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The Catastrophic History of You and Me
     

The Catastrophic History of You and Me

4.5 24
by Jess Rothenberg
 

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An addictively page-turning debut 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,

Overview

An addictively page-turning debut 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, and she dies. 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?

“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 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

 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Brie's boyfriend, Jacob, dumps her, the 15-year-old girl literally dies of a broken heart. She's left floating above her family and friends, attempting to piece together the fragments of her brief life and how it all came to an end with the four devastating words, "I don't love you." With the help of Patrick, a cute and funny boy who died in the 1980s, Brie passes through the stages of grief. Along the way, she witnesses the people she loved mourn her (including her cardiac surgeon father, who frantically searches for a logical explanation for her death), revisits episodes from her past, and exacts ghostly revenge on her ex. Secondary characters can be slight, and elements of Rothenberg's premise are derivative of other titles featuring deceased teens in limbo. However, thanks to Brie's fresh and poignant narration, this first novel brings a welcome touch of irreverence to the larger themes of death, heartbreak, and forgiveness as Brie learns that sometimes there really are second chances. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Feb.)
Lauren Oliver
"Inventive, gorgeous, funny and yes...heartbreaking. You will absolutely love this book."
From the Publisher
"Inventive, gorgeous, funny and yes...heartbreaking. You will absolutely love this book." - Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall

"Weaving significant contemporary issues into a romance flecked with humor, Rothenberg blends genres in a fresh and heartwrenching way. With echoes of Thornton Wilder's Our Town and Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall (2010), this is an emotional and thoughtful first novel with a twist." - Booklist

"carries readers to a complex afterlife full of surprises and challenges. In her debut novel, Rothenberg supplies readers with an imaginative and intriguing vision of what might happen after death." - School Library Journal

"Peppered with slang and pop culture references, Brie's voice is utterly adolescent, and her lively, flirtatious banter with Patrick...rivals that of any blockbuster rom-com." - BCCB

"This author has created a complex and intriguing story built around the afterlife. This is a good choice for fans of Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin or teens looking to get lost in a longer book." - VOYA

Booklist
"Weaving significant contemporary issues into a romance flecked with humor, Rothenberg blends genres in a fresh and heartwrenching way. With echoes of Thornton Wilder's Our Town and Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall (2010), this is an emotional and thoughtful first novel with a twist."
BCCB
"Peppered with slang and pop culture references, Brie's voice is utterly adolescent, and her lively, flirtatious banter with Patrick...rivals that of any blockbuster rom-com."
Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
When Brie's boyfriend of eleven months tells her that he doesn't love her, it breaks her heart. Literally. Now that she's officially dead and gone, she has to try to make sense of love and life before she can move on. With the help of Patrick, Brie's new guide and resident Lost Soul, she will learn how to navigate the strange new world of the dead. Patrick teaches her how to zoom from place to place in the blink of an eye, how to go back to visit those she left behind in the real world, and even how to move objects. In her visits with her loved ones, Brie discovers that she didn't really know her family, her friends, or even herself as well as she thought she did. Rothenberg gives us a story that is both sweet and sentimental, a heartbreaking yet hilarious look at the grieving process from the other side of the grave. As she moves through the five classic steps of the grieving process, Brie discovers that learning to live again isn't just for those who have been left behind. This book is a fun and thought-provoking read for anyone who has ever loved and lost. Reviewer: Veronica Bartles
ALAN Review - Diana Liu
Sometimes love hurts, but is it really possible to die from a broken heart? As Brie Eagan is about to discover, the answer is yes. When her boyfriend breaks up with her, her life ends with the literal splitting of her heart. Soon, she finds herself in heaven where she meets Patrick, a funny but mysterious boy who helps guide her through the five stages of grief. As she makes her way from denial to acceptance, Brie not only receives a crash course in all things related to the afterlife, but also lessons in life and love. In her novel, The Catastrophic History of You & Me, Jess Rothenberg weaves together a creative and funny story about a girl who must pick up the broken pieces of her heart and learn to love again. Reviewer: Diana Liu
VOYA - Stacey Hayman
Just weeks away from turning sixteen, Aubrie Egan died from a broken heart. On a date with her boyfriend, Jacob, Brie's heart literally, proven by X-ray, broke in half when he told her, "I don't love you." Death was only the end of her life, not her journey. Arriving at an afterlife version of The Slice, her family's favorite pizza parlor, and finding a few other kids hanging out watching favorite memories like movies and eating favorite foods while wasting time before moving on, Brie is befriended by cute dead boy Patrick. He is helping Brie work through the seven stages of grief at her own passing, but there is more to his story than he is willing to share. If Brie were not so distracted by watching her family and friends fall apart, sometimes assisted by an angry dead girl, she might discover the truth of what Patrick's been hiding. This author has created a complex and intriguing story built around the afterlife. At times the description of the how, why, and what-ifs of this other world can begin to overwhelm the emotional developments in the story. The characters are likable and relatable, with nice touches of humor to keep the story from getting too dark. There are good surprises in store, for both the reader and for Brie, but the length of the book could have been trimmed to deliver a less muddled "be true to yourself" message and a bigger one-two punch at the end. This is a good choice for fans of Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005/VOYA October 2005) or teens looking to get lost in a longer book. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Shortly before her 16th birthday, Brie Eagan dies of a broken heart (literally) when her boyfriend, Jacob, tells her that he doesn't love her. What happens after her death, as narrated by Brie, carries readers to a complex afterlife full of surprises and challenges. At the Little Slice of Heaven pizzeria, aka "Forever," she meets charming Patrick, who gives her a handbook offering advice for dealing with eternity. Although Brie largely ignores the guide, she can't escape passing through the messy stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance) as she returns to view her family and friends. When she learns that Jacob lied to her, she's determined to get revenge for what she originally interprets as his betrayal despite feeling powerless to set things right. Fortunately, she does figure out her relationship with Patrick in time to save him from spending eternity as a lost soul. Brie's recollections of life on Earth and her reactions to her new reality blend humor, uncertainty, anger, and hope. While travels through various regions of the afterlife are intriguing, the book's more valuable insights concern how people misinterpret the motives, actions, and emotions of others. In her debut novel, Rothenberg supplies readers with an imaginative and intriguing vision of what might happen after death.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Kirkus Reviews
When Brie's heart literally breaks, killing her, she must go through the five stages of grief before moving on in the afterlife. Brie leaves behind a loving family, three best friends and a first boyfriend whose declaration that he didn't love her caused the bizarre heart event that offed her. Under the guidance of the annoying-but-hot Patrick, she explores the afterlife, haunts her ex-boyfriend and works her way through the D&G Handbook (D&G stands for "dead and gone"). It's Patrick who tells her that her first task in the afterlife is to work through those five classic stages: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance. Brie is a likable-enough narrator, when she's not being vengeful. But Rothenberg's afterlife is irritatingly undefined for one that comes complete with a handbook. Rules seem to be applied more for narrative convenience than any adherence to complete concept, and the twist that drives the climax, while satisfying in an It's A Wonderful Life kind of way, comes out of nowhere. Moreover, her progress through the stages of grief becomes muddied by her continued interactions with the living world. Yes, she's angry, but it's hard to tell whether she's angry at dying or at her ex-boyfriend. Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere (2005) stands out as far better treatment of a similar concept. Interesting idea, not-so-great execution. (Fiction. 13 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803737204
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
02/21/2012
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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Meet 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 jessrothenberg.com

