By: Melanie | October 2, 2014 | (32) Comments

Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee AlexanderLove and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 350
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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).

stickers-my-review (1)Eeeeeh. I’m honestly feeling disappointed with Love and Other Unknown Variables because more than half the Goodreads reviews have rated this book 5 stars. Sadly, I just don’t see the appeal.

The book follows Charlie, a boy who attends Brighton School of Mathematics and Science and has his entire future planned out. He wants to go to MIT and he’s crazy good at maths. In fact, everyone in his school is pretty darn good at maths and/or science. They all hate literature and all things English related. Like Charlie mentions in the book, his school goes through English teachers like Hogwarts go through Defence in the Dark Arts professors. Each year they target the English teacher and play pranks on he/she until they go mad and just leave. This year, the teacher is Ms. Finch, and she’s determined to set the students of this maths and science school on the right road. Charlotte, the new girl in town who recently becomes Charlie’s sister’s best friend, also happens to be Ms. Finch’s younger sister.

What I didn’t like were the pranks Charlie and his classmates pulled on Ms. Finch. The reason behind the pranks just didn’t feel acceptable or believable to me. Charlotte basically tells Charlie to pull pranks on her sister (the teacher) so her sister’s attention will be averted and she won’t have time to keep an eye on Charlotte. What kind of reason is that? Also, the grudge these students have against English just annoyed me to no end. In my state, we also have a Science school and I know a few people who go there–they don’t pull pranks on their English teachers or detest English like these kids did at Brighton.

The romance was something I shrug my shoulders at. I didn’t see why Charlie and Charlotte were attracted to each other. And I got pretty bored of Charlie talking about Charlotte 24/7. Especially when he just talked about her hips and legs and how much he wanted to kiss her. That’s not love, that’s just attraction. That being said, the romance didn’t bother me as much in the second half of the novel as much as the first half–probably because the romance started to grow on me.

I loved the other relationships in this novel though. I liked how Charlie and his sister, Becca, grew closer throughout this book. They weren’t that tight in the beginning, but in a way, Charlotte brought them together. I liked how Greta and James, had such a large involvement with Charlie’s life. They’re his best friends, and were so honest with him.

Love and Other Unknown Variables was a nerdy read that I did enjoy, but felt that some of the things needed a more realistic and believable touch. I didn’t cry in the end because I saw the ending coming before I even started the book, but I definitely felt pretty sad in the end.

~Thank you Entangled Teen for the review copy!~

3 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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32 Responses to Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

  1. Seems like everyone has trouble with the prank stuff. I didn’t like that either. I saw the ending coming too but I was crying nonetheless. Probably because I was a bit more hooked on the romance. 🙂 Great review!
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…ARC Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee AlexanderMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, the romance is one of the deciding factors on how much you’ll enjoy the book. I guess I didn’t mind the romance towards the end, but at the start I just couldn’t see it at all. Thanks Bieke 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed your review Mel, it highlighted exactly why this book was kind of average for you. I mean the pranks pulled on your teachers, that’s not really a storyline I can get behind. And YES why is attraction always labelled as love? At least there’s a great sibling relationship here. Great review!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Giveaway & Review: Brew by David Estes – Post-apocalyptic WitchesMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Aw thanks Jeann 😀 The romance was totally out of whack, and right? Makes me want to write a blog post talking about the difference between love and attraction.

  3. Amelia K says:

    Hmmm I don’t think I’d enjoy those pranks either, Mel. I feel sorry for the poor English teacher! It’s a pity that the romance wasn’t as appealing as you hoped it to be, it definitely doesnt sound like love to me either. I will keep an eye on this, but I don’t think I’d pick it up anytime soon. Cool review!

  4. Bennari H. says:

    Goes through teachers like Defense in the Dark Arts teachers? LOLOL. I’m really curious about this one, though I have a feeling about the ending already, so might have to wait a few months if I wanna pick this one up. i love nerdy reads though, they’re the best type of contemporaries!

  5. It’s a real shame that the romance didn’t have you completely sold but if the familial and friend relationships were still strong, that’s great to hear! I don’t really like reading books that deal with illnesses seeing as I didn’t like TFiOS, so not sure if I’d actually enjoy this if I tried it.

    Fantastic review Mel

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, I know a few people who aren’t fans of reading books to deal with illnesses, guess everyone has different tastes! Not sure if I’d recommend this to you then, seeing as it talks about illnesses a fair bit especially in the second half

  6. Kelly says:

    We have a science school? Wow, it it for the super bright kids who have a more specialised curriculum? I had no idea, it’s been years since I was at school. Alright, a lot of years. Yes, I could actually be your mother Mel. I’m probably the same age as your mum.


    See how natural that was? Yes, I do believe I’ll make a superb mother one day very soon.
    What was I saying? Oh yeah, this sounds a little underdone. Ferris Bueller pulled pranks, these kids sound like delinquents. I don’t think the bonds between siblings or the generic romance could have kept me interested for long either. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this more Mel. Awesome review <3
    Kelly recently posted…The Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      haha yep we do! John Monash Science School. Entrance begins in Year 10. It focuses more on science and maths, and you have to do a test to get in. If you’re not good enough, they won’t accept you. It does the same process as selective schools I guess.

