The Catastrophic History of You And Me

The Catastrophic History of You And Me

by Jess Rothenberg


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An addictively page-turning romance for fans of Before I Fall and The Fault in Our Stars

Brie is the “biggest, cheesiest, sappiest romantic” who believes that everyone will find their perfect someone. So when Jacob, the love of Brie's life, tells her he doesn't love her anymore, the news breaks her heart—literally. But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie revisits the living world to discover that her family has begun to unravel and her best friend has been keeping an intimate secret about her boyfriend. Somehow, Brie must handle all of this while navigating through the five steps of grief with the help of Patrick, her mysterious bomber-jacketed guide to the afterlife. But how is she supposed to face the Ever After with a broken heart and no one to call her own?

"The debut is a fast, twisty, highly dramatic read about the turbulent nature of love."—Romantic Times

"Rothenberg exploes what happens in the afterlife when you aren't quite done with your life."—San Francisco Chronicle

"The funniest, sweetest, most heartfelt, sigh-worthy and oh-so-romantic story I've ever read. You'll love it!"—Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Eternal and Blessed

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142423905
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 04/18/2013
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 627,483
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Jess Rothenberg grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, graduated from Vassar College, and spent most of her twenties editing books for teens and middle grade readers. She lives in Brooklyn, where she writes full-time, dances interpretively, and dreams of one day owning a sheepdog named Leo. The Catastrophic History of You and Me is her first novel. Visit her at

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Gorgeous, funny, and heartbreaking." —Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall

"Blend[s] humor, uncertainty, anger, and hope. In her debut novel, Rothenberg supplies readers with an imaginative and intriguing vision of what might happen after death." —School Library Journal

"Rothenberg blends genius in a fresh and heart-wrenching way." —Booklist

"This debut is a fast, twisty, highly dramatic read about the turbulent nature of love."—Romantic Times

"Rothenberg explores what happens in the afterlife when you aren't quite done with your life" —San Franscisco Chronicle

"The funniest, sweetest, most heartfeld, sigh-worth and oh-so romantic story I've ever read. You'll love it!" —Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Eternal and Blessed

