Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me, by Jess Rothenberg

Release date: February 21st 2012
Published by: Penguin Young Readers Group
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars
- Goodreads page

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?

My thoughts:

I bet 5000 dollars you once thought "What must be like when we die?". Every single human being has this doubt, and it can make us fearful and uncertain of what'll become of us when our hearts stop beating. Brie learned the answer to this very question sooner than she ever imagined. At sixteen, she had the perfect life, boyfriend, and best friends. When a date goes terribly wrong, her heart literally breaks in half upon hearing the words, "I don't love you".

After dying, Brie must learn to let go of her life, so that she can move on. Brie can observe everything that happens in the "normal" world, and with that, she finds out her life hadn't been so perfect after all. Secrets that surprised both Brie and me, betrayals that I wasn't expecting at all, turns Brie's after life in a living hell, and it's harder than ever to let go. How can Brie forget her life, if her heart is broken constantly by it?

Brie is told that there are five stages to go through after death:  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness, and Acceptance. And so she goes through it all. And as she learns the very truth about her friends and family, Brie makes mistakes, she breaks hearts, she fixes them, and learns to move on. For me, that was the magic. Brie evolved so much as a person it felt real, just like someone would mature if something awful happened.

Patrick acts like a sort of guide for her, providing the necessary information so that she can move on as quickly as possible. At first, I didn't like him that much. It was like the author was trying to make Patrick realistic, but failed horribly. However, as the story goes on, Patrick turns out to be a completely different person. His sarcastic personality hides a secret that changed the whole concept of the book for me - and what I thought of him. In the end, Patrick won me over. His romantic relationship with Bree develops painfully slowly from the very beginning, and it's both frustrating and great to see the tension between them heating up.

However, as much as I loved Brie and Patrick, I can't help but talk about the secondary characters. The author knows how to create characters and make them feel real. With solid backgrounds and distinct personalities, Brie's family and friends pulled me into the story just as much as Brie herself. They were the ones who made me cry at Brie's funeral. I felt their pain as if they were my own relatives.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me takes young adult romances to a higher level - no pun intended at all. Dying of a broken heart is, indeed, catastrophic, but it raises one hell of an eyebrow. It's one of those plots that could either work out wonderfully, or terribly. Fortunately, it was more of the former. Jess Rothenberg managed to put family, friendship and love issues, character development and an incredible ending, all that in 400 pages. Bravo!


  1. Wow, great review! Everyone seems to love this book and I'm glad to see you enjoyed it too Beatriz. It sounds promising and I can't wait to get round to it! :)

    1. Thanks, Sam ;D This book is so different... you must read it sometime! You'd love it!

  2. Awesome review, Beatriz! I really need to read this book soon, everyone seems to love it so much! I can't wait to read it and prove its awesomeness myself! <3

    1. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Hilda! ;D It's definitely worth a shot!