Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: The Catastrophic History of You & Me

Author: Jess Rothenberg
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: Feb 21st 2012 US / March 28th 2012 AU
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon / Book Depository
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's heart broke in half the minute her boyfriend said he didn't love her. And I don't mean that figuratively, it literally snapped in two. Death by heartbreak. Could your life end anymore tragically? It's an almost implausible concept, yet Jess Rothenberg pulled the premise off flawlessly. I fell in love with this book from the first page. Brie's voice hooks you in instantly, so funny and compelling and FRESH. She's a character who you can't help but adore -  young, vibrant and romantic and sure, she's sometimes naive, but she grows wiser over the course of the novel. I loved seeing her grow. Her life was cut short too soon, but what follows is a lifetime's worth of emotions. Of love, pain, confusion and some difficult choices that all come together to form this outstanding debut.

Oh gosh, Patrick. I LOVED HIM. He was one of souls Brie met in her afterlife and sort of took it upon himself to help guide her through the stages of death. With his leather pilot jacket and smooth 80's charm, he claimed territory in my heart almost instantly. I don't care if some of his lines were totally corny, he's the type of character who can hold them with dignity and woo the pants off you. His 'cheesy' nicknames for Brie (and I mean this in the Cheescake, Chedster, Cheeto kind of 'cheesy') could have become annoying, but that boy made every one of them endearing. It's undeniable there was instant chemistry between these two, but no, before the thought even enters your mind, there is not the slightest hint of a 'insta-love' in this. It's a beautiful, bantering friendship that may eventually grow into something even deeper. And nor does a love triangle ever come into play. Jess handled the romance stunningly, with a few well timed shocks up her sleeves where both boys are concerned.

Catastrophic History put my emotions through as much of a rollercoaster ride as it did Brie's. I laughed so many times through her Denial phase, it was easy to slip into the fun and quirky mindset of Brie, almost forgetting there was a serious issue of her death at hand. And then as the Anger phase rolled in, I wanted to scream at some of her decisions. Decisions that I could understand, given the information she had and her turbulent emotions, but I didn't agree with them. I could sense there was something else going on with the situation that she wasn't seeing and I wanted to reach through and shake her by the shoulders to tell her to STOP. She's angry and upset and she wants justice, so it's a time where she takes what she sees at face value and everything just snaps inside her.

And yet this isn't a negative about the novel, instead it's brilliant how Jess dragged the reader along emotionally for every step of the journey. I could forgive Brie for those moments when I wanted to growl at her, because this entire novel is one of growth. She doesn't stay in denial, she doesn't stay angry, she doesn't stay depressed, she realistically moves through a vast range of emotions and each feels genuine, each evokes a reaction from you and each adds more depth to her character and the story. Jess explored this with such a delicate balance, from laughter to frustration, to tears and regret and hope. And it wasn't just Brie with baggage to sort through. Each of the secondary characters were all so thoughtfully constructed, with a history and personality and their own issues to deal with. I loved that they weren't just there to serve as a 2D character to fit the title of boyfriend, father, best friend, etc. Each was fleshed out over the course of the story and some even hiding some shocking secrets of their own.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me is laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarming, inspiring and bittersweet. It's a touching journey of life, death, love and acceptance that give both your ribs and tear ducts a healthy workout. It's a book I could easily reread again. The characters and dialogue beg for a revisit and the emotionally moving tale is one you want to explore many times over to pick apart layer by layer. Not a book you want to miss!

 4.5/5 Golden Apples!

33 comments:

  1. Glad yoou enjoyed it! I cann't wait to read this, it looks soo good! :)

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    1. Rebecca! I personally think you'll love this (okay, just judging by some of our previous similiar tastes in books). Such a funny, yet moving story! <3

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  2. DID YOU SAY NO INSTALOVE AND NO LOVE TRIANGLE? *RUNS HOME TO DEVOUR*
    OH MY GOODNESS, BRODIE! YOU MAKE THIS SOUND AMAZING!