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The Catastrophic History of You and Me 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 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......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't like reading at all but this book made me LOVE it so much now!! Please read this book ASAP and have it become your all time favorite !!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book on a couple of parts in the story brought me to tears. This book is heartfelt and humorus i very much liked this book.
julava More than 1 year ago
 I absolutely loved this book. Because I am not a writer myself, my review will be short and sweet. I completely identified with this book with the music choices of chapter titles, feeling like it was the soundtrack of my life. Even though I am in my mid-thirties, I didn't know this was a young adult selection when I picked it up but I truly feel it is appropriate for that age and not-so-old adults such as myself. It was a truly beautiful story with amazing character expansion and a wonderful storyline. It is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. After reading it, I wrote to the author to tell her how much I adored her book and received an e-mail back from her. That sort of personal attention makes the book even better. I usually pass on books to my two younger sisters but they can't have this one. They have to buy their own copies because I am keeping this one for myself. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was 100% heartbreaking . This book is up there with the hunger games and divergent. WOW !!!!! I love Patrick he was so cute . I was amazing how much love he had in his heart . He was sweet funny and lost . Brie was beautiful and a beautifuly devolped charactor. She was hurt and took it out the worng way only to find out that she was upset for all the wrong reasons . Jack was so sad . Jacob was was the one who was hiding something . He was really hurt himslef alot. This book desevers 100000000 out of 5 stars .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is abosolutely by far the BEST book i have ever read ever! I think i will have to read it again! After reading it its like i have an ache to read more becuse it was soo good. You have to read this book. IT IS A MUST READ! It was very touching and captures a teens life perfectly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites for sure! The copy I bought had a much different (and better imho) cover, so thats definitely one of the things that drew me in. But this is probably one of my favorite books! I loved all the characters (even when I didn't....lol if you read the book you will know what I mean) andhow developed all of their great plotlines were. Not joking; READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!
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I love this book is so cute sad and something ever girl wants there life to be well except the dieing part. To me i would love to find the right one where ever he is
Yippers01 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!!!! It was the first time I have cried over a story in a long, long time. Usually I start a book as soon as I finish one, but I wanted to savor the story long after I have read it. Love, love, love this book.
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I really love the book and it was well written
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Bookishluv More than 1 year ago
The story itself is not what I thought it would be, I had the notion that it was going to be a quick light read when in reality it was a very sad and at times almost depressing read mixed in with humor, except I didn't find myself laughing at the things that were supposed to be funny. The one thing that annoyed me the most was all the cheese references to her name... it gets old after the third time. I did like Brie's love for the 80's music at first I thought wow that is a rarity for a teenager of today's generation to love music from that decade but at the same time it's pretty cool and it made more sense after learning there is a perfectly good reason why she loves it so much. I wish I got to know more of Patrick but I didn't learn much about him until the last few chapters. And even though I found him slightly annoying for most of the book it's those last few chapters that helped me actually grow to like him. The part of the story which I really enjoyed reading about was Brie's family and friends and how they were dealing with her death. There was a lot of heartbreak, misunderstandings and even betrayal. Overall I'm still not sure how I feel about this book, there were moments when I thoroughly enjoyed it and a few times I caught myself skimming a paragraph here and there.