Friday, November 02, 2012

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

Title: The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Author: Jess Rothenberg
Series: None
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Release Date: February 21, 2012
ISBN13: 9780803737204
Format: hardcover
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Source: borrowed from library
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 Brie 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?

The Catastrophic History of You and Me starts off with Brie's narration of her life, and whatever led up to her death. And like the synopsis says, her boyfriend breaks her heart. Which made it literally split into perfect halves, therefore killing her. In order for her to move on, she has to go through the five stages of grief, or she'll be stuck in the state of a Lost Soul.

Firstly, I'd like to applaud Jess Rothenberg's skill in plot twists. A character I believed to be someone to get the story going turned out to be a major character. Some unexpected turns between Brie and her idea of Jacob. Patrick's big secret and sacrifice. Her father's betrayal. Though the story felt fairly cute and sweet in the beginning, the big guns were brought out later on in the story but didn't distrupt the atmosphere all that much. It was only towards the end when I felt that the story got pushy and dark. Normally, I like dark stories, but this sort of dark didn't mesh with the general bubbly atmosphere of the story and felt a little out of it. It didn't have that special push I like to have in books.

Brie, is a developing, dynamic character who you can clearly see grows, stretches, and morphs throughout the story. She's at first confused and bewildered, then grows to be bitter and angry, before finally accepting her current state. It shows us Brie's character at her very worst, showing the reader how human she is, and molds her into a beautiful, realistic teenage girl.

Often in books the love interest occupies a lot of space in the pages of a book, Brie's thoughts were mostly on her death, and what she should make of it. Patrick, though a major character, was not center stage of Brie's mind. It wasn't as if there was no romance - there was actually more romance than other books I generally like - but the romance was at a perfect level, still there in the back of your mind but not overshadowing what the book was trying to convey.

I loved this book, and have much more praise I can give it, but I have a bone to pick with the pacing towards the end. I found this a very refreshing read, and would definitely recommend it to contemporary fans.

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