      Haha! Nope, my mum is almost in her mid-forties 😛 Funny because my mum said something very similar a few mornings ago about my desk. It’s a mess 😀 And you totally will!

  7. Bummer, this looked cute, but the romance seems pretty shallow. The geek in me loves the title.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Queen of Someday by Sherry D. FicklinMy Profile

  8. I don’t think the pranks are a good idea. The romance doesn’t sound like anything spectacular either, and a tear jearking ending, pass. Thanks for the helpful review.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Something Wicked Strikes Day #2: Guest Post, Review and Giveaway: The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn RobertsMy Profile

  9. Tanja says:

    Aww I loved this one but somehow I connected with Charlie right away so everything was easier from there. But lol I wasn’t thinking about it but yeah this English class story does seem like Defence in the Dark Arts. Sorry it wasn’t as good as you hoped. Great review, Mel 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…ARC Review: Sweet Unrest by Lisa MaxwellMy Profile

  10. lily says:

    Oh this one doesn’t sound like the type of book you were hoping it would be. To be honest I feel terrible for the teacher, i’d so sympathize with her reading this book more than anyone else.
    I’m sorry the romance wasn’t enough for you either. It sucks when books fail to have romances that completely pull us in. Hopefuly your next read is better
    lily recently posted…Bleed Like Me: ReviewMy Profile

  11. Mary Claire says:

    I saw this one on Goodreads, and all of the rave reviews, too! Thanks for the helpful review, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s ever not really enjoyed a book that everyone raves about on Goodreads. Sometimes I ask myself, “Did we read the same book?”

    Amazing review!
    Mary Claire recently posted…ARC Review: Loop by Karen AtkinsMy Profile

  12. Wait…they’re called Charlie and Charlotte?! Those names are so freakishly similar!! That’s just odd, imo. BUT ANYWAY. It doesn’t sound exactly like my kind of book (and I swear I’ve seen that cover picture used a million times in contemporaries. >_<) but it sounds like a maybe. I like that there’s sibling relationships! That’s so rare in books. ^-^
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Nona And Me by Clare Atkins || Giveaway Of AwesomeMy Profile

  13. Yeah, it’s not sounding amazing. I hate when a book is so popular on goodreads and I don’t like it that much. Makes me feel stupid for not seeing it.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Review: Shameless by Nina LemayMy Profile

  14. I like nerdy reads, but I’m not sure if this really is the book for me. When it comes to contemporaries, I have to feel at least something for the romance because it’s such a huge part of the story.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 291. Heather Demetrios – Exquisite captive.My Profile

  15. Giselle says:

    The whole pranks and going through English teachers feels silly to me. As if the school would let that happen anyways O_O And the romance sounds very superficial and kind of juvenile. I wasn’t sure about this one when I first saw it on NG. I haven’t seen many reviews from it either so I must have missed all those 5 stars lol. But I’ll def. go into it with lower expectations if I do try it out.
    Giselle recently posted…Review: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat WintersMy Profile

  16. Alise says:

    I haven’t read this book but I’ve also been feeling like the black sheep when it comes to Goodreads ratings lately. Yeah, the romance doesn’t seem like it’s based on much if he just talks about her body most of the time. “his school goes through English teachers like Hogwarts go through Defence in the Dark Arts professors” BAHA!

  17. Valerie says:

    Is this by the same author that wrote The Statistical Probability of Love (or whatever this title is, IDK)? The titles seem similar. Anyways, BRIGHTON??? Ha that’s the town I live on the border of practically. I don’t think I’ll be too comfortable with the whole pranking thing going on, so count me out. Thanks for the lovely review though Melanie!!!
    Valerie recently posted…The Gif TagMy Profile

  18. buona says:

    Hi Melanie! You know what, I was so surprised when I found out that you were only fifteen; you express yourself so well! In turn I guess you can be surprised that I’m twice your age and read so much young adult hehe.
    Anyway, I have a feeling that the pranks are going to annoy me too so I might skip this. Thanks for the warning! But then, I’m such a sucker for romance. What to do?!
    buona recently posted…Speed Views #1: Francine’s Contemporary MonthMy Profile

  19. Henrietta says:

    Prank?? Not sure if I’d enjoy reading about it. Thanks for pointing out what you found unacceptable and unbelievable, Mel! I don’t know if this may be something I’d read but I like the sound of friendship between Charlie, James and Greta.
    Henrietta recently posted…One Potion In The Grave – Heather BlakeMy Profile

  20. Why would Charlie even agree to the pranks in the first case? It seems like he’s a serious guy, so why would he jeopardize his future for a girl he doesn’t even really know?
    And English is the best subject ever!! I would probably not enjoy characters who loathe English, either.
    Great review, Melanie 🙂 I hope you’ll love your next read.

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