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Peek Inside Love and Other Unknown Variables

Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future, but the future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch. By the time he learns she’s ill, Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the girl he’s falling for

Love and Other Unknown Variables

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A 2015 Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Finalist in the Young Adult with Romantic Elements category.

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).


Gr 9 Up—Charlie believes that all problems can be solved using science and math, and his experiences at the Brighton School of Math haven't changed his perspective at all. His classmates are used to tormenting the English teacher, who is driven away each year by pranks that are somehow ignored by an administration that places little value on the subject. On the first day of his senior year, however, everything changes when he meets a beautiful stranger at Krispy Kreme and discovers that her older sister is the new English teacher. Charlotte of donut shop fame begins to hang out at his house with his younger sister Becca, both of whom attend a different high school and have become good friends, which is a surprise to everyone who knows how anxiety interferes with Becca's social life (or lack thereof). Charlie's plan to focus on his goal of attending MIT comes to a crashing halt when he finds himself falling hard and fast for a girl who has a fatal problem he can't solve. Charlotte and Charlie make a sweet couple, but it is Charlie who steals the show, as Alexander creates a believably confused adolescent frustrated by his feelings and his lack of control over the cancer that is destined to take Charlotte from him. Perfect for fans of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and Lurlene McDaniel's fiction.—Kerry Sutherland, Akron-Summit County Public Library, OH

"I don't even know where to begin with how much I love Love and Other Unknown Variables. Love may not be a strong enough word. There are so many things about it that make it a breath of fresh air in the Young Adult genre." ~Adult in the YA Section (

"A heartwarming YA story of love and entering the unknown territories of adulthood." Kirkus Reviews

"A quirky and heartbreaking coming-of-age novel. Fans of The Fault In Our Stars will fall in love with Charlie and Charlotte's story!" International bestselling author Julie Cross

"Heartbreaking and real, Love and Other Unknown Variables will have readers experiencing the soaring heights of first-time love with whip-smart characters reminiscent of a John Green novel." Swoony Boys Podcast

"It took me 1.00749 seconds to fall in love with this book. Love and Other Unknown Variables shines with the light of a thousand stars, and Sharon Lee Alexander's smart and emotive storytelling creates a chemical reaction called: Love At First Sentence." Regina at Mel, Erin, & Regina Read-A-Lot

"(Humor + Snark) x (Love + Strength) / Tears = a book that I couldn't put down. Not once in my life did I ever think I would stay up all night reading a book that involved math, but it happened. Shannon L. Alexander has written a story that will stay with me for a very long time." Flutters and Flails

"Brilliantly poetic and touching, this book ripped the heart out of my chest, stomped on it, and then fluffed it back up and stuffed it back inside me." A TiffyFit's Reading Corner

Additional Details

ISBN: 9781622664689
Release Date: Oct 7, 2014
Page Count: 352
Imprint: teen
Genre: contemporary, young adult
Tropes: coming of age/family/social issues

Select Featured Reviews

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By Glass April 17, 2015

Love and Other Unknown Variables or That Feeling When You Laugh and Cry at the Same Time

Every once in a while you find a book that manages to surprise you. Just when you think how you've read every possible plot twist out there, bam! - there goes your heart and soul, whisked away in that latest ...more

By ✦❋Arianna✦❋ October 20, 2015

4 Stars!!

Charlie attends Brighton School of Math and Science, a school for the nerds and everything in his life had been planned out a long time ago. He will graduate and attend MIT an resolve great questions. While Charlie and the other kids from his school love math and science, this can’t be said ...more

By Giselle November 12, 2014

Love and Other Unknown Variables ended up being a much more emotional read than I expected, and one that has substance and depth. Not the fluffy story I somehow expected after seeing this cover and blurb (which, to be fair, I only skimmed). There were things that were a tad annoying like the prank s ...more

By Jaime July 12, 2015

“Please don't confuse love and logic Charlie. They aren't even remotely related. “

I have a crush on Charlie Hanson.

First of all, I loooooove stories written from a male point of view… let me clarify. I love them when they’re done well, and this one…. Well it’s done amazingly well.

Secondly… I h ...more

By Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue) April 03, 2015

This book was not at all what I expected. I thought it was going to be this cute, frivolous little love story that would likely warm my heart and leave me with a smile on my face. I couldn't have been more wrong.

