Monday, 6 February 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me - Jess Rothenberg; Review.

Book Details:
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Penguin - Razorbill (2 Feb 2012)
ISBN-10: 0141334479
ISBN-13: 978-0141334479

Book Summary:
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 in heaven, 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 knows 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's been D&G (dead and gone) much longer than she? and 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?

Links to Buy:


Thanks firstly to Penguin for sending me this gorgeous book to review *thumbs up.* When I opened the package for this, I did indeed squeal shamelessly for the cover was beautiful, loved the title *I mean come on, does it get any quirkier than that?* and I knew I was in for a fluffy read and wasn't disappointed. 

Since the title is indeed a mouthful and quite a bit to write every time I have to mention the book, between you and me, let's shorten it to TCHYM, yes? :) *Saves us all some precious seconds we could otherwise use to eat pie.*

TCHYM is refreshing in it's storyline, effective in its narrative and heart-warming in it's characters. The blurb states "I was fifteen years old when I died of a broken heart." In a YA sector full of books about the supernatural being and animals from the other world, this lands you in the basic of all stories - heartbreak.

Rothenberg creates a beautiful story here, as she brings to us the character of Brie *cue the many cheese themed jokes*, fun, happy, beautiful and your average teen girl who's living and loving life - until it all ends in heartbreak and she's transported into heaven, or in her case, "A slice of heaven". I've only ever read one other book where everything happens from heaven and that was "Elsewhere" by Gabrielle Zevin, so it was nice to see Rothenberg take on this idea and give it her own spin. We continue to follow Brie and her cute antics as she learns to adjust to adjust to the 5 stages of death, ranging from denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance - and who better to help her through the stages than the mischievous Patrick - resident lost soul. Slowly, as friendships build, and families fade, we follow Brie and Patrick's journey with mellow heart as they finally end up where they belong.

Rothenberg brings everything to the story that makes it a worthy read; humour and sarcasm in the form of Patrick, character development and teenage angst in the form of Brie and a twist in the novel coming in the shape of Larkin. Yet this book shouldn't be written off as just being a fluffy summer type read, as within the depth of the book Rothenberg brings home the idea of identity and accepting who you truly are - which leaves a sob hanging in your throat. 

I loved the simplicity of Rothenberg's style and how it was so easy to read; I started this on a cold morning at 7am on the train on the way to Uni, and was hooked, by the time I had to get off an hour and a half later, I found myself nearly halfway into the book and didn't want to stop. Her fluidity urges you to drop everything you're doing and continue reading. Another unique quirk which always begs for points in my opinion, is the creativity of the song titles she had at the beginning of every chapter which acted as an indicator almost to signal what was coming up ahead and sets the mood. Song lyrics ranging from the classic "Take another little piece of my heart now, baby" to the likes of Miley Cyrus "it's the climb". Mixed in there are some of my all time favourites like Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Police, Billy Joel, Bonnie Tyler, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake and The Fray (a sure way to bring me to tears). This indicates to me the effort Rothenberg went through to hand pick songs for each chapter and shows an ulterior sense of musical sensibility which I highly approve of ;) 

Bringing it all together, the music notes, the emotions of love and heartbreak, friendship, loss, acceptance, it's a beautiful story wound together by great writing that won't let you tear away from the book, and will place a smile on your face by the time you finish. *content sigh* I just wish it was longer. A great piece by Rothenberg as her d├ębut novel and I eagerly await reading more of her work.


  1. Looks good, if it's available on kindle I might buy it.

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  3. I really need to check this one out! Your review is so amazing that I so need to get to reading this one asap, Thanks so much for the awesome review!