February 2nd 2012
Puffin books/ Razorbill (UK)
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 in heaven, 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 knows 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's been D&G (dead and gone) much longer than she? and 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?
This book really took me by surprise. I knew that I would like it, but I was fully prepared for it to be one of those afterlife novels where the protag is just sort of looking back on his/her life and it's good but kind of pretentious and doesn't really have a plot and is just realisations about their life and what not. And for a bit it was just a girl looking back on her life, but then, guys, a plot started happening. Like a bonafide, actual, twisty, awesome plot. I KNOW.
I really liked Brie and Patrick (though the cheese jokes got real old real fast), and I really enjoyed learning more about them, especially Patrick as we didn't really find out anything as to how he'd ended up D&G until like, the last 100 pages. I thought that Brie was really real, and that the stages of grief were done pretty subtly, which impressed me. Because when I see that a book is set out into parts based on the stages of grief I kind of think that it means that the character is just going to go from one to the next without any real basis for it, you know? But it was done really seamlessly and worked perfectly with the book.
Another one of my favourite things, and I know this is kind of insignificant, but I loved the chapter titles! They were all lyrics from different songs (most of them being 80's songs) and they fit really well with all of the chapters and the themes of the different parts and it was just a really nice touch.
This is the first book I've read in a while (bar Sherlock Holmes stories) that I've read in a while that has actually taken me by surprise a bit. I kind of saw some of coming because of the title, but a lot of it did surprise me and I really liked it. I like how it made you think it was one kind of book and it ended up being kind of different from how you thought it would be. Which now that I write it down sounds kind of stupid, but you get my point.
So, yeah. The Catastrophic History of You and Me is a book that I really ended up enjoying for reasons completely different to how I thought I would enjoy, and I really liked it for that. Totally worth picking up if you want a book that will make you laugh quite a lot and maybe cry a little bit too. (C'mon, it's a book about dead people. Of COURSE it's going to be a little bit sad.)