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Friday, December 23, 2011

The Catastrophic History of You & Me

The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg

Grade: 2 stars out of 5
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?
Who else thought how awesome The Catastrophic History of You & Me sounded when they read the summary? Dying because of heartbreak? Wow. That’s different.

When I read the book, however, I had thought that Rothenberg would bring more details. Scientific and biological evidence of how and why Brie’s heart broke in half. Perhaps it’ll be something like from The Sky is Everywhere—a hidden heart problem that no one seemed to catch—or maybe a heart problem that has always been there, but the stress of heartbreak was the final straw. What happened was that Rothenberg introduced a new illness: BHS, Broken Heart Syndrome. Really? Really. Desk, meet head; head, prepare for pain. There are biological anomalies everywhere and I get that this is a work of fiction, but I felt robbed almost. Since I’m already amped up, let’s talk cheese.

What do you do when the MC is a girl that you do like not? Loathed at times even. Well you keep reading and hoping that you will grow to like her. There might be a string of sympathy, or empathy, that sets off a domino effect with a final hit of ‘wow, I wish I knew that girl’. But no, The Catastrophic History of You & Me left me thankful that I didn’t know Brie. (I didn’t get the cheese nicknames until a third way in because I’m not a big fan of cheese so I have very limited knowledge of cheese names.)

While her best friends and her boyfriend(s) and family loved Brie, I could barely tolerate her. She was selfish: selfish actions with selfish motives that did no one any good. It was all about her, her, and oh yeah, her. Brie didn’t care that she might have ruined someone’s life: college plans, friendships, public lives, etc. Brie’s mind only seemed to consider the immediate results from an action. Any long-term effects or consequences never popped into her mind until it hit her face on. Even then I felt like she couldn’t have figured out how it all came to be.

Would I call Brie psychotic? At times, yes. Her actions were extreme: breaking car windows, pushing an oncoming bike down, tripping someone where it breaks their leg, and so forth. Heartaches hurt. It sucks to be dumped and it sucks even more when you are lied to. But to assume only makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’. And Brie did was assume the worst. I think being dramatic makes life more fun, but I would not to be her friend just in case she might stab me in the back (literally and figuratively).

While we’re talking bad things let’s continue on about the big reveal in the end. Everyone gets a HEA (happy ever after), but the build up to the HEA was clunky. A little foreshadowing here and there (but it’s pretty much the same scene each time) then BANG. I had a little trouble swallowing it—just a little—especially with the great emotion upheaval that makes me want to puke. We’re soul mates even though just a couple chapters ago I professed that my greatest love broke my heart and killed me so I should now try to kill him because “If I couldn’t have him, nobody could” (ARC 173). L-O-L. Freaking LOL. You’re 15 going on 16 going to jail if you were still alive. This was her first boyfriend.

I couldn’t connect to the love interests. They seemed more like good friends.

I didn’t understand her father’s infidelity. Maybe it’s because The Catastrophic History of You & Me is told through 1st POV and Brie is not the most astute character.

I couldn’t wrap my head around the mechanics of Heaven and being dead. (If there are extras to the novel, I hope they would include a couple of chapters from the D&G handbook.)

I did, however, like the dog. He rocked.

I liked the other characters that were dead. They had personalities.

Brie was not the only thing about The Catastrophic History of You & Me that has a connection to cheese; the entire novel was cheesy in the end.

Cover B-
Source: LibraryThing ER
Published: 2012, February 21; hardcover

Read more reviews:
Sophistikated Reviews's REVIEW


  1. YanYan <3

    I enjoy that dog picture. And this review. But, based on it, I'm not sure I'd like the book.

  2. "head, prepare for pain." Hahaha, that's hilarious! I like the title of this novel, but that's about the only thing that caught my attention. Looks like I'll be passing this up. Unless I come across it during finals week. Then, anything cheesy is the only thing I can read without my brain exploding.

  3. Bummer to hear that this one was such a let down. But honestly, I couldn't get on board with the plotline at all. Here's a girl who defines herself so much by the guy she's dating that losing him kills her? I'm not a fan of weak heroines, and it sounds like she spends the whole book fixated on how she was wronged, rather than growing stronger and working on her pain. So yeah, I'll be skipping this one, I think.

    Thanks for the honest review!


  4. I am three chapters in and I feel the exact same way. I thought the concept was brilliant. It had so much potential, but every single back story and little comment that Brie makes causes me to grit my teeth. It's going to be difficult to finish.