Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me, by Jess Rothenberg

Title: The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Jess Rothenberg
Genre(s): Romance, Hard topics
Age Level:YA
Page Count:375 (Hardcover)
Perspective: First person (female)
Summary: 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?

Review: Books about death - and the afterlife - are very interesting, but they are often hit-or-miss. This was definitely a hit.

First off was the voice. Rothenberg managed to create a character with a funny, enjoyable voice who had just the right measure of funniness that she seemed like a typical high school girl, but wasn't cliched, shallow, or just pathetic. Brie dying of a broken heart could have easily made her seem all three, but Rothenberg managed to have such a cause of death be believeable and stir our sympathies, instead of our disbelief. Adding Brie's preexisting heart condition and the fact that her father was a cardiologist, and Brie dying of a broken heart was absolutely perfect.

There were three subsets of supporting characters in this book, and each subset was beautifully realistic and relateable:

Brie's best girl friends added a layer of supporting characters that all girls will be able to relate to: the absolute best friends that know you better than yourself, those that always have your back no matter what. In her friends, I could see some similarites in my own best friends, lending to their believeablility.

Brie's family was wonderful as well: even if they're a little to-good-to-be-true at first, they are ultimately a believeable, well-written family.

And then, of course, we come to the boys. The characters that the book is really formed around. And of course, you can't mention the boys without mentioning the title. Both Patrick and Jacob seem like believeable boys - maybe too-good-to-be true, but each had one major fault that made them human and made them more believeable. The title also changes because of the boys. At first, you think the title is referring to one thing, one pair's history, but then at the end you realize that the title is referring to a different thing completely. I find that really clever and intelligent and I applaud the author for being able to think of such a thing.

An amazing, wonderful book. Put this one at the top of your 'to-read' list!



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