Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You and Me
By Jess Rothenberg
February 21st, 2012

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? (From Good Reads)

I received a copy of this book through Library Things Early Reviewers. Thank you to them and Penguin for the Advanced Reader's Copy.  I was not compensated for my review nor did the winning of the book influence my review.

This book was not what I was expecting at all.  I thought it was going to be a fluff book about a girl who died and would have to choose from going back to her life and her boyfriend who literally broke her heart or stay in heaven with an angel she fell in love with.  Not so.  Not at all.  That makes it hard to like a book you thought was going to be a light read, that isn't light at all!

First, the fact that she died at 15 and her dad is a heart surgeon is catastrophic to him.  He feels like he should have been able to save her.  He beats himself up about it.

Second, she died at the very moment when her boyfriend told her "I don't love you."  When they autopsied her, her heart was actually split in two.  So she wants revenge.  Now, I can identify with that.  Someone broke my heart around that age and I would have loved to have gotten revenge, but frankly he didn't care.  Brie's revenge though is more like catastrophic.  It's life changing.  And her Angel, Patrick is with her trying to guide her from making these mistakes, but she is hell bent on wreaking havoc.

She feels betrayed by a friend and wreaks havoc on her life as well.  It's as if she's become a tornado of destruction. She's mean spirited and angry and can't be reasoned with.  She's really hard to have sympathy for until much further down the road.

Patrick warns her that she has to go through the five stages of grief Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness and finally Acceptance.  He's there to help her through those five stages.  And yes, each stage is accurately portrayed.  And part way through the story you start to wonder about Patrick's story.  Very few clues are given about him.  But you know, you just know he isn't her angel by accident.

There are humorous times that lighten the rather heavy tone of the book.  Patrick makes all kinds of cheese nicknames about Brie's name calling her Cheeto breath among many others.  There is the first time they "fly" back to earth which is actually falling.  But those times don't make up for ***spoiler alert***There is a dog scene.  And if it doesn't break your heart you must be dead.  And if you've just lost an animal friend, don't read this one just yet.  And get the tissues out.  There are plenty of times you'll need them.

I think I would have liked this better if I hadn't been expecting a fluff book.  It was well written and the feelings were portrayed realistically.  From her friends, to her brother to her father, they all showed their grief in different ways and I think that it is very true to life.

The ending though was problematic.  I didn't understand it.  I had no idea what was going on.  You'll have to read it and see if you understand it.  I think the whole big drama could have been left out and just the misunderstanding could have been cleared up and  it would have ended just fine.

In the end it was a good book,  It just didn't knock me out.  I would recommend this for YA readers 14 and up.  There is mention of losing your virginity, but it isn't graphic.  I think someone going in not expecting a fluff book will enjoy this a lot more than I did.  It did have some funny moments and some romance and some very dark moments.  It really is good and I recommend that you read it. Just don't expect light and happy!



  1. The idea of dying when your heart breaks in two makes me laugh. It's always hard to appreciate a book if it's something other than what you expect. Glad you mostly liked it though.

  2. I had no idea how dark this book would be! I was anticipating one of those romantic books with a touch of self-discovery. Glad I know what to expect now because I would've been really disappointed! Now I'm curious as to why they broke up and her devious plan. Thanks for the review, Heather!

  3. Wow. I thought this was going to be a light and fun read not so dark either. I don't think it's a bad thing at all, but I think the synopsis makes it sound light as does the cover. Still sounds like something I would read though.

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

  4. Yes Alison, Rummanah and Jessica, I would have totally loved this book if I had been expecting what it was. The cover just doesn't match the seriousness inside. If they'd just done it on a dark background maybe. But I was seriously expecting fluff or like Jessica said light and romantic. It isn't that! But it is worth a read, definitely!


  5. I've been hearing AMAZING things about this book--glad to see that you enjoyed it! I'm very curious to see what this ending is all about now, too.

    Wendy @ at The Midnight Garden

  6. From the blurb I also would have expected something a little more light-hearted. Sorry you didn't quite enjoy it because of that! I absolutely love the cover though! I think it's brilliant.

  7. I loved this book! I could read it again and still be taken by surprised even though now I know how it ends. This book is a great debut that everyone should read.
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