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The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Out of her friends, Brie was always the romantic. So maybe it makes a little sense that when her boyfriend tells her that he doesn’t love her, this breaks her heart. What Brie never expected was for this heartbreak to be so literal. Just shy of sixteen, Brie is now a new soul in forever, or just plain dead and gone. Disoriented and bewildered, Brie struggles to make sense of what happened to her and what is to become of her now, and it seems that the only person willing to help her figure everything out is Patrick, a resident Lost Soul who looks like he just stepped out of an ’80s flick. With Patrick’s help, Brie will have to learn to grieve and let go, forgive and move on, and maybe even find the courage to love again.

As with most novels about love and loss, I always approach novels pertaining to the afterlife with some degree of trepidation. However, The Catastrophic History of You and Me is the first book about the afterlife that I’ve read in a while, and I’m pleased to say that while Rothenberg’s version of life after death isn’t necessarily the most outstanding or original, the story surrounding it is certainly enjoyable. I would attribute this mostly to Brie’s extremely realistic voice; debut author Rothenberg imbues Brie with a perfect balance of romanticism, dramatics, confusion, and every other emotion imaginable that any dead sixteen-year-old would experience. This helps make an otherwise lengthy read pass by rather quickly, or at least until the really good plot twists towards the end of the novel. The Catastrophic History of You and Me is without a doubt a funny, romantic, and ultimately heartwarming read from a promising new author.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me will be enjoyed by fans of Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, and Earthly Pleasures by Karen Neches.

Rating: 4.0

Review copy from publisher Penguin

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