the catastrophic history of you & me by jess rothenberg

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 Brie 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:

So confusingly good.

Be prepared for a whirlwind of a story, because The Catastrophic History of You and Me will blow you away.

When I began reading, what first stuck out was the notion of dying of a broken heart. Cacophony is what I thought. How ridiculous. Backed by Brie’s fifteen-year-old voice and perspective, it sounded all the more exaggerated. But the long, drawn-out pacing helped ease me into her narrative. After many pages filled with “adorbs,” “offish,” “realzies,” and other such teen slang, it started to seem like less of an annoyance and simply more a part of who Brie is. The quirks came to define her…positively.

I don’t know how I expected the story to fill out 400 pages, but I didn’t expect to get to spend so much time with each of the characters – again and again and again. If you pick up on a loose thread, don’t worry. Rothenberg makes sure to put it back in its place, until there’s a perfectly painted picture. This, to me, was quite a feat. Little details do get lost, but major things continually find their way back into the story, things I’d forgotten about or never thought would pop up again. This made for a delightfully surprising read!

Some aspects seem a little too off track though, almost as if they’re misplaced, not unimportant. And this, I think, results from the length and slow pace. Something had to take up Brie’s time, and sometimes the events carried on for far too long (unnecessary drama included). Problem with this is that it made me want to slap her. It got to the point that I didn’t think there was any hope for Brie; for a long while she consistently proved a stubborn, childish, cheesy snot. I was begging for her to change, to show some semblance of growth. It was at this low point that the story did a 180 and changed course, for the better. I was hooked.

This story will test your patience, but it proves worthwhile if you stick with it. It’ll even make you teary-eyed.

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