Monday, May 7, 2012

A Catastrophic History of You and Me Review

The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Jess Rothenberg
February 21st 2012 by Penguin Young Readers Group

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?

Have you ever started a book and then stayed up until almost 2 am, just because you had to know what happened to a character? Let me tell you right now, this happened to me with this book. Rothenberg pulled me in and never let me go!

Brie's story is not happy-go-lucky one: imagine you literally drop dead of a broken heart at dinner with your now ex-boyfriend. Yes, it happened, and now Brie finds herself in the afterlife. Like any teenager would, she drifts around, looking after her family and friends, and also like anyone else, watches her own funeral.  Deciding to move know what I mean...she winds up in a pizza parlor, Slice of Heaven.  Cheesy name (very punny, I know), but this pizza parlor is full of kids, all dead, who are all waiting.  These kids of different ages have all passed on.  One of these kids, Patrick, becomes her guide as Brie goes through the five stages of grief.  Patrick helps Brie come to terms with dying, what is going on with her family and friends, and helps her make some important decisions about what to do with her future. Patrick is able to guide Brie to look closer and become aware of what else was going on around her. Brie comes to realize there was more to her death than just a broken heart.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me had some really great things going for it, especially the chapter titles which were all song titles to go along with what was happening in the coming chapter. When Brie dies of a broken heart - "Take Another Little Piece of My Heart Now Baby". When she finds herself by herself, kind of exploring the afterlife - "The Cheese Stands Alone". I loved having a soundtrack playing in my head as I read this book. Loved it! The second thing I loved was Brie's Basset hound, Hamloaf, who was the only one from her old life able to see her after she died. He was adorable! I also enjoyed how even though Brie was dead, she was going through the five stages of grief. It was an interesting concept to see someone dead to through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance just like you see the living go through. Rothenberg's writing really showed what it would be like for a 15, almost 16, year old girl to have suddenly died and have to deal with all the emotions this brings up.

Interested in the soundtrack to The Catastrophic History of You and Me? Want to have it playing as you read the book? That is an awesome idea!  Check Jess Rothenberg's website for the playlist!

I would like to end this with a video of Jess with her new debut book dance. This is hilarious!

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