    Ooooh, question? Eighties bomber jacket and cheesy lines? Is this Patrick someone who died in the eighties? 'cos that'd make sense. Curious. And it's divided into the five stages of grief? This is clever and cooool! And Brie sounds amazing and frustrating and incredible... and I kind of like it (sometimes) when characters don't behave how I want them to! I want them to feel real and have their own personalities, and Brie sounds amazing!

    Also, you know if you keep writing reviews this AMAZING I'm gonna WEAR OUT MY CAPS LOCK KEY! Seriously, you need to know that your reviews are amazing. Every time I read one I go and pre-order/order/buy/reserve/at the very least lust after a book. It's becoming expensive.
    WHY DID I LET YOU CONVINCE ME TO READ LILA BEFORE THIS *CRIES*
    Oh, riiiiiiight, yeah... because Lila's amazing, also.

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    1. Whatever gave you the impression he died in the Eighties? ;) Uhh, not that I'm into giving you spoilers since you usually hunt down the entire feast after a nibble, BUT.. it's not really a spoiler, so yeah, '80s boy!! <3 I love when characters are so layered and show REAL emotion because we all have our good and bad points.

      Seriously, my growing ego is making me head too heavy on my shoulders, so please feel free to insult me so it shrinks again. Aww, thanks!! I enjoy bleeding your bank account dry :D And agh! Both Catastrophic History and Lila are AMAZING!

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    2. EEEEEEEEE! WANT TO READ NOWNOWNOW!
      Mwaha, you know that I'm now gonna picture you as one of those bobble head toys? *pokes* *boing boing*

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  3. This sounds delightful..fantastic review*drools*

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    1. Thanks Kimba, it was SUCH an amazing novel!! <3

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  4. Fantastic review Brodie! I WANT THIS BOOK SO MUCH! Why must you make me want it even MORE?!?!

    *sits down and calms ones self* I can't wait to meet this Patrick . . . he sounds like a really great character and I'm super glad there's no insta-love because I've had too many of those in the past. Man, I need this book ASAP!

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    1. Hehe I think/hope you'll LOVE this, Erin!! Patrick is just so dang fun and the budding relationships that do grow in this novel are explored so genuinely <3 TELL ME WHEN YOU GET A COPY!

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  5. ADHILDHIAJOSAOU THIS SOUNDS SO FREAKING FANTASTIC!! Dude,I was SO excited for this even before you wrote your review, but now, IM BEYOND DESPERATE FOR THIS!!!

    I want to meet PATRICK NOW. Geez, I'm falling for him already and I haven't even MET HIM! ANd Brie sounds like a fantastic character! I love it when there's character growth throughout the book! Eeeeee! Im glad there's no love triangle and insta-love :D ( although after Amalie Howard's post, I MIGHT start thinking differently about insta-love... MAYBE)

    Man, I NEED TO READ THIS NOW!!!! Fantastic review Brodie<3

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    1. "ADHILDHIAJOSAOU" was probably my exact thought afer finishing this haha. I'm glad for no-insta love or triangles either *sigh of relief* but I SO get what you mean. Amalie has restored my faith in love at first sight!

      Thank you!! <3

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  6. Oh.my.gosh!!!! This sounds like an amazing book! I've been dying to read this a lot. And what a very CUTE TITLE!! I love love it. Plus, Patrick sounds like a very swoon-worthy guy. AAAAAA, I can't wait to read this! AWESOME REVIEW, Brodie!!! ♥

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    1. The title is ADORABLE and so, so fitting to the novel once you finish it. Thanks Celine, I really hope you can get a copy soon! Methinks you'll likey :)

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  7. GREAT REVIEW! I only read snippets because I'm reading it right now...but you just got me really hyped up to read more! I'm only at Part 2 (Denial), right after Brie is buried and then she wakes up or something... Patrick will "woo the pants off you"? Haha, nice way of saying it, Brodie.

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    1. Eeee, how are you liking it, Cass? I'll have to go stalk your Goodreads in a minute for anymore status updates haha. LOL well he *is* such a charming boy and you can't help but smile at the things that come out of his mouth.

