The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
Book 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?
Just before Brie Eagan’s sixteenth birthday, she dies of a broken heart after her boyfriend tells her that he doesn’t love her. Her boyfriend’s admission stuns her, and moments later Brie’s heart severs into two equal halves, killing her.
Brie is now in the afterlife – in denial about her death and missing her family. In the afterlife she meets Patrick, a resident Lost Soul, who wants to help Brie come to terms with her passing…but is that all he wants?
Together they head to earth, where Brie makes some surprising discoveries that have devastating consequences for herself, her family, her best friend, and Jacob – the boy who broke her heart. But things are not quite what they seem, and before Brie can truly move on, she needs to accept her death, and find out the truths amongst the secrets.
Brie died of a broken heart, and she is about to learn that the afterlife can be just as messy as life on earth; and that the afterlife cannot make you immune to a broken heart.
I absolutely loved The Catastrophic History of You and Me. I laughed, I cried, and I was deeply moved by Brie’s story.
The Catastrophic History of You and Me follows the main character Brie, as she makes her way through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance) following her death. Brie is such a lovable character. There were so many times while reading, that I wanted to give Brie a big hug and tell her that everything would be alright, even though I didn’t know, or see, how things were going to right themselves. I became so caught up in Brie’s story; I smiled with her, I laughed with her and I cried with her.
When Brie reaches the afterlife she finds herself at Little Slice of Heaven – her family’s favourite pizza restaurant. It may look like the pizza restaurant that Brie and her family used to frequently visit, but this Little Slice of Heaven is different. Here, Brie is surrounded by other people, all young, who have passed away but have yet to let go and move on. Soon, Brie begins to feel anger – anger towards Jacob. She believes that Jacob needs to suffer for destroying her heart; however, when Brie becomes blinded by her revenge everything begins to spiral out of control.
I could completely understand why Brie felt the need for revenge. While on earth, Brie thought she had a pretty perfect life: she loved her parents and her little brother, she had three best friends who she absolutely adored, she was on the school’s diving team and she thought that her boyfriend was in love with her. Brie feels that Jacob took everything away from her. She is deeply hurt and when she returns to earth and sees how her sudden death has impacted on her family, she is devastated.
I don’t want to say too much about Brie’s story because I don’t want to give anything away. I will just say that because Brie is peeking in on her family and friends, she is able to discover secrets, and the question is: what will she do with the information she learns?
With Brie, as she makes her way through the five stages of grief, is Patrick, who she meets at Little Slice of Heaven. I adored him. Partick is funny, sarcastic and kind. I loved the banter between Brie and Patrick; it was so enjoyable to read. Some of the conversations between them were so funny, while others were deeply moving.
Patrick was very intriguing. The reasons why he had been at Little Slice of Heaven for so long were revealed piece by piece, and I really liked that. It didn’t distract from Brie’s story. I wanted to know Patrick’s story and I enjoyed the balance between Brie’s journey and the revealing of Patrick’s past. When Brie becomes blinded by revenge, Patrick begins to think that she is taking things a little too far; but how can he help Brie when her heart is still breaking? Can he heal a broken heart?
Jess Rothenberg has written a very beautiful, very respectful and deeply moving novel. I loved the way she told Brie’s story; I found myself reaching for the tissues on more than one occasion. The Catastrophic History of You and Me is the perfect title for this novel. When I finished reading the novel, I thought to myself: “that was the perfect title”. It just captured the story so well.
One, of the many things that I loved about this novel were the chapter titles. Each chapter is titled after lyrics to a song, and each lyric chosen perfectly captured what was happening in that part of the story. I thought the chapter titles were very cleverly done.
Filled with moments of beauty, laughter and heartbreak, The Catastrophic History of You and Me is a story that deeply touched my heart. This is a novel that I will never forget.
*Thank you to Penguin Australia for providing me with a copy of The Catastrophic History of You and Me to review.