Customer Reviews

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The Catastrophic History of You and Me 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
Brie is an amazing girl! She has a great boyfriend, she's driven and she is only 15 years old, but she suffers a broken heart at the hands of her boyfriend when he says four little words....I Don't Love You. Her heart literally breaks in two and she dies. What follows is how Brie deals with being D&G(Dead and Gone) and how she deals with leaving her family and friends and makes peace with all that happened. I love how the author weaves images of her past life into events in the hereafter and how her nightmares really were meaningful to her. I also loved how much music played a part int his book with a lot of song lyrics in the titles and stuff. I also liked how the stages of grief(denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, acceptance) really played a part as well. This is an amazing read and I highly recommend it!!
BookWhales More than 1 year ago
Brie has the perfect life every girl would ever dream of. A loving family, awesome BFF’s who’s always there for her, and a wonderful boyfriend. What more would you ask for? Well, everything changed on that one night, when her boyfriend, Jacob told her those four words: I DON’T LOVE YOU. Anyone who would’ve heard that will probably break her heart, but it’s different in Brie’s case, because her heart, LITERALLY broke, therefore causing her death. And that’s when the whole story starts… The Catastrophic History of You and Me was different from any novel I’ve read about life after death, in a good way of course. I really enjoyed reading this and I easily finished the novel in one sitting. It was highly addictive! Brie was a really fun heroine and I enjoyed reading her point of view. You get to feel the same way she’s feeling as you read. Anger, hurt, betrayal, these were the emotions that I kept on experiencing while reading and it’s as if my heart is also going to break in half. There were times that I cried from the pain, and the next thing I was already laughing! If my folks have seen me, they probably think I’m already nuts! Patrick is another interesting character who never fails to lighten the mood and give humor during the story, which made love him as well. One of the things I liked about this novel is the titles for every chapter wherein each was taken from the lyrics of various songs, e.g. “Hey, hey, you, you, I don’t like your girlfriend!”. Another thing was how the stages of grief—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness, and Acceptance— were incorporated as parts of the novel, which was really awesome! This way, you get to see Brie’s improvement as she tries to accept the fact that she’s already dead, and everything has changed a lot since her death. The twist was really awesome and as you near the end, you’ll know why the title is “The Catastrophic History of You and Me”. Over all, this book was a fun and light read. I loved the ending and I’m very satisfied with it. :D I give this book 4.5 whales.
Ashelynn_Hetland More than 1 year ago
Oh, man, The Catastrophic History of You & Me is breathtaking. <3 At first, I wasn&rsquo;t quite sure about it, but near the end, it gets SO DANG GOOD that I might&rsquo;ve reread it three times. IT&rsquo;S JUST SO GOOD. Let&rsquo;s look at the premise&mdash;that premise kills me every time. It&rsquo;s so fascinating, and the sweetest thing (or well, suckiest thing) is that Brie&rsquo;s heart actually splits in half; two perfect halves. So yeah, that&rsquo;s literally what happened to her heart. Brie herself is an interesting character. Some of the things she does seemed a bit odd and out of character, but I shrugged it off since this book was so addicting. I was hooked as soon as Brie met Patrick, who I just love. <3 I really liked the history behind those two characters&mdash;it was one of my favorite parts of the book, but I can&rsquo;t SAY since it&rsquo;s so spoilery. Dang IT. But it really made this book for me, so please read this book! Then talk to me about it because omg I want to talk about it to SOMEONE. Like I am *thisclose* to making my mom read the book just so I can talk about this event to somebody. The world-building is so unique; I don&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;ve read a heaven book this one before. And it&rsquo;s mostly set in a pizza place&hellip; and man, I wanted some pizza while reading this book. So of course I had to order some and eat it. *NOMNOM* This book is so addicting, especially in the middle when things come to light. I HAD to know what was going on! And I just have to say that I love this cover a lot more than the ARC&rsquo;s cover. If you&rsquo;re dying to read a heart-wrenching, totally interesting and twisty book, I highly suggest The Catastrophic History of You and Me. Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher.
alterlisa More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to get to read an ARC of TCHoY&amp;M and unfortunately it only last a day. Wow! Never have 400 pages gone by so fast! When I first started it I knew I was in for a treat, when Brie ends up in a Pizza parlor while waiting to move on. I had a few Beatlejuice moments when she was was handed the D&amp;G (Dead and Gone) handbook but this book is so totally unique that they were only flashes. I was constantly grabbing a tissue to blow my nose and wipe my eyes when only moments before I was laughing out loud. It was amazing at the range of emotions that Rothenberg took me through, much like the 5 stages of grief that Brie had to go through. The main characters, Brie and Patrick, were so very real and so likeable and one of my favorite things about the book was the music titles for each chapter. They really set the mood for each chapter and kind of gave you a hint of what was upcoming. And even though I don&rsquo;t listen to music while reading or writing, if I was to reread this book, I&rsquo;d likely set up the playlist in the background. It's a sad romantic story that will make you think about your life, family, friends, and loves. It&rsquo;s a story that as a 14 year old I&rsquo;d have stayed up all night reading and swore I was too sick to go to school the next day- &ldquo;see mom, my eyes are so red and swollen&rdquo;- just so I could finish it. As an adult, I simply stayed up all night and napped the next day. I look forward to reading more by this awesome author. Good job!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book and i picture all as buetiful people exept for larkin. And i hope there is a sequel......
ilikethesebooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book with a passion. Brie is hilarious, even when filled with grief. The story is extremely well written, and manages to take a rather morbid topic and turn it into something heartwarming, entertaining and joyous. This is Brie's story, of how she literally died of a broken heart. It takes progression through a series of emotional steps to finally see the whole truth. No matter what she does, how she tries to fix things or get revenge, there is that unyielding fact that she is still dead. Cute 80's boy Patrick is there to help her the whole way... but what if there is something more to their relationship? Yeah... that description doesn't give it near justice. This book is not just beautifully written, it is beautifully packaged and formatted. That may seem silly to say, but it makes a big difference. The book is split into parts based on the five stages of grief that Brie must evolve through and each chapter starts with a song title or lyrics that hold some truth in that chapter. Plus the cover: perfect. I liked it when I saw it, but it really fits the novel and that I really appreciate. All that needs to be said is: read it! Especially if you like contemporaries, because The Catastrophic History of You and Me is wonderful and unique - genius really.
_Lily_ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hardcover: 400 pagesPublisher: Dial (February 21, 2012)ISBN-10: 0803737203Author: Jess RothenbergCover art: I love it!Overall rating:***** out of 5 stars.Obtained: My personal book shelfThe Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess RothenbergReviewed by Moirae the fates book reviewsDying 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? (Synopsis provided by goodreads)I really liked this book. It was one of those books that made me cry several times while I was reading it. Getting to walk with Bree as she made her way through her grief was really interesting, there were times when I laughed there were times when I cried. This was an amazing book!I loved it. It had a twist that I figured out fairly early on but that didn't diminish what I felt about the book. It's a wonderful story and even if you are someone who never has had their heart broken, you can still feel empathy for the characters. The edition of Hamloaf (Bree's dog) was fantastic! I highly recommend this book.
skaohee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Catastrophic History of You and Me is every girl¿s worst nightmare. Brie is dating this awesome guy and they go out to dinner and ¿ BAM ¿ he tells her he doesn¿t love her. Next thing she knows, she¿s dead. That¿s right, she literally DIED of a broken heart. And her dad is a cardiologist so he starts digging into this notion that one can die of a broken heart. But Brie has to go through the stages of grief before she can ¿move on¿ to a better place.This book is definitely cute. It was lighthearted and fun while dealing with this theme of death. Brie sees how her various family members and friends handle her death and grieve for her loss. Everyone deals with her death in their own way and it was interesting to see how Brie, herself, dealt with her death. 16 is definitely too young to die ¿ I¿m sure everyone would agree with that statement.I was really enjoying this book up until about 80% of the way through the book. It took this weird turn that I was confused about. It made a good story and really came full circle for Brie¿s counterpart, Patrick, but I was confused on why/how the book got to that point. It¿s not that I didn¿t like it, it just seemed to come out of nowhere. If you¿ve read the book, tell her your thoughts in the comments.Definitely a solid debut and I really enjoyed Jess¿s writing. Looking forward to seeing what she comes out with next!
myheartheartsbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By Jess RothenbergDying 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?Review:To be honest I just didn¿t like this book. I just couldn¿t connect with the character, or what she had to go through. Mostly I just wanted to be finished with the book, because once I start a book, I usually try to finish it¿unless it just horrible. This book in my opinion is bad, but not horrible. Mainly Brie is just horrible. I understand that she just died, and it sucks to know that people are moving on without you, but she¿s selfish. She tries to hurt almost everyone in her life. However, my biggest issue with this that I feel like Rothenberg gets distracted from telling her story. It¿s all the side details, that make me violently dislike this novel. I don¿t understand how you can feel so violently in love that you actually die of a broken heart, then all of sudden you realize ¿oh, I didn¿t like that much, I just thought I did, but in reality we really should be friends¿ huh? I feel like Rothenberg brings in so many elements to this story, to try to make it more complex than it really is, or should be, and by the end she tries to force a happily ever after. The only way I¿d recommend this is you borrow it from a library, and you finished all your homework and read all other books you wanted to read, and you just had nothing ¿ I mean nothing, better to do.
