A few days ago, my friend Jen (also a kick-butt librarian) recommended that I move The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg to the top of my reading list. I took her advice, and I am SO GLAD that I did. This book is made of awesome! Within the first fifty pages, I had laughed, cried, and started singing a soundtrack in my head. Things only got better from there. The voice of the main character, Brie, is so spot-on that I felt like I was in the head of a somewhat self-centered almost-sixteen-year-old. (Yes, I’m aware “self-centered” describes most, if not all, almost-sixteen-year-olds. I know it describes what I was like at that age. That’s what makes this character so relatable.) I can’t think of anything negative to say about this book, and, for those who know me, that is saying something. I loved the characters, the chapter titles (popular songs that oh-so-accurately describe Brie’s journey), the plot, the subplots, and the extremely satisfying conclusion. This book is a winner!
Brie is almost sixteen when she dies of a broken heart. Yep. A broken heart. Her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, and Brie drops dead in the middle of her dinner. Her heart simply splits in two. Everyone is baffled, especially Brie. This just doesn’t happen, so, of course, it happened to her. Now what is she supposed to do? Spend eternity watching everyone go on without her?
As it turns out, being D&G (Dead and Gone) is a little more complicated that Brie thought it would be. With the help of Patrick—resident Lost Soul, hot guy, and one of the first people she encounters in her new “life,” Brie will go through the five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance—so that she and everyone she left behind can move on. Brie gets the sense that Patrick wants her to move on with him, but how can she when her heart is broken and love seems to bring nothing but pain? Can she learn to love again despite everything?
Brie isn’t having an easy time of it. (Apparently, death is not all fluffy clouds, eating chocolate, and frolicking in meadows.) Those she left behind are falling apart (with a little help from her in a couple of cases), and Brie wants to make things right for them. The more she learns about what happened after her death, the more determined she becomes to make the lives of those she still loves better. But how can she do this? What will she have to give up for a second chance to make things right? Can Brie make things better for herself (and Patrick) as well? What will it take to reverse the catastrophe that her life—and her death—has become? Discover how broken hearts are healed when you read The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg!
In the words of my friend Jen, “I loved this book hard.” It was absolute perfection, and I find it hard to believe that this is the author’s first novel. The book is that good. It even inspired me to visit iTunes and add a few songs to my playlist. If you’re looking for a book that grips you from the first page, makes you laugh and cry, and makes you examine your own relationships—with family, friends, first loves, and soul mates—you must read The Catastrophic History of You and Me. Seriously.
For more information on author Jess Rothenberg and her amazing writing, visit http://www.jessrothenberg.com/ or follow her on Twitter @JessRothenberg.
For even more goodness from The Catastrophic History of You and Me, check out this book trailer from PenguinYoungReaders: