The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

June 18, 2012 Young Adult Book Reviews 0

Title: [Goodreads][Amazon]
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: February 21, 2012
In My Opinion: Add to cart!
One Line: A unique and cute story about true love, death, and fate.

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning…. Welcome to forever.

BRIE’S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she’s D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there’s Patrick, Brie’s mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick’s help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she’s ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

I didn’t know what to expect going into this book. I give credit to Jess for creating a pretty unique story and a good set of characters. I loved Brie, she is funny, snarky, and every bit the typical teen who has to face a tragedy, without the annoying parts. Jess gave the reader just enough humor, romance, and grief to keep the story going steady and the reader entertained, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. One of my favorite aspects of the book was that each chapter title was a line from a song. Some I didn’t know, but many I remember and love. That definitely made me smile and I was eager to see what each chapter would be titled and they pretty much fit with how the story was going.

I love that Jess keeps you in suspense and just when you think you figured out the secret or that you know what’s going on or what’s about to happen, Jess throws you for a loop and you’re floored! I love how Jess takes the idea of the afterlife and puts her own personal take on it, stuck at a familiar place – in this case, a pizza parlor – being able to touch objects and people, and diving back into the world via the Golden Gate bridge, although no one can see you, of course. I also loved how far Jess took the real-life condition, “Broken Heart syndrome” and turned it into something physical. The actual medical/scientific aspect of it plays an important part in the beginning and I enjoyed seeing that play out.

Patrick and Brie’s relationship is very significant, but they didn’t have as much interaction as I would’ve liked, given how much they actually care for each other. You’re kind of just supposed to believe that their love is pure and transcendent, without as many key events to portray it. I also didn’t care for the ending because it felt like Jess simply threw a bunch of background and ideas at the reader, without giving much detail, which made it a bit confusing. I feel like she rushed the ending and it could’ve been so much better. After finishing it I was left wondering what the hell was going on and what exactly was all that spiritual, existential stuff Jess was trying to explain to the reader, but couldn’t really do right?! It didn’t really click for me.

Besides all that, I really liked the book and all the stuff leading up to the end, even if the ending was a bit of a bust. I’d definitely keep this one on my bookshelf for light, fun read and for a debut author, it’s not bad at all.

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