poetrytoprose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In The Catastrophic History of You & Me, Brie dies from a broken heart at the tender age of fifteen. Dramatic? Yes, but Jess Rothenberg expanded this somewhat silly-sounding storyline into a heartfelt novel that tugged at my heart strings.¿I don¿t love you¿ are the words that bring Brie¿s life to a screeching halt. While this simple sentence could be damaging enough for anyone, for Brie it breaks her heart in two ¿ literally. The book follows Brie into the afterlife as she goes through the five stages of grief. There were certainly depressing parts throughout, and it was easy to feel the anger and loss that Brie went through, but Rothenberg also managed to infuse humor and charm. The chapter titles taken from songs (¿The Cheese Stands Alone¿, ¿I Was Walking With a Ghost¿ being examples) were a delight and Brie¿s relationship with Patrick, her guide in heaven, was wonderfully paced and developed.The book not only delved into Brie¿s personal mourning, but it also gave a look into the life of her loved ones following her death. The dynamic of her family was completely shaken up and I think Rothenberg was able to grasp the loneliness and isolation that many can feel after the loss of someone. In addition to that, Rothenberg touched on the ¿glue¿ that holds friends together. Brie¿s group of friends was absolutely loyal and I loved getting a look at their bond. Strong friendships are always a highlight for me in my reads and that was definitely present in this book. Finally, there¿s Jacob, the boy who broke Brie¿s heart. It was easy to grow fond of him as Brie thought back to their relationship, but just as easy to feel the rejection from his initial confession. Still, it was made clear that he, too, greatly suffered from Brie¿s death and that he carried so much guilt. Rothenberg didn¿t simplify any of the character¿s emotions and instead made all of them, and their relationships, fully layered.Overall, I found this to be a quirky, charming read that managed to capture the honesty of love, loss, forgiveness, and all the other gory bits of life (and death) and growing up. Jess Rothenberg offers a refreshing voice to the YA genre and I will definitely look forward to what she writes next!
hrose2931 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was not what I was expecting at all. I thought it was going to be a fluff book about a girl who died and would have to choose from going back to her life and her boyfriend who literally broke her heart or stay in heaven with an angel she fell in love with. Not so. Not at all.First, the fact that she died at 15 and her dad is a heart surgeon is catastrophic to him. He feels like he should have been able to save her. He beats himself up about it. Second, she died at the very moment when her boyfriend told her "I don't love you." When they autopsied her, her heart was actually split in two. So she wants revenge. Now, I can identify with that. Someone broke my heart around that age and I would have loved to have gotten revenge, but frankly he didn't care. Brie's revenge though is more like catastrophic. It's life changing. And her Angel, Patrick is with her trying to guide her from making these mistakes, but she is hell bent on wreaking havoc.She feels betrayed by a friend and wreaks havoc on her life as well. It's as if she's become a tornado of destruction. She's mean spirited and angry and can't be reasoned with.Patrick warns her that she has to go through the five stages of grief Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness and finally Acceptance. He's there to help her through those five stages. And yes, each stage is accurately portrayed. And part way through the story you start to wonder about Patrick's story. Very few clues are given about him. But you know, you just know he isn't her angel by accident. There are humorous times that lighten the rather heavy tone of the book. Patrick makes all kinds of cheese nicknames about Brie's name calling her Cheeto breath among many others. There is the first time they "fly" back to earth which is actually falling. But those times don't make up for the time she spends with Hambone, her Basset Hound who can actually see her. He follows her around and God was I crying. I am a sucker for animal involvement of any kind and my heart was breaking. So get the tissues out. There are plenty of times you'll need them.I think I would have rated this higher if I hadn't been expecting a fluff book. It was well written and the feelings were portrayed realistically. From her friends, to her brother to her father, they all showed their grief in different ways and I think that it is very true to life.The ending though was problematic. I didn't understand it. I had no idea what was going on. You'll have to read it and see if you understand it. I think the whole big drama could have been left out and just the misunderstanding could have been cleared up and it would have ended just fine.In the end it was a good book, It just didn't knock me out. I would recommend this for YA readers 14 and up. There is mention of losing your virginity, but it isn't graphic. I think someone going in not expecting a fluff book will enjoy this a lot more than I did. It did have some funny moments and some romance and some very dark moments. It really is good and I recommend that you read it.
