OPINION: 4 STARS
With an interesting concept that is woven together in a great way, The Catastrophic History of You and Me puts a new twist on life after death and navigating the territory. Very realistic in feeling overall, despite the fact that the main character is dead, this is a book that will appeal to both contemporary and supernatural fans. Adding to the depth this book holds is the way Rothenberg incorporates the five stages of grief, with Brie going through each one yet not always in the most obvious of ways.
Brie was an interesting character, one who goes through a tremendous amount of growth and development. Though bratty at times, she also has moments of clarity, bravery, and selflessness that will twist readers and do a number even on herself. Definitely a character that is easy to root for, and someone who readers will mourn the fact that she's dead, Brie has a certain endearing element to her that helps drive the book forward.
Small overall in cast, the other important character is Patrick, a guy who is rather cheesy and bordering on lame, yet charming and sweet as well. Garnering several eye rolls throughout the book, but having a very memorable nature and role, Patrick serves not only as a guide but a potential love interest for Brie as well. The feelings between them had a constant sweetness underlying the frustration and forced distaste that was there, and Rothenberg does a marvelous job of building the romance into the bigger picture.
Smoothly written, and done in a way that makes readers feel everything Brie does, Rothenberg's debut is both memorable and poignant. Though there is a small level of predictability with this one, there are still a few shocking and unexpected twists that pull it through and keep readers engaged and gripped. Very centered on Brie and what she's going through, yet pulled back enough to give readers a bigger picture idea as well, The Catastrophic History of You and Me is a great debut and a fun read.
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publication Date: February 21, 2012