Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Catastrophic History of One Girl's Journey

I am not one who generally seeks out an "afterlife love story," but there was something about Jess Rothenberg's story The Catastrophic History of You and Me that kept calling to me. And I am glad it did. 

Brie's heart broke in half. Literally. Jacob, the boy she loved, broke her heart in half and now, being D&G (Dead and Gone), she must travel through the five stages of loss. Fortunately for Brie, she has a guide through her adjustment to life beyond life: Patrick. Patrick might be goofy and sarcastic, and his clothes are Sooo 80's, but he just wants to help Brie through her denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. 

But the journey is made worse by Brie's ability to see her family, friends, and especially Jacob. The boy who told her "I do not love you" and cleaved her heart in two has some secrets of his own. As Brie spends time watching her friends and family live their lives without her, she realizes how much pain and suffering her death has caused. Through her stages of grief, she takes out her feelings on the people she left behind, even when Patrick cautions her against it. But in the end, it is Brie who must accept her death the most. Even if there isn't much she can change about what she left behind.

I honestly didn't know what to expect about this story, but I really liked it! I am always skeptical of the ghost girl seeks the boy story (weirdness), but this one was so darned sweet and endearing, but also a little snarky and fiesty at times! Brie really experiences each of those five stages, and when she is angry, boy is she angry! She is so mad she is willing to act without really thinking of the consequences or even seeing the full scope of the circumstances. And her anger feels true and realistic and sincere. I can just imagine any girl in her situation reacting and feeling the way Brie does. And it is heartbreaking. Sometimes funny, but mostly heartbreaking.

This is a really unique story and would appeal to anyone looking for the romantic comedy books that also have some meat to them. It is a story that really examines grief as you survive it (in one capacity or another) and there are some definite twists to the story you will undoubtedly enjoy. They certainly surprised me, and I was left really satisfied by the end of the story. It is a very clean book that deals with some serious situations about love, family, friendship, and relationships. I think that makes it a fabulous story for a wide range of readers. And I can't imagine anyone not wanting to see where Brie takes you next!

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