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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 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...

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 story a...

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...

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 bo...

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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