Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

[description from goodreads]

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

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?


For some reason, I had a sinking feeling that I just wouldn't like The Catastrophic History of You and Me. I think what threw me off is that Brie dies from a literal broken heart-- I mean, how much more corny can you get? The ridiculous nature of that event never dwindled, but I actually enjoyed the book overall. I have plenty of issues with it, but even when I was rolling my eyes, I was enjoying myself. 

Since I already briefly mentioned the cheesiness of this book, it might as well be the first complaint I expand upon. Despite my affinity for Narrators From Beyond the Grave, I'm not a huge fan of Brie's afterlife. I never understood what exactly Brie's current home is-- heaven? purgatory? something else? Granted, Brie never seems to find out enough either, but the actions she was able to take there never made sense. I didn't understand what exactly she could change on Earth, or what a Lost Soul is, or how they thrive in Brie's new home, or how Brie would even spend all her time in this place. The book also seemed like it was trying to throw in too many big ideas about souls, eternity, and all that jazz; there were simply too many topics that just appeared instead of naturally being introduced and developed for them to seem like anything but random. 

However, despite how awkward I found most everything to be, there's just something about this book that I like. Brie often annoyed me with her overblown affection for the not-very-exciting Jacob, and her relationship with Patrick was similarly incomprehensibly deep, but she charmed me anyway. Her writing style is so easy to read and sprinkled with bits of humor that it always had me smiling, even in the sections where she went off on melodramatic tangents. I also enjoyed that even though she's stuck in one place, there is plenty of drama and new information she discovers about both her life and afterlife. It makes for an always exciting read, even though a lot of the action is more melodrama than anything. 

It's melodramatic and often nonsensical, but so charming and happy-making that I can safely say I do indeed like The Catastrophic History of You and Me despite its faults.

Book details: Dial/Hardcover/$17.99

Source: sent by publisher for review


  1. i kind of new from the synopsis the first time i read it that it wasn't for me. another love triangle, meh. glad you found something within the book that you clicked with. (the charming aspect of it seems quite appealing).

  2. It looked like something sort of interesting, and I love long titles, but knowing you aren't a big fan drops it down to "library book" level for me.
    Now that I'm reading the summary again, it does seem pretty cheesy, but I'm glad it wasn't a total bust of a book.

  3. Hmm. I am going to put this down as a 'maybe' for myself. I think my reaction to the book will depend on how I take the corny bits.