Monday, March 9, 2015

Title: Finding Mr. Brightside
Author: Jay Clark
Series: n/a
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Abram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other—at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak.

Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a few months later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite her to Taco Bell. To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins.

Finding Mr. Brightside was equal parts charming and quirky, hopeful and cute. The premise for this story definitely caught my interest, turning a tragedy -- not to mention scandal -- like that into a story of young love, but I appreciate that it didn't focus just on the romantic aspect. Because to me, the focus is more about these two coping with the accident that tore both of their families apart and how they help each other move beyond it.

I felt like Abram and Juliette had already been on the path to each other before they ever spoke in that CVS. Them falling in love was secondary; they needed each other's guidance more. Abram and Juliette tended to both live inside their heads a lot, either over thinking or creating false scenarios in their heads. I tend to do this myself -- both of those -- and so I kind of favor characters who do the same. It helps me to connect to them if I can understand how they think and what's going through their heads. Watching as Juliette helped Abram find alternate ways of dealing with his grief and vice versa, seeing how they each knew just when to back off and how it ultimately helped them, was gratifying.

And yes, seeing them get over their coping mechanisms and find solace in one another left me with a different kind of satisfaction. Though sharing in the same grief, each character had their own distinct voice in this story. Abram is a little happy-go-lucky while Juliette is snarky and sarcastic, and yet they just mesh so well, even when it's kind of awkward in the beginning. There was never the bitter sting of rejection or a lack of communication to keep them from coming together. Actually, I think my favorite aspect was just how open the lines of communication were between these two.

Under the circumstances, I expected a ton of angst and blame and anger, but instead, Finding Mr. Brightside is an optimistic tale full of growth and hope, and it was an all-around pleasure to read. I'll definitely be looking forward to more from this author.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Jay Clark is the author of Finding Mr. Brightside, which author Jerry Spinelli (Stargirl) calls “one of my favorite YA books ever,” and The Edumacation of Jay Baker, which Booklist praised in a starred review: “The magic lies in the telling." When he isn’t writing, Jay enjoys thinking seriously about getting a golden retriever puppy but then having second thoughts about it, playing tennis as if something important is at stake, and complaining about his monthly Starbucks expenses when they’re fully within his control. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Find Jay:

Website | TwitterGoodreads


  1. Wow. I was expecting an angsty novel as well, but I love tales of optimism. I'm not entirely sold on the idea of the two getting together after their parents dated, but I suppose the author made it work? The cover reminds me of The Statistical Probability, etc etc, though.

  2. Oh, this sounds like the movie Jennifer Lawrence was in, "The Burning Plain". It also kind of started with their parents having an affair and ended up dying in a burned trailer, then the teens (Jlaw and this hispanic boy) start to fall in love but their families are like against the whole thing and they run away then they end up separating or something then they meet again as adults, this time as Charlize Theron and an older actor for the guy. :D

    I'm assuming this is less angsty than the movie since this is a YA romance. Great review!

    Old follower hopping through!

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads


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