Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Jess Rothenberg
Publisher: Penguin
Released: February 21, 2012
Genre: Magical Realism
Pages: 400
Source: Cavalier House Books
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'm really bad about not at all paying attention to the synopsis when I see a new book being promoted. Because when I saw the pretty cover and read the title, I knew this would be one of those sappy contemporaries that makes my heart sing. What did I need a summary for? This book was made of exactly the stuff that ranks five stars in my book. Right? Wrong. So horribly wrong. However, had I realized this was about a dead girl moping over her broken heart, I may not have picked it up. And that would have been an even bigger travesty.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me is definitely one of those "just go with it" books. A girl dies of heartbreak? Yeah, whatever. But just go with it! The first bit of this book was a little tough for me to get into because of this, but if we can believe in vampires and werewolves and the like, why can't a girl die of a broken heart? So just go with it. About a third of the way through the book I was really invested in Brie's story, and I was really glad I stuck through the beginning. There were a few twists and turns I didn't see coming that really made this book an enjoyable read for me, but the end was what blew me away.

I easily sympathized with Brie from the beginning. As she moved through the five stages of grief, I enjoyed watching her grow, even in death. Voice is such an important factor in a novel like this, and I think Rothenberg really captured it in Brie. I also loved the cheesy (hehe) humor found throughout, from the lyrical chapter titles to the name of the pizza parlor. These little hints of funny were nice reprieves from the rest of the somber story. This book definitely made me laugh and cry, and I appreciated every bit of emotion it drug out of me.

I'm very interested in what Rothenberg has in store for us next. Her writing and characterization are spot-on in this world of young adult lit, and the Lauren Oliver blurb certainly doesn't hurt. I believe this novel will appeal to fans of many genres, even contemporary snobs like myself.

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Penguin via Cavalier House Books in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I noticed this book exactly because of the cover AND the premise (I mean... girl dies of a heartbreak? LITERALLY? Awesome stuff) and I might want to check it out in the future!

    Thanks for the review. :)

    Agnieszka @ Nook of Books

    1. I think it's definitely worth it! It's one of those books I like more and more the more I think about it.

  2. I love your "just go with it" concept. I recently read a book like that; the premise was one of those "yeah, right" things. But a) truth really is stranger than fiction and b) if you always insist on everything making perfect sense, you'll miss out on a lot of good stuff :)

    1. This is so very true. I have to remind myself of that sometimes, but I've experienced it several times and ending up with new favorites because I pushed through.


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