readingdate on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book sold me with the quirky title and Lauren Oliver¿s blurb, and the afterlife premise about a girl who dies of a broken heart just sealed the deal. This funny / sad book has a lot to offer, from the music inspired chapter titles, cheese references inspired by the title character Brie, and a touch of the 80s with Brie¿s afterlife mentor, the leather-bomber-jacket-wearing-resident-lost-soul Patrick. This debut book takes you on a journey with character growth and emotional highs and lows perfect for those looking for an unconventional and satisfying story with heart.The story starts off with a bang as fifteen-year-old Brie learns that her boyfriend Jacob doesn¿t love her and then she promptly dies literally of a broken heart. Though it seems like a downer subject matter, there are lighthearted moments and humor throughout that keep the story from getting too heavy. The book is broken up into five parts signifying the five stages of grief as Brie struggles to adjust and accept her fate and afterlife.Brie is realistic in her portrayal of someone who has lost everything at such a young age. She had a loving family, lovable pet dog, and a group of best friends in addition to her boyfriend. Now she¿s struggling with how to move on and how to let go of her past. Along the way, Brie¿s approach shifts with each stage of grief. From being petty and vengeful in the Anger stage all the way through the Acceptance stage Brie¿s character grows and the story develops in surprising ways.The book is set in Brie¿s Afterlife, and in Northern California¿s Half Moon Bay and San Francisco. Brie, armed with the D&G (Dead and Gone) handbook and her afterlife guide Patrick, tests out her new paranormal powers as she wanders around. Through hometown visits and living as a ghost in San Francisco Brie¿s experiences feel heartbreakingly real as she learns more about the loved ones she left behind and some unexpected reveals.I found Brie¿s entire journey to be interesting but the part that I found the most redeeming and satisfying is the Sadness and Acceptance portion at the end where I found the payoff I was looking for. The twists and turns in the story make it unique and never boring. And the emotional love story is fresh and captivating. It reminded me more than once of Before I Fall, a book that deals with a similar theme, though different in tone. The music themed chapter titles lend a nice touch and match up nicely with the chapter themes. I also loved that the author includes a listing of all the songs at the end. Now all I need is a Spotify playlist to go with it.Recommended for fans of quirky and bittersweet plot centered books. I¿m eager to read more from this author.
usagijihen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
3.5/5 stars.This is a very charming little book. However, I was kind of let down by (SPOILER ALERT) the cliched battle of good versus evil in the afterlife that hits you in the last 3/4ths of the novel, and was hoping that Rothenburg was going to avoid this topic altogether in order to further her story. The result? I had fun reading it, though not as much fun as I wanted to. I can't tell you guys how disappointed I am with that. However, because Rothenburg handled the other bits of the book by using the five stages of grief (a very clever use of that list, by the way), I can't totally shoot down this book. There were some cheesy bits to this book (literally - Brie's cheese-name thing, purgatory being her favorite pizza shop, "A Little Slice of Heaven"), but it was a fresh look at Broken Heart Syndrome (it's real, guys, as my mother had a small case of it after my grandfather died six years ago) - the heart literally split down the middle as if a knife had cut it. Making her father retreat entirely into science after her death to find a solution to what killed his daughter was a great way to keep up the tension in the human world. I thought that Rothenburg could have gone into this a little more than she did, as it was such an interesting look at such a misunderstood (or in a lot of cases, not even known) syndrome. That's the geek side of me giving her props right there.However, I wasn't sure about the romance angle. Having Jacob dump Brie and then having her see her best friend turn to him with a seeming secret relationship seemed cliched, but it is realistic - when we're gone, our loved ones often will do things like this in order to cope. When Rothenburg brought up the possibility of suicide due to confused sexuality (I won't say who does this, you guys will have to read for yourselves) - well, I do appreciate the nod to the current American crisis of sexually confused/bullied youth suiciding, it felt like this was kind of thrown in at the last minute and while it made sense as to the entire main antagonist's arc as a whole, I wasn't sure if it was entirely needed. Or if it was, she could have gone about it in a less convoluted way. It felt a little like she was kind of trying to do too much, and touched on a very sensitive subject to me for no complete reason I could reckon. The ending, however, was completely original, and saved the entire book as a whole. I really enjoyed it, and won't say anything further, other than it's awesome and I didn't see it coming. The rest of the book, whenever there was a Big Reveal, I could see hints of it coming. But the end? Never saw it coming. Not one bit. It's tightly written, well paced, and the characters, while cliched at times in certain places, are well-rounded. I can't pick at anything there. I think that this will be very popular, and it was very well-written, but I guess, in the end, it wasn't entirely for me. Still, give "The Catastrophic History" a chance when it hits shelves next year. I think you'll enjoy what you'll find inside of it.(posted to librarything, goodreads, shelfari, and
