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

the catastrophic historyTitle: The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Author: Jess Rothenberg
Standalone novel
Published: February 21st 2012 by Penguin Young Readers Group
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Death
Rating: 3,5 stars

Synopsis: 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

I gave The Catastrophic History of You and Me 3,5 stars out of 5, I definitely enjoyed this book. I read it in one setting, the story was really addicting.

The main character, Brie, dies of a broken heart right in the beginning of the book. I know, how can someone die from a broken heart? It sounds so ridiculous yet that is also researched -and explained- in the book. The story is told by Brie herself, in the first perspective. When I saw that, I figured the book would deal with Brie trying to move on from the life she has left behind, because having your life end at just 16 must suck so badly. There’s so much you still want to do. And while it is about Brie moving on, it is also about the people she left behind: her best friends, her parents, little brother, dog and the boy who broke her heart -literally. And we even get to meet a new character, Patrick, who Brie meets on the other side.

The first thing that caught my eye in this book -aside from the gorgeous cover- is that it was subdivided in the different stages of grief -Brie’s own grief. That was a very interesting turn on the story. But I loved the fact that the story didn’t skip over the loved ones that were left behind either. You get to see how much losing a child/sibling devastates a family, how terrible it is to have your best friend ripped away. I think it’s important to show that living on can sometimes feel like a punishment, but that you need to find a way to move on with your life. Brie’s best friends are mentioned quite a few times in the book as well, and I adored them. From the song they sang at her memorial to the bonfire they had in her honor. Another character that I loved was Patrick. He was witty and smart, sweet and funny. The way the author described him was amazing, I could actually image a teenage James Dean. As for the writing, I feel like Jess Rothenberg did a very good job. The story felt fast-paced, even if at parts if may not have been, and I couldn’t put it down. The writing, the characters and the honesty of this story is what I loved most about it.

Now on to the aspects that I didn’t like as much. To be clear, they didn’t bother me enough to get really annoyed at the book but I did think “really?” or “that’s ridiculous, or stupid” a few times. The first time I felt that way, was in the “Denial” stage of the book. Honestly, dying must be very traumatic. But not being able to accept that you’re dead? That I don’t get. It was like Brie had tunnel vision and refused to believe or see anything else. The second -and luckily last- time I felt a bit annoyed was again with tunnel vision. I don’t tend to like people that make assumptions. About anything. And Brie definitely was that way. She just assumed things were a certain way, without even knowing or “investigating” it further. And then she acted on her -terrible- assumptions. That bothered me a bit, especially because she gets a lot of stuff wrong. I feel like “not making assumptions” is kind of a lesson this book teaches you; you need to read it in order to see why though.

Even though these two aspects of the story bothered me a bit, I overall really enjoyed it. I would recommend it to anyone that likes to read contemporary, romance or even just young adult in general.

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