Book Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables (ARC) by Shannon Alexander

20757521This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through NetGalley at the permission of Entangled Publications. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.


Young Adult, visit web Contemporary Fiction



Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

Release Date: 

October 7th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:



Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

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).

My Review:

When I saw this title on edelweiss, it immediately caused me to pause. Math things like that always kind of catch my eye because my boyfriend has a bachelors degree in math and he actually likes reading books about math. For fun. I know, he’s weird. But by extension, math things catch my eye too now. Not because I particularly love math but it reminds me of him. I also saw that it was an Entangled publication and immediately hit request. I love Entangled to death.

I love the characters so much. I think characters are the most important part of a novel and that is exactly what brings me into this book. Charlie and Charlotte both seem incredibly real to me. Charlie especially so because even though he’s kind of too smart for his own good and it almost gets irritating, he’s also incredibly genuine. He can figure out these weird crazy math problems but…he can’t figure out how to act around a girl, and he’s still a total teenager. I love that. I also love Charlotte because she’s full of life and full of sass and literally brightens up a room, which is why finding out she’s so ill is such a damper. Seriously. I was like, oh come on, but she’s awesome, she can’t be sick!

What really caught me in this book is that it could just run into other books. Romance is not new. Cancer is not new. Kids with cancer with romance laced into it is definitely not new (The Fault in Our Stars anyone?) What easily could have been a book that I tossed aside because of a simple “been there, done that” was actually proven quite wrong when I pushed past the revelation of Charlotte’s illness and kept reading.

Because there’s so much more to the book. The book is centered on Charlie and while his romance with Charlotte is incredibly important, its also the effect that she has on the rest of his life. She shows him the beauty of other things besides math and science. She unintentionally brings him to his elderly neighborhood, who teaches him so much and leaves an incredible impact on his life. She brings him to her sister, his literature teacher, and helps him develop a new love for reading. And she also brings him closer to his own sister. I think that’s the biggest part of the book that I love. This book could be wrapped up simply as a book about kids with cancer but its so much more than that. Its a book about how much a person can impact our lives in such a short amount of time and how beautiful and sometimes incredibly devastating it is.

Plus, its just funny. I related to Charlotte so much and Charlie reminded me of my boyfriend and their initial runaround each other is just so sweet and believable. They kind of fumble their way through their friendship and more and I loved it. It was more than just about everything going on around them. Their romance was sweet, genuine and addicting and I was rooting for them the entire book.

Basically, it comes down to this: I stayed up until 2 am to finish reading this book. And I had to read it on my phone because my Nook wasn’t charged…which is NO easy feat. But I super enjoyed it and I’m anxious for it to be published so that I can share it with others. It hits bookstores in early October so make sure to get your hands on a copy!


4 out of 5 Stars


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