TheBookLife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of my most wanted upcoming reads. I thought the story sounded beautiful and maybe a little mysterious. It was everything I wanted and nothing like I expected all at the same time. The story mostly shifts between present day Earth and a sort of inbetween, heaven-like place. I really liked Brie as the narrartor. She was angry and immature a lot of the time, but given her circumstances, that makes the story stronger. Regardless of how mean or childish she is behaving, she finds a friend in Patrick. Long time resident of the strange inbetween. Patrick was the best kind of male lead, because he was sweet and caring, but he didn't always bend to Brie and he even cracked jokes on her from time to time. I love the world Jess Rothenberg created for these characters. The slice of heaven that is a lot like home, but not quite, and with a lot of practice they can make it whatever they want it to be. It was fun to learn, with Brie, about what her new existence can really be. They had such great banter and were so much fun to read. I also enjoyed spying on her friends and family with her, and it definitely added an extra sense of longing to the story. She could watch and want to do or say things, but she couldn't really get involved and being helpless is a hard pill to swallow. I like stories that are set in the after of life, exploring various different possibilities of what it might be like, and how the here and there collide. This book was full of so much. There was love, sadness, heartbreak, betrayal and hope. All of them woven together so well, to tell Brie's amazing story and let you live in her world for just a little while. This is a world you will want to visit the first chance you get!
jazzcat15 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Catastrophic History of You and Me is one of those rare books that I instantly fell in love with after the first line. I read this: "There's always that one guy that gets a hold on you." and just like that I was hooked. This novel is a masterpiece and Jess Rothenberg seems to have a key to my very deepest thoughts, because everything about Brie I could relate to myself. Brie was so real and so alive (but, dead...) on the pages. She was everything I have been looking for in a protagonist. Funny, caring, sweet but with a dark side that's almost always hidden. Nothing could have prepared me for how much I adored this book. I was in English class one day, reading of course and honestly, the guy sitting next to me probably thought I was some emotional wreck.. This book will make you laugh and it will make you cry, all on the same page. Having a love for music will be a great thing while reading this story. At every chapter, with each new song for the title I would either be singing it in my head, or those rare ones that I didn't know I would look up and fall in love with. The music-chapters set such a great mood for this book!And of course, where would this review be if I did not talk about Patrick? The boy was hilarious and heart-broken. Absolutely gorgeous and what every teen girl hopes to find in their little slice of heaven when they die of a broken heart. His story is one of the biggest spoilers I can give to this review, so I'll just cut off here by saying that Patrick and Brie are officially on my list of all-time favorite characters. Plus, they're up there with Harry, Ron and Hermione. Wow, is all I can say. Despite the tears I shed over this book, it is definitely not a sad story. It has joy and hope and love and loss and everything else in between. I rarely cry while reading, but this one had me reaching for the tissues at some of the saddest parts, and the happiest. The Catastrophic History of You and Me was not like anything I was expecting, but it was so much better. The story is clearly over, but I am still yearning for more.If you have not yet read this book, I highly recommend that you do. Rothenberg made this quirky, magical and unforgettable world that I loved more than I can ever say!
katie.funk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Brie, a girl who died of a broken heart. But it's not a story of how she died, rather it is a tale of what (and who) awaited her in the afterlife. After her funeral, she is taken to a pizza place (?) where she meets Patrick. Patrick immediately (and sort of awkwardly) inserts himself into her life. From here the adventures really begin as Brie enters the many stages of grief--mourning both the loss of her relationship and her own death. From here the plot begins to twist and twist, sometimes in truly clever and surprising ways. As anyone familiar with the grieving process knows, eventually comes acceptance and Brie's own happily ever after.I really wanted to like this one--a blurb from Lauren Oliver, a fun cover, quirky premise, a little romance. What more could a girl ask for? But in the end it all felt a little forced for me (the cheese jokes, fitting everything into the stages of grief structure, the many plot twists, even the romance). This is a debut novel, and I hope the author continues to grow and evolve. There's plenty of potential here.
renkellym on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jess Rothenberg does a fantastic job of handling death: she adds some humor¿such as heaven being a pizza place¿but she never lets us forget that the situation is sad. The first few chapters, especially, are killer. There are times when you want to cry, but shortly after you¿re cracking a smile. Because this balance is so similar to the way we actually handle loss, Catastrophic History is completely believable, despite its ridiculous premise.Rothenberg¿s writing style is adorably quirky: Brie sounds just like a fifteen-year-old, complete with ¿OMG!¿s and silly name-calling. This really gives the book as a unique personality, and definitely makes it memorable. I wasn¿t the biggest fan of Rothenberg¿s style at first, but after getting used to it, I found it fun.Brie is one of those characters that all girls can relate to: if I had died of a broken heart, you better believe I¿d react the same way she did. She goes through all the stages of grief (the book is split up into parts), and while it¿s not always pretty, Brie acts real. Plus, she¿s quick with comebacks, which makes almost every page of dialogue humorous. (Although I must admit, at times her comebacks seemed a little too well-planned.) The supporting characters are great, too, and the surprises that they hold are always genuinely surprising (for lack of a better word).The Catastrophic History of You and Me is a cute contemporary read that touches upon the subjects of death and grief in a tactful and lovely way. The story sounds cheesy, but you¿ll find that Catastrophic History is more than it appears. I¿d definitely recommend this one to younger YA audiences because of Jess Rothenberg¿s writing style, but older readers will also enjoy Brie¿s story.
