Friday, 3 February 2012

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

Title: The Catestrophic History of You and Me
Author: Jess Rothenberg
Format: Uncorrected Proof
Pages: 400
Genre: YA
Published (UK): 2nd February 2012 (Razorbill)
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?

Brie is dead and gone. Her boyfriend, Jacob, told her that he didn't love her and literally broke her heart. Now she's in a strange limbo like place, which resembles her favourite restaurant. It's a place for the dead who aren't quite ready to move on. There she meets Patrick - also dead, also clinging on - and he becomes her unofficial guide to the afterlife.

The story follows Brie through the five stages of grief (for her own life). I really liked this concept although found that once she quickly moved through the denial stage, the anger phase took over and this made her a fairly unlikable character. Had we already gotten to really know her before this it may not quite so annoying but as this was the part of the book where we were learning about Brie, I started to think of her as annoying and immature. I find it hard to read a book in which I actually dislike the main character (even though I understood that it was part of the plot that she was acting like this). There was also some smaller things that bugged me, like Brie's thing about 80s music - although this did make sense in the end so it bugs me less now. Also the cheese related nicknames started to wind me up after about the third time.

However, from about half way through the book, I started to get more into it and as Brie realised that she'd basically been acting like a massive bitch, I warmed to her. She wasn't a bad person and yes she was angry at the time, to me it just seemed lame and illogical that she sought revenge on Jacob for her death. Yes, he'd just told her he didn't love her, but he didn't actually kill her. Once she'd gotten past this part, I liked her so much more. It was clear this was going to be the case but I'm glad she did because it meant I enjoyed the second half of the story much more.

There were some surprised through the book, some were more obvious than others, which kept up the pace and made for an interesting read. Given the nature of the story, I expected to have a more emotional response to the story, which I didn't. Maybe this was just me being hard-hearted or just my early unliking of the character, but I was a little disappointed in this.

Overall, The Catastrophic History of You and Me, turned out to be a good read, despite it taking me a while to get into it. I'm sure it's a book that a lot of people will love and I certainly liked it, even if it isn't one of of my favourites.

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