Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me

The Catastrophic History of You and Me

Author: Jess Rothenberg


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?

21 February 2012


Every once in a while, you chance upon a book that writes such funny, witty and gorgeous prose, and yet, every sentence makes you want to cry. 

The Catastrophic History of You and Me is such a book. 

Brie dies of heartbreak at age sixteen, but life doesn't end after this. Forever after is a timeless vortex, not allowing you to truly move on before going through five more stages of grief. As it turns out, the afterlife is not all about dying, but rather, about understanding that there's more to life than death.

In the first stage Denial, there's loss and there's confusion. Brie suddenly finds herself in another world, a complete copy of her old life, yet filled with people who have died-- each in their own way, each in their own time. Then there's one 'handsome boy with a motorcycle jacket, the one who calls her 'Angel' with quirky cheese-themed nicknames.

After the initial stubborn Denial, comes Anger. Back on Earth, there's the boy who broke her heart. The friend who went behind her back. The father who, in sadness, turned to another woman. From far above, her seemingly perfect past life slowly unravels, as the people Brie loves unknowingly reveal the secrets and betrayals that they have kept from her. It's easy how lingering love can transform into hate in the very next heartbeat. Brie becomes a girl bent on getting her revenge, wrecking the lives of those who had hurt her.

But, anger always burns out, after which comes Bargaining. Brie makes a shocking discovery, realizing that the boy who broke her heart had his own bitter secret. Desperately wanting to undo all her acts of vengeance, Brie meets Larkin, a senior in her high school who died years ago in a raging fire. Larkin offers her a once in a "death-time" chance to go back to her old life for one day to change something. However, this opportunity comes attached with a price tag-- Brie would have to give Larkin a necklace, a deal which leaves all of us befuddled. In a sequence of fast-paced action, the story takes a turn, as Brie finally finds herself fully alone. She had hurt the one boy who had tried to save her-- the one with the motorcycle jacket-- and now there's no one left.

Sadness. Racing against time, Brie tries to find out the mysterious identity behind her constant companion. Digging up the past is a painful thing as she discovers shocking secrets and a love that had never left her side. Who is this boy who dresses like an 80s fellow and calls her 'Angel'? But, more importantly, where did he go?

Unwittingly, the story draws to an end in Brie's final stage-- Acceptance. With a clever turn of her pen, Jess Rothenberg hands us an ending that could be no more perfect than this. Rothenberg begins the story with the folly of love and ends it telling us that love is beautiful because of its silly faults. Brie herself starts the tale with pain and heartbreak (like literally) and ends it off with a hum of content. In her eyes, there's no sadness over what she has lost, only a crystal-clear reflection of that one boy who stayed with her all the way till the very end.

So when Brie falls in love with that boy at the end of the whole amazing journey, I was smiling and crying. It was because-- in life and death and everything in between-- Patrick had always been there. The one and only boy who had always been there for Brie; the one who gave up his life for her; the one who waited for her; the one whose will to live extinguished when she turned away. Ultimately, at the end of it all, Brie whirled around and saw with her heart that there had only been one boy for her all along. That is why you will smile behind your tears, simply because there is no other boy more deserving of Brie than Patrick.

This is no comedy, but a sad and piercing lesson enveloped in comic and light-hearted wit.

Heartbreakingly heart-warming, The Catastrophic History of You and Me teaches you all about love and why it's not only like a Shakespearean romantic tragedy but also like a dreamy fairytale. Friends, are for ever. Love, lasts forever!

Source: Purchased with precious money saved up over the course of a month :)


"Love is a piano dropped from a four-storey window, and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time." Ani DiFranco

Sorry, but this was the funniest book trailer I've ever seen! Patrick and Jacob looks terrible :O 
What do you think?


  1. Hmmm this sounds special! I've never thought of after-life as having 5 stages of grief... xD This has a highly prominent position on my TBR, definitely going to read it soon after your review! Thanks for sharing!


    1. Can't wait for you review of this then >:) I swear, you'll love it! Do tell me when you have your review out and ready to greet the world!

  2. Usually book trailers don't make me want to read the book, but I actually liked that one. I like the quote you picked too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The trailer is spot-on though the cast just makes me lose my appetite ><

      I love the quote too! You're welcome :)

  3. Never read a book about life after death before! Definitely sounds interesting. I'm glad to hear it ended well too even though it was sad. Yay for funny parts though! I love books that can make me laugh but am not a fan of fluffy books, so this one sounds like just the thing for me. Thanks for the review! :)

    1. The brilliant thing about this book is not just life after death but love after death. It has just the right dose of fluffiness and depth, one that will make you giggle and think at the same time. Agreed! This is just the thing for you. You are welcome :))

  4. Tragedy and a fair-tale..your review is wonderful and has left me wanting to read this. I might just pick this one up! Thanks :)

    1. Thank you! Your comment made my day :)

  5. This story sounds like "the five people you meet in heaven"(this pretty nice book), except that it's probably "the five stages you go through in heaven"!(: sounds pretty intriguing and sweet! Hope I get the chance to read it something when I get to squeeze out time! ><

    1. Orange------- squeeze!! Go squeeze and breeze through this book, time will freeze for you when they kiss in bliss, you'll tease those who had missed this great piece.

    2. I like your rhyme, but I'm not good at mine, it's time I dine, so see you some time!(;

  6. Just got this book, can't wait to read it!!! :D


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