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

Title: The Catastrophic History of You and Me written by Jess Rothenberg
Genre: YA Fiction, YA Contemporary Romance
Published by Dial Books
Page Count: 267
Format: Ebook (read on B&N Nook)
Rating: 3/5 I liked it
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #5

“…there is absolutely nothing ‘fun’ about falling in love. Nope. Mostly it just makes you feel sick and crazy and anxious and nervous that it’s going to end miserably and ruin your whole life. And guess what: Then it does.” Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You and Me is about fifteen year old Brie (no relation to the cheese!) and her broken heart. Brie’s life is literally perfect…she has perfect friends, perfect parents and the perfect, wonderful boyfriend but this all changes when her boyfriend Jacob tells her the four little words that no girl or woman wants to hear from the man they love: I don’t love you. This is obviously devestating but interestingly enough it quite LITERALLY breaks her heart. Brie ends up dying at the tender age of fifteen of a broken heart. She ends up in a sort of purgatory-like afterlife that takes the form of her family’s favorite pizza parlor populated by a few other people including Patrick, a boy about her age that looks sort of familiar to her and befriends her, showing her around and giving her the rules of being D&G (dead and gone). From the get go Patrick and Brie exchange sassy remarks and humorous anecdotes that sort of make you root that they will fall in love in their afterlife but Brie is still finding herself hung up on the guy who broke her heart. Patrick and Brie end up jumping off the Golden Gate bridge which somehow enables them to come back to earth and walk amongst the living, or in this case Brie’s family and friends. She is seeking revenge on her ex boyfriend and ends up finding out things that she wished she hadn’t like that her dad’s having an affair and that her best friend and her boyfriend are secretly seeing each other…or at least this is what she deduces from the minimal amount of evidence she pieces together while back on earth.

While Brie is busy trying to get even here on earth, Patrick is keeping a pretty big secret from her about their past which she figures out towards the end of the book. He is also wanting to help her move on which entails her to move through the natural stages of grief which actually form the different sections of the book: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness and Acceptance. After having seen the worst possible scenario play out in her life, Brie gets a chance to go back to that fateful day and fix a few things that would make a difference in the lives of her friends and family in the long run and she finds out that Patrick was her long lost love from her previous life after all. It’s a story about dealing with grief and giving second chances.

I love the front cover image of this book, I think it’s beautiful. I also liked that each chapter is a lyric from a sad, love song. I’m sappy like that. At the end of the book the author includes the song/author/album information for each lyric she used. I appreciated how the author worked in the five stages of grief as well.

I gave this book the rating of 3, which on my rating scale means ” I liked it”. I really wanted to love this book because I really liked the concept of it but I definitely think it could have been executed a little better. Sometimes it sort of jumped around which made it a little difficult to follow. I also felt it was sort of a contemporary realistic fiction book but then when we get to the end and Brie goes to Angel’s Island we encounter a few morbid, fantasy Dante’s inferno type scenes which just felt a little out of place in this book. That being said, this book totally made me cry. I think I had really high expectations for this book because it made me cry like one chapter in so I thought it was going to be amazing and a total roller coaster ride. It wasn’t a roller coaster ride but it was okay, I liked it. It was a fun read though I don’t consider it a book I would put under the “MUST READ” category. I really liked seeing how everything worked out in the end, we kind of get to a point in the book where it gets a little depressing and I found myself thinking “Really How can this situation get any worse than it already is?” but the story totally gets picked up off the ground and ends up in a really good place. Although Brie is still dead, lol which in itself is pretty sad but she’s with the love of her life(s) so that’s okay! This definitely is a sad one and I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to know what happened next and I really wanted to see if a happy resolution was in store. This book is for anyone that has had their heart broken!

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