I decided to check out Love and Other Unknown Variables because of the math aspect and also because the main character’s last name is Hanson. (At least I read the synopsis and didn’t just pick it from what the cover looks like this time, right?) Charlie Hanson is going to a STEM school, he’s a smart kid, a really smart kid, actually, and he has his plans to graduate and go to MIT. Basically he has his whole life planned out and is working hard to make it happen.
That is until he touches a tattoo on Charlotte Finch’s neck while at Krispy Kreme. And then imagine his surprise when his sister has finally made a friend – and it is none other than Charlotte, the girl whose tattoo Charlie touched. Things seem to be going alright for the first half of the book – Charlotte is over the Hanson’s house almost every day, she is friends with Becca and Charlie doesn’t really want to mess things up for Becca so he just crushes on Charlotte and hangs out with them when he can.
Meanwhile, Charlotte’s sister is Charlie’s teacher at school. Charlotte thinks that if Charlie and his classmates make Ms. Finch’s life hell, she will spend less time worrying about Charlotte. As it turns out – half way through the book we find out that Charlotte has brain cancer and has decided not to take any more treatments.
About halfway through I started looking at other reviews and pretty much all of them mentioned you’d cry reading it. I didn’t believe them. But I should have.
A rare book with the point of view being from the teenage boy with the crush instead of the teenage girl, well written with characters that you will love and want to be friends with.
I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
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 the solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswerable problems. 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 pawing at her 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. And in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy.
By the time he learns Charlotte is ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull on Charlie 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).