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  8. I can't wait to read this book, it sounds VERY amazing! Your fantastic review just tempt to read this even more. The characters seem lively, I can't wait to be swept over heels by Patrick! <3

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    1. Thanks, Hilda!! It IS an amazing novel and I so hope it takes the world by storm upon release! <3

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  9. I have this to read. I am so glad you liked it. 4.5 apples. I should crack it open shortly:D

    Michelle

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    1. YES! Run. Drop everything you're doing. Crack it open NOW and devour the beautiful story within <3 I really hope you'll like this, Michelle! *stalks blog for reaction*

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  10. BRODIE!!! <3 Oh my gosh, I can't even tell you how much I'm dying (haha -- dying!) to read this book right now!! I wasn't so sure before because I've been reading some mixed reviews about how Brie reacted, but reading your review has me convinced that everything she'd be feeling is realistic and sweet and totally justifiable. So now my craving for this book is back to HIGH on the Want Meter! :)

    You always write the most beautiful, informative-yet-not-spoilery, and completely AMAZING reviews, Brodie!! <3 I can't wait to get my hands on this one so I can meet Patrick and all of these other amazing characters. Because I love boys with leather pilot jackets and smooth 80's charms! Really -- it's a type! ;)

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    1. Haha. MIMI!! <3 I can understand the mixed reviews reviews on some of Brie's reactions. I mean, sometimes she really DID frustrate me, but I found it understandable coming from her point of view and given what's she's going through... well, it's easy to understand why she's a teensy bit dramatic sometimes haha.

      Aww geez, likewise to you! I love your reviews. Heh, what is it about those 80's boys that is so attractive? Mmmm.

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  11. This sounds like a lot of fun and I loved your review! :)

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  12. Awesome review! I finished this book and posted my review yesterday. I have to ay mine differed from yours. I wasn't the biggest fan of this book. I wasn't hooked, I wasn't Brie's biggest fan, and I thought it was a bit slow. But I could see why others may like it, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

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    1. I'm sorry to hear you weren't such a big fan! But I can understand that not every book will appeal to the same people and I do get why some things in those won't gel with others. Hope you might enjoy anything else Jess writes in the future, though! :)

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  13. Yay for main characters that are AWESOME. I hate it when you pick up a great book but the voice of the main character is just so DRY and bland. This sounds like an AMAZING book. <3 I've heard good things about it and your review is making me want to read it even more! GAH! Thanks so much for the brilliant review. ;D

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    1. YES! Exactly that. I really can't get into a book if the voice doesn't work for me. But oh gosh, I adored Brie's <3 Cannot wait to see what you think when you read it! Release date seems way too far away :) Thanks, Alice!

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  14. Dear Brodie,

    I'd like you to know that you are responsible for just about half of the books on my wishlist. So when I end up caving (which is inevitable) and use my grocery budget to buy books (again), I'm going to direct all my hungry despair at you. Just saying.

    Sincerely,

    Me. :)

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    1. Buahahahaha. I take pride in leaking funds from your bank account and crippling overflowing bookcases :D But really, I'm only paying back to the blogging community what you all do to me! It's only fair ;)

      I WILL FEED YOU FOOD SCRAPS, DON'T WORRY. You won't starve! Or just nom on the pages, they're tasty.

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  15. aw, patrick's nicknames are so cute :D i love nicknames, haha. sounds like an awesome read! great review(:

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    1. Oh his nicknames were too adorable! That BOY is too damn adorable <33 Hope you get to read this soon! Thanks, Emma <3

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  16. I can't say anything other than I am so glad you loved this book. I ADORED it - so, so good. It was just...ahh. Great review :).

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    1. It was YOUR super awesome review that made me ten times more excited to read this, so thank you!! And it certainly lived up to your priases and then some :D

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  17. Oh gosh! I LOVE the sound of this one. Heart actually breaking? o: I need to read it. LOL, one day I'll have to count how many books you've added to my to-read shelf. Absolutely awesome review, Brodie! I feel like I already love it through you! Lol

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