kimpiddington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved the opening of this book-unique perspective on broken hearts and death. Each chapter was the title of an 80's song (which was clever), while moving through the stages of grief helped to unify the different sections of the book. I cared about the protagonist-my only complaint is that in the end, everything was tied up in a neat little package-all wrongs were righted and everyone is left a little too happy and perfect.
Urbanfan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story starts right off in the head of the main character Brie. It¿s a bit like working backwards at first, then the reader catches up to where Brie is in her own story and we ride it out with her. Since I wasn¿t invested in the character yet, the first few chapters were not that interesting to me. Once the reader catches up to Brie and Patrick enters the picture, the book gets on a roll. The concept of the main character being dead and working her way through the stages of grief sounds depressing. However, this book is anything but. Each stage of grief brings about new revelations for Brie. Even though this is a fiction book, the events that unfold reminded me people¿s lives are not always what we think they are. Everyone has secrets or things they didn¿t know. Brie gets to see these hidden things from her life in the afterlife. All these things you think lead her to accept she¿s dead. But that¿s not the end goal. The book takes a twist that makes this book a much more romantic read than I originally expected. The two main characters, Brie and Patrick, end up quite likable. At first, Brie acts like the teenager she is, but by the end of the book I quite liked her. Patrick is a great guide in the afterlife and helps Brie through her stages of grief. There are complications in the story that add to the intrigue of what is really going on in Brie¿s former life and current afterlife. Rothenberg does a nice job of interweaving these two aspects carrying the reader to the same conclusion Brie eventually comes to. The ending wraps up well except I do have one nagging thought. Brie does something in the end that leaves me to question her and Patrick¿s `status¿. This is a stand alone novel, so my main complaint is that not all was firmly explained to my satisfaction. In a stand alone I don¿t like being left with any questions. Other than that, I enjoyed the book.
thehidingspot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was not at all prepared for how much I would love The Catastrophic History of You and Me. It was the title that lured me in: having had a horrible year of failed relationships, I was feeling pretty catastrophic myself. At least I hadn't literally died of a broken heart, like the novel's main character. I supposed her tale would prove to be an interesting distraction. I didn't realize just how much I'd come to love this novel and I'm still surprised, two months after having read it, how present it is in my thoughts.There's something about this book that reminds me of the movie Susie Q - which is a very good thing as I was mildly (read: extremely) obsessed with that movie back in the day. In fact, just thinking of it now makes me want to watch it again... and use the phrase "jeepers." I think it was the combination of ghosts and romance and Brie keeping a watchful eye over her family that caused the connection in my mind, but it put me in a nostalgic mindset that caused a deeper emotional response to the novel.My absolute favorite part of The Catastrophic History of You and Me was the incorporation of the five stages of grief. I've always been a bit of a psychology nerd and find myself applying these stages to various aspects of my life - you'd be surprised how often we cycle through them in response to the most mundane events to the most life shattering. Following Brie's journey through the stages showcased her growth from the beginning to the end of the novel beautifully.I loved the various settings throughout the novel, especially the pizza place that where Brie, Patrick, and the other Lost Souls spend quite a bit of time, eating pizza and, for the most part, waiting. It's such a quirky little place... and not what I expected any aspect of "the other side" to look like, though, at the same time, I've never really given much thought to what "the other side" would be. Rothenberg takes an most improbable event, which could easily become silly and immature, and gives it a sense of timelessness and realism. It was done so seamlessly that I'm still not entirely sure how she pulled it off, but I won't be spending any time trying to figure it out... with something this wonderful, ignorance is bliss.
