The Catastrophic History of You and Me

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4.7
 
4.4 (5)
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The Catastrophic History of You and Me
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
February 21, 2012
ISBN
978-0803737204
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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 Brie 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?

Editor reviews

1 reviews

A Remarkable Debut
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg was one of those all around awesome kind of books. My love for this book was clearly meant to be from the moment I saw all the references to Disney Princesses and the chapter titles, which are the best. My favorite was "Shot Through The Heart and You're to Blame". Jess Rothenberg has written a remarkable debut that I did not want to put down.

By the time I had finish maybe five pages of this one, I had to stop and just marvel at the writing. Jess Rothenberg is one talented lady and the story was one that I could not help but to get caught up in. The Catastrophic History of You and Me perfectly balances the funny, lighter side of Brie's story with entirely heartbreaking moments.

I loved Jess Rothenberg's spin on the afterlife. It was completely unlike other books that deal with the same subject, and I can say that it was definitely my favorite portrayal I have read yet. I loved following Brie through her journey and seeing where it would take her next.

The one pitfall for The Catastrophic History of You and Me was Brie herself throughout part of the middle of the book. She just deviated from the character I loved at the beginning of the book. Hamloaf, you are most definitely the coolest dog to walk the pages of young adult. Patrick was a character who really grew on me as the book went on. At first, I was like I like you. You're kind of like a stand up comedian. But as the book went on, he become a much deeper character than that and I loved him.

Fans of Leila Sales will eat this one up, with its charming characters and funny plot. The voice in The Catastrophic History of You and Me is incredible. Once you start reading this one, you won't want to put it down. Jess Rothenberg has written a heartbreakingly beautiful debut, and I am very eager to see more from her in the future.
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User reviews

5 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.4
Plot 
 
4.2  (5)
Characters 
 
4.4  (5)
Writing Style 
 
4.6  (5)
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A Cute Story Despite the Whole Death Thing
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Brie (like the cheese) is a typical teenager. More like a typical teenage girl. She has what appears to be the perfect life. Dying puts a whole new perspective on things though. Especially when you die from a broken heart. Literally *with actual correct usage of the word*. The thing is that life is never as it appears, and people can always seem to fake their way through a lot of things for a lot of people. Brie learns this... even if it was the hard way at times.

Despite the whole death thing, the book was light, filled with humor that be found among many girls. When she dies, Brie watches her memorial service and funeral. She then finds herself in A Little Slice of Heaven, a.k.a. the best pizza on the West Coast. Inside the pizza shop is a boy named Patrick, gorgeous and perfectly annoying *but a bit pretty much perfect too*. I truly loved Patrick in the story. He continued to surprise me time and time again, and he really loved Brie. So much so that he was willing to sacrifice himself for her. That's rare. I fell head over heels for him as I read. also, Brie's best friends in life were also pretty awesome. Sadie is the only one that gets a lot of character development, but all of them got enough for me to want to hang out with them.

For a debut, I found the story to be quite good, quirky, even if the ending was a bit weird. There are moments in the book where the writing is breathtakingly beautiful. I can see Ms. Rothenberg getting better and better!

Low Points: The ending was kind of strange for me, but I saw a lot of people's reviews that loved it. At times, Brie really drove me crazy, verging on annoying me. Sometimes that just happens for me when I read books whose main target audience is teenagers.

High Points: The romance between Brie and Patrick is beautiful, missing that "lust" at first sight business. I love how the book takes perspective and just twists and then twists it again. It was an interesting way to show how perspective affects our lives. The book also shows a lot of relationships, with strengths and weaknesses both in family and friends. The insight into the grieving process was interesting too.
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Beautiful Story and Wonderful Execution
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
The Catastrophic History of You and Me starts off with Brie's narration of her life, and whatever led up to her death. And like the synopsis says, her boyfriend breaks her heart. Which made it literally split into perfect halves, therefore killing her. In order for her to move on, she has to go through the five stages of grief, or she'll be stuck in the state of a Lost Soul.

Firstly, I'd like to applaud Jess Rothenberg's skill in plot twists. A character I believed to be someone to get the story turned out to be a major character. Some unexpected turns between Brie and her idea of Jacob. Patrick's big secret and sacrifice. Her father's betrayal. Though the story felt fairly cute and sweet in the beginning, the big guns were brought out later on in the story but didn't distrupt the atmosphere all that much. It was only towards the end when I felt that the story got pushy and dark. Normally, I like dark stories, but this sort of dark didn't mesh with the general bubbly atmosphere of the story and felt a little out of it. It didn't have that special push I like to have in books.


Brie, is a developing, dynamic character who you can clearly see grows, stretches, and morphs throughout the story. She's at first confused and bewildered, then grows to be bitter and angry, before finally accepting her current state. It shows us Brie's character at her very worst, showing the reader how human she is, and molds her into a beautiful, realistic teenage girl.


