The Catastrophic History of You and Me

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

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Soon to be sixteen year old Aubrie “Brie” Eagan’s life was a charmed one. She had a parents she loved and a younger brother she adored. She has three best friends who she not only confided in, but considered sisters. She had Jacob, her adorable boyfriend who she loved more than anyone else.

But that was before. Before Jacob broke up with her. Before he told her that he didn’t love her anymore. Before Her heart stopped and split into two separate pieces. Before she died of a broken heart.

Now stuck in an afterlife known as Forever, Brie must find the strength to get through the five stages of grieving: denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and lastly acceptance.

With the help of lost soul Patrick, Brie relives memories she thought were lost forever. She seeks revenge on the people who have hurt her most. And before she knows it, she finds out that Forever isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Will Brie survive Forever? Or will she become a lost soul doomed to stay put in her own little slice of heaven?

Jess Rothenberg’s debut novel, The Catastrophic History of You and Me, is a too long tale of one girls afterlife.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me has an extremely catchy premise: girl dies of a broken heart – literally – sending her to an existence in an afterlife called Forever, to grieve. Unfortunately though, the book just did not live up to the jacket’s summary.

There were too many inconsistencies within the pages of this book that, as a reader, I found it to be unbelievable. For example, at one point it’s explained that Brie could never, ever go back to her old life to change the events that lead to her demise. Not ever, not even for one day. Yet at some point, that is exactly what happens. This made everything that happened in between those two points seem, well, pointless.

As a reader, I also took issue with the fact that this book was close to four hundred pages. It didn’t need to be. There were so many things going on that it actually bogged the storyline down. What should have been a fun, fast read turned out to be a tediously long one.

One thing that doesn’t bog down this book is its characters. Really, only main character Brie and angel sidekick Patrick dominate the pages of The Catastrophic History of You and Me. Brie, I found, often times to be whiny and down right annoying. I get exactly why she’s bitter – she’s sixteen and dead. But it’s not enough to excuse her self-absorbed behavior.

There is one character who I adored: Patrick. He is the shining light of the entire book. Patrick is a well crafted character who balances out self-absorbed Brie. Readers will find themselves swooning over Patrick. Not just because he’s described as a Top Gun Tom Cruise, but because he’s laugh out loud funny. In fact, it’s Patrick that makes readers think twice about Brie.

But here’s the thing about The Catastrophic History of You and Me: it was well written. Rothenberg’s writing is what really drives the story. It was Rothenberg’s writing that made me stick with Brie and the cast of characters featured within the pages. The Catastrophic History of You and Me is full of quick-witted comebacks, funny cheese-tastic nicknames, and ’80s music references that will have music fans singing along

I wanted to love Rothenberg’s The Catastrophic History of You and Me. I would have settled for simply liking it. But the reality is: there were way too many faults for me to ignore.

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