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Source: Penguin Canada for review
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Format: Hardcover, 375 pages
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.Although the idea of heartbreak is nothing unheard of, the concept of actually having your heart split into two pieces after love goes wrong is a new one. Jess Rothenberg explores exactly this though and manages to pull it off spectacularly.
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?
When I first heard of what The Catastrophic History of You and Me was about, I was mega excited. This is such a crazy, unique idea and I was jumping with anticipation at how it would be executed. Once Brie dies, she has to go through the five stages of grief until she ultimately accepts her fate. The book is basically divided into sections by stage but instead of just having 'stage: anger' and all of a sudden Brie consumed with burning rage, it all connects into a believable, enthralling story line.
The pacing is excellent as Brie explores the afterlife as well as the life she has left behind. And oh, the things she is missing! There is secret after betrayal after shocking revelation thrown out and it really keeps you guessing about what will happen next. The reasons for and the aftermath of Brie's death are not simple and reading to find out about them is a seriously enjoyable experience.
This book is funny and touching and sad and so many other things that are made of win. Reading it is really an emotional rollercoaster that you take with Brie and by the end of the book, I felt a connection to a number of the characters, all of which are so multi-layered and complex.
Take Brie for example. There are all these quirks about her that make her very endearing -- her love for Disney movies, the Your Mom Jokes she passes with Patrick, the sincere affection she has for her little brother. She wasn't a characters whose choices I always agreed with (that thing in the Anger stage - I was kind of ready to smack her!) but I could see where she was coming from and understand her. Then there's PATRICK, who is dreamy in that 80s way of his. He was supportive, helpful and funny and I thought his scenes with Brie were the best. Especially when he made the cheesy cheese nicknames (Cheeto, String Cheese, you get the idea) because tell me, who didn't love them?
Cover Comments: What an awesome dress. I really like this cover. I think you can see the whole afterlife thing playing a role and it's pulled off in a way that reflects the story. The only thing that bugs me about this cover is the fact that Brie isn't wearing her necklace! It's such a huge symbol in the story to me but then nothing is featured. Oh well :) Still pretty.