Often in books the love interest occupies a lot of space in the pages of a book, Brie's thoughts were mostly on her death, and what she should make of it. Patrick, though a major character, was not center stage of Brie's mind. It wasn't as if there was no romance - there was actually more romance than other books I generally like - but the romance was at a perfect level, still there in the back of your mind but not overshadowing what the book was trying to convey.


I loved this book, and have much more praise I can give it, but I have a bone to pick with the pacing towards the end. I found this a very refreshing read, and would definitely recommend it to contemporary fans.
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The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Everything about this book was amazing. From cover to cover. Speaking of the cover, it was what initially drew me to the book. After reading the story, it fits perfectly and I love it even more.
The actual story was fun and easy to read, even with a premise that could have been taken so seriously. I also loved that the chapters were titled from song lyrics that went along with the events that played out in the chapter. To go along with that, I saw on her website that she had a playlist to go along with the book, so I was able to read and listen to it and it was great. It made me connect with them even more. But what I loved the most was the fact the comical aura of Brie even though she was D&G. I laughed throughout this entire book.
As far as the characters, they were all great assets to the story. Everyone that was in it came with a specific purpose. There were some that I felt so incredibly sorry for and others that I felt so happy with and others that I was sad about. My favorite character in the book though was not Brie, but Patrick. He was such a sweetie and he was there for Brie through everything. And he just seemed to complement Brie so well. From his constant teasing her to his seriousness about certain subjects.
This book will leave you breathless. I certainly was. I found myself like oh yeah I know what's going on like trying to guess only to find out that Rothenberg went and through a plot twist in the mix. It was an amazing story. Spoiler... Highlight to see it... (One thing that I would love to see though, is a story from Sadie's POV. I just want to see how she was feeling when the rumors were flying about her and Jacob and how she handled it.)
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A unique and cute story about true love, death, and fate
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I didn’t know what to expect going into this book. I give credit to Jess for creating a pretty unique story and a good set of characters. I loved Brie, she is funny, snarky, and every bit the typical teen who has to face a tragedy, without the annoying parts. Jess gave the reader just enough humor, romance, and grief to keep the story going steady and the reader entertained, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. One of my favorite aspects of the book was that each chapter title was a line from a song. Some I didn’t know, but many I remember and love. That definitely made me smile and I was eager to see what each chapter would be titled and they pretty much fit with how the story was going.

I love that Jess keeps you in suspense and just when you think you figured out the secret or that you know what’s going on or what’s about to happen, Jess throws you for a loop and you’re floored! I love how Jess takes the idea of the afterlife and puts her own personal take on it, stuck at a familiar place – in this case, a pizza parlor – being able to touch objects and people, and diving back into the world via the Golden Gate bridge, although no one can see you, of course. I also loved how far Jess took the real-life condition, “Broken Heart syndrome” and turned it into something physical. The actual medical/scientific aspect of it plays an important part in the beginning and I enjoyed seeing that play out.

Patrick and Brie’s relationship is very significant, but they didn’t have as much interaction as I would’ve liked, given how much they actually care for each other. You’re kind of just supposed to believe that their love is pure and transcendent, without as many key events to portray it. I also didn’t care for the ending because it felt like Jess simply threw a bunch of background and ideas at the reader, without giving much detail, which made it a bit confusing. I feel like she rushed the ending and it could’ve been so much better. After finishing it I was left wondering what the hell was going on and what exactly was all that spiritual, existential stuff Jess was trying to explain to the reader, but couldn’t really do right?! It didn’t really click for me.

Besides all that, I really liked the book and all the stuff leading up to the end, even if the ending was a bit of a bust. I’d definitely keep this one on my bookshelf for light, fun read and for a debut author, it’s not bad at all.
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A Real Heart-breaker!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
This was a sweet, fun, heartbreaking story all wrapped into one. I felt a plethora of emotions along with Brie while reading this book: sadness, happiness, anger, frustration, sympathy, hope, and love. While the topics at hand were fairly serious, and at times sad, the author integrated just enough sarcasm and humor to keep the story from being too dark. While I was frustrated with Brie’s need for revenge, she was a very likable character that I was able to connect with. Patrick was the perfect mysterious “Lost Soul” (a.k.a swoon-worthy guy). I especially loved the dialogue between Patrick and Brie, as well as all the cheese themed nicknames he came up with for her.



*(As a side note, Brie’s faithful Basset Hound Hamloaf, was my favorite character!)



Something else that I LOVED about this book was that each chapter title was taken from a well known song. At the end of the ARC (I’m sure it will be in the finished copy too) was a list of all the songs and artists used as titles. This just added a fun element to the book.



I was very impressed by the fact that the author was able to surprise me. I assumed this would be a predictable, yet enjoyable, read. There were, however, two different parts of the story that I didn’t see coming. This element of surprise is what transformed this from a good book to a fantastic one!



This story provided me with a great romance, as well as some things to think about. It really causes you think about grief, revenge, consequences to your actions,the power of friendship, and the importance of family. I highly recommend this debut, and cannot wait to read other things from Jess Rothenburg in the future!
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