This is what some might deem a "cancer book". But I didn't know that going into it. ...more

By a_tiffyfit August 12, 2014

Review to come closer to release date. I feel like my heart was just ripped out of my chest, stomped upon, bandaged and re-inflated, and then stuffed back into me with a sweet kiss and a hug of understanding. I'm smiling through my tears. Wonderful story. ...more

By Tanja (Tanychy) October 07, 2014

Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

Warning: I feel like it's my duty to warn you that you'll see this book connected and compared to the other cancer book we all have heard of. While the reasons for that are there and the comparison is justified in my opinion, I also want to say that this is not j ...more

By Brooke (The Cover Contessa) November 06, 2014

This was fantastic! Take Stephanie Perkins and mix her with John Green and you get this! ...more

By Morris September 05, 2014

This is a review of an ARC provided through Netgalley by Entangled Press in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t even know where to begin with how much I love “Love and Other Unknown Variables.” Love may not be a strong enough word. There are so many things about it that make it a breath of fresh a ...more

By Mai is a Happy Bibliophile December 13, 2014

This is way better than The Fault in Our Stars. And I liked that book. Imagine that.
I love how honest, funny and emotional this book is. I don't like Math but this books made me tolerate Math. You read a cancer book, you think "Oh my God, this is gonna be a sob-fest."
Well, with this book? N ...more

By Lisa (lifeinlit) January 07, 2015

4.5 stars!

THIS BOOK. Oh my, I don’t even know where to start with this. ALL the feels, people, ALL THE FEELS!!

“Sometimes life is like that, you know. It smacks
us when we’re down. The brave get back up. At least, they do in the

Well, let’s start with this cover. Seriously?! This “totes adorbs”, ...more

By Nancy❤The❤Bookaholic October 19, 2014



Release date October 7th, 2014

That was a really emotional read for me but it didn't make me cry. If you loved TFIOS then you’ll enjoy this book. Charlotte & Charlie’s story is one that you won’t easily forget. It did make me laugh a little at the beginning. I like how the ...more

By Kassiah August 29, 2016

I can't believe that this is Shannon Lee Alexander's debut. All the flails. All the fun. All the feels.

MIT-bound nerd Charlie Hanson's world is completely changed when he notices a girl with a tattoo on her neck in line in front of him. He can't help but to touch her, and their connection is instant ...more

By Obsmama September 11, 2014

I am I supposed to form words about my love of Charlie. IDK if they have invented them yet.

I can't say enough about how well done this book is. I have an affinity for male POV, and this is done so well. I fell instantly in love with his thinking and its really a well done "nerd romance".

T ...more

By Mehsi February 13, 2016

I received this book from Netgalley/publisher in exchange of an honest review.

I am not one who loves mathematics and I was at first a bit worried about reading this, worried that I might not like it since I have no affinity with maths. Luckily you don't need to love maths to love this book.

Charlie ...more

By C. February 15, 2017

“Scientists believe time travel is something like that, in its simplest sense, the leaping across from one part of the circle to another. If it’s true, everything lasts forever.
“Which sucks, because it means I will miss you forever. But it’s cool, too, because it means in my own stupid way, I get t

By Rachel March 22, 2016

I liked this book- I think I would have liked it more if I wasn't subconsciously comparing it to The Fault in Our Stars at times. To be fair, I LOVED the main character Charlie because he was such a sweet, awkward guy who honestly wanted to be the best person he could be. He had such an impressive c ...more

By Christina April 08, 2015

**This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review**

A very good read. It was emotional, raw, humorous, real, and simply adorable. It was quite a rollercoaster of a story.

I will definitely say that I wasn't moved, I shed no tears, and I didn't really get sad... BUT I really ...more

By Lori (Ficwishes) October 25, 2014


I do not have the words to tell you how amazing this book it. As a matter of fact, I don't think there are enough words in the universe to tell you how much I loved it. If you are a John Green fan (like I am), just take the utter swooniness of Augustus Waters (The Fault in Our Stars) and the obsess ...more

By Natalia September 04, 2015

Очень понравилась книга. Давно у меня такого не было. Последние страниц 10-15 слезы вообще было не сдержать.
Захотелось познакомиться с творчеством этого автора поближе.

By Francesca September 04, 2016

Pourquoi j'ai choisi ce livre? lol
C'est une histoire tendre, drôle et émouvante. ...more

By Anna (Unquenchable Reads) April 30, 2015

Tore my heart. Review to come ...more

By Sahina October 05, 2015

*insert gif of Bradley Cooper chucking the book out the window in The Silver Lining’s Playbook*

If any review, ever starts off with “this fuuuuuuuu book” assume it’s a heartbreaker. An outright, kick you in the crotch, heartbreaker.

I don’t even have words right no ...more

By Tia October 11, 2014

Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander
Average Rating on Goodreads: 4.30 of 5 Stars
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Pages: 350


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 d ...more

By Maryam March 10, 2015

I received this ARC on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, summary:
Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at ...more

Showing 1 to 25 of 25
3.97 avg rating
Shannon Lee Alexander

About the author

Shannon Lee Alexander

Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife and mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. Math makes her break out in a sweat. Love and Other Unknown Variables is her debut novel. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.

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