Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Book Review- The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Title: The Catastrophic History of You and Me
 Author: Jess Rothenberg
Series:  N/A
Published:  21 February 2012
Length: 400 pages
Warnings: 12+
Source: Spinebreakers
Other info: This is Jess' first novel.
Summary : 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?
Review:When her "boyfriend" tells her he doesn't love her, Brie's heart breaks. Splits clean in two, without explanation. From then on, Brie has to get used to being dead, navigate the Afterlife, and think how best to get her own back on the boy that broke her heart.
It was a very stop-start getting interested in this book. The title and cover, at first, said no. Then the blurb "death by heartbreak...my heart split in two" said yes. And the rest of the blurb said maybe. But, I eventally put it onto my to-read list and so when I got offered it,  I had to say yes.
It's very easy to get into. This is definitely one of the lighter looks at life and death, with a huge dollop of romance to help move it along. 
There's quite a lot of little subplots, little things to keep you interested in what's happening. What's happening to the family after Brie dies. What happens to the best friends. What happens about Jacob, the boy who indirectly kills her. How Brie will sort them out. Who Patrick is. What his motives are. What Larkin does not. Many many things happen that just keep the story moving along and being interesting.
Brie, you definitely end up quite attached to once you finish the novel. As we were going along, you're interested in her, wanting to see what happens and has happened to her, but its by the end, you really properly like her. At least I found that.
I found it quite hard to understand how Brie and Patrick were perceived during their trips to the living. Because the dog can sense them, and they are solid enough to trip someone over and urdua phone, but living humans can't sense them. This is normal in ghost stories, but then there was a short scene in an ambulance that threw me out. 
An actual plot doesn't start to be built for a long time. While it's interesting seeing Brie's catastrophic history and future, the first half seems like it's just her looking at life and how it's moved on without her. The second half builds up a bit more, meaning there's actually some problems for her to face. Rather big problems. That could be the difference between someone living and dying. I love the chapter titles as song lyrics and the fact it's split up into the stages of grief. It's an original way of doing things, but it really fits with the book.
The ending is definitely more interesting than the beginning.
I like the way that everything was tied up neatly by the end of the novel. All the little plotlines were completed some way or another, giving full explanations for everything that happened.
With the ending as it is, I don't think there's room for a sequel. But I definitely want to see more from Jess. 
Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a light hearted ghost story with a lot of romance built in. Just maybe not the kind of romance that you expect from the summary.

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Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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