idroskicinia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I saw for first time this book, I thought for a moment that it would be something similar to Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. In some aspect I was right, but not completely. This book, although is about a girl who just died and talks about family problems and friendship, it's completely different. Brie is like any other girl. She has normal problems, she has a family that loves her, good friends and a really good-looking boyfriend. But her life ends when her boyfriend tells her that he doesn't love her, and then, she dies, of broken heart. Yes, two parts. Now Brie is watching her life from another point of view. She is not there anymore. She is dead, and now she will watch her family and friends suffering, but she will find and discover some painful truths. Her life wasn't so perfect at all. I must say that this book is heartbreaking from the beginning to the end. It's a sad story that will make readers think about their lives, their families, friends, and all the people that they love, and of course, it will make some of them cry.The way the story is told is really good. The author makes you feel what Brie is feeling, and understand why she do what she does. Even though I felt sometimes that the story was going anywhere (That there were any development), it was impossible to me to stop reading until I reached the end. The ending was a little bit predictable, and maybe too fast. I think the author took too much time talking about feelings and that kind of thing, instead of focusing in events and developing the story. But of course, you won't read about a ghost and a ghost-hunter, or anything paranormal like that with a lot of action and a happy ending. This book focus in real life issues. And I think that is what it makes it so special. The characters are really nice. I really liked Brie, she is a complicated character. She did a few things that I didn't enjoy at all, but I understood why she behaved the way she did, and I think this is the most important thing. Patrick was really nice, but I would have liked that he had more participation in the story. The supporting characters were good and their participation was good enough.Something that I really liked about this book is that it has a soundtrack. Yes, a soundtrack! Although music is not the principal topic, or an important topic of the story, the author uses a lot of songs in the book, like for example, as a chapter title, or a simple phrase that Brie says. At the end we will find a list of the songs, that I highly recommend to listen to, because they will help us to transport to the world Jess Rothenberg has created. I read a few comments about the songs (they are from the 80s). Some people criticized that the songs were from the 80s and not modern. They believed that a teenager now doesn't know those type of songs, and I can't disagree more. I'm young, I'm a young adult and I love all kind of music, and I have in my Ipod hundreds of music from the 80s, so why not Brie?The only thing I can do is recommend this book to everybody who likes this kind of books and those who read Before I Fall and enjoyed it. You won't be disappointed. Happy Reading!
haharissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book, it was a really nice break from the Nicomachean Ethics, which I've been reading in my English class. My problem with this book is that I felt like the pacing was weird, which was, I think, intentional (showing how time flies when you're dead), but it left me feeling disconnected from the characters. The romantic part of the book was kind of hard to get into, because even though technically a lot of time has gone by in the book, you haven't actually been a part of all of that time, so it's hard to see where the emotional connection between characters is coming from. I also felt like the ending happened too abruptly, and ended too happily. Literally everything was fixed by the end. It made me mad that Brie didn't have to deal with any of the consequences of the things she did while she was dead, because the ending fixed everything with a weird time-warpy type of thing. I also felt like the end wasn't explained well enough; while it's easy to understand the general idea of WHAT happened, you don't really know HOW/WHY it happened. I did really enjoy the voice of the novel though, and I also liked the idea (dying of a broken heart? I haven't read anything like this before :) ). Overall, this was a quick, enjoyable read, and I just wish the ending had been better explained and less happy/more bittersweet.
molliekay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Whoever said that a broken heart wouldn't kill you, did not know Brie. When her boyfriend admitted on their date that he didn't love her anymore, Brie ceased to exist on this earth, and moved to a new one. Now Patrick, the resident lost soul, is supposed to guide her through her adjustment period. Can she learn to let go of the life she had and start a new one?This book delves into the eternal question: is there life after death? Rothenburg does a great job of answering it while forcing us to look at what grief can do to a family. Be warned; it's a tearjerker, but one that is worth every tissue.
megtall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Let me start by saying that this book, for me, started very slow. I had trouble getting into it, until about 70 pages in. But, after that, I read the entire thing in 1 day. The last third of the book was incredible. The journey the Brie took was compelling. You learn so much about her and who she "really" is. I loved it. Her transformation and her story are fascinating. I loved the many different elements brought in, including how her death impacted her family and friends, how desperate she was, and how she tried to fix things for everyone. At times, I was so mad at her for being so selfish and angry, but her story kept me going. I am just so thankful that I had the opportunity to try out an excellent new novel that is outside my typical genres. I will absolutely be recommending this book to a lot of patrons. I have several in mind already!
librarian_k on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Catastrophic History of You & Me is a book about heartbreak -- literally. For everyone who felt like they could die of a broken heart, the narrator of this book is proof that it really can happen. It's a concept that teens can definitely relate to. Brie died from a broken heart and in the afterlife, decides to get revenge on her boyfriend, who caused her death. We get the story from Brie's perspective but also see how her death affects her friends and family. Recommended for teens (probably girls).