The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
Penguin Young Readers Group, February 21, 2012
Read for 2012 Debut Author Challenge and 2012 Standalone Reading Challenge
Summary from Goodreads:
Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.This book has been on my to-read wish list forever, and when I stumbled into Jess at the Twitterhood of the Butt-Lifting Pajants party in NYC back in December, I jumped at the chance to read and review her debut novel.
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 very much enjoyed this debut. It was at times charming, humorous, and of course terribly sad. I always love reading books about "after" life and seeing all the different ways authors describe what happens to us after we die. I like how Jess was able to show us, through Brie, what was happening on earth after she died. The level of emotion that Brie suffered, though, I have to say bothered me a bit. NOT because of the writing or anything like that, but because I don't like to think about our loved ones going through any kind of suffering after they've left us. It's a different view, and one that I don't necessarily want to agree with, but Brie's emotions definitely propelled the events in this book.
I especially enjoyed that the book was broken into the parts of grief--anger, denial, etc.--and I really, really liked that each chapter title was not only a song title but also really, really relevant to the contents of the chapter. And of course I especially loved that song title index at the end!
There were parts of the novel that were predictable to me (I spotted the whole thing with Jacob a mile away, for instance), but overall the novel rang fresh and true. The ending, especially, was an enjoyable twist. Brie's voice definitely comes through as a scared 15-year-old whose entire world has been turned upside down. Fans of contemporary novels and romance will enjoy this debut.
One lucky person can win my gently used, signed ARC (thanks, Jess!). Simply enter the Rafflecopter below. Contest ends on February 2.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Enjoy your reading!