Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me - Jess Rothenberg.

Published: 2nd February 2012
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Puffin
Pages: 400
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge 2012, 100+ Reading Challenge, Read and Review Challenge
Buy this book: Amazon UK

Synopsis [Amazon UK]
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 in heaven, 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 knows 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's been D&G (dead and gone) much longer than she? and 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 cover...
The cover is cute and seems perfect for the story.

How did I find out about this book?
I bought this book for the Debut Author Challenge that I am participating in.

What is this book about?

A called named Brie has died literally of a broken heart.  She ends up in another dimension that looks almost like where she came from.  She has to go through the stages of grieve, try to seek revenge and eventually accept that what has happened has happened and that she needs to make peace with it all.

My opinion...
From the beginning I was wrapped up in this book.  I think it was the joke 'What do you call a piece of cheese that's not yours? Nacho cheese.' that got me, what a perfect touch to lighten up something that could be the start of something sad.  This joke, and all of the other mentions of cheese in reference to Brie's name perked up the story and gave it that humorous edge.

The book is separated into five sections, these sections being the process of grief.  This is what Brie has to go through in order to fully move on and be at peace.  So, with the help of Patrick, a boy also in the other dimension, she sets out to score out each of these stages from her list.  In doing so, she realises what she had, what she now has and how to cope with both in the future.  I found that this way of separating the book was different, it was great to find out how she went through each stage and how she still had a lot of growing up to do even in death. Also, the chapter titles being lyrics to well known songs that related to what was happening in that particular chapter was great and a good way of hinting what was to come.

However, I was expecting a completely different story from reading the synopsis.  I was expecting someone still living to be able to see Brie and love to conquer death but the story was far from this and at parts rather confusing.  I think this was the only thing that I disliked.  As the author did go in to this but not at much as I would have hoped.  Brie was able to move things in the 'real world' and get in to the back of cars and smash things but, in my opinion, it didn't really achieve much as the reasons why she was doing these things would have come to a conclusion without them.

Brie died when she was sixteen years old, and at points I find this hard to believe in relation to her relationship with Jacob before her death.  The death of a literal broken heart does show the immature side yet I think there was a bit of conflict here in regards to age.

The twists and turns in the story were so unexpected and just made the book what it was.  This book had everything from life to death, love to heartache, even including the aspects of afterlife and reincarnation and it handled them all brilliantly.  What more could you ask for?

I loved the writing style of Jess Rothenberg and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!

If you enjoyed this book: what to read next...
I would recommend PS I Love You.  I think this is due to the 'there's life after death' aspect and how characters in both books are still connected to those that have moved on to a better place.

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