Thursday, March 12, 2015

Early Review: Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark + Giveaway

Blog tour organized by Mac Teen Books
Find the full schedule HERE

I'm thrilled to be able to share my thoughts on Finding Mr. Brightside for the blog tour. 
I like that this book is a little quirky, insular and not your typical love story. Abram and Juliette are a bit of a mess when this story begins, but they immediately endeared themselves to me. 

Finding Mr. Brightside
by Jay Clark
Read: October 25 - 28, 2014
Published: March 24, 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: ARC from publisher (TY, Macmillan)
Tags: YA, Contemporary, high school, romance 

Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository 

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 is both amusing and tragic, but also extremely hopeful. It is a rather quiet and insular story that doesn't apologize about focusing directly on Abram and Juliette. Besides their parents, I can only recall 5 other named characters. This is very much a book about two people who begin to heal through their connection - because of the way they're able to understand each other's pasts, and also because of the way they naturally compliment and contrast each other. The minimalist method the author chose to tell Abram and Juliette's story, made the entire experience feel more intimate and approachable. Wonder of wonders, this is also low on drama.

Abram and Juliette are not friends, although they have a great deal in common. They live on the same street, are in the same grade at school, and each has a parent who died in a car accident last year. Of course that last part isn't really a coincidence, as Juliette's mom and Abram's dad were in the same vehicle due to the affair they were having. Unsurprisingly, neither Abram or Juliette is coping that well. They've also been avoiding each other, though they realize they can't do that forever - more to Juliette's dismay than Abram's. One night when they are both at CVS filling their respective anxiety/depression/etc. medications, Abram ask Juliette to go to Taco Bell with him, and she agrees, which surprises both of them.

This is truly one of the best dual perspective novels I've read. I thought the story was better for allowing us in both of their heads, and I truly enjoyed being inside of both of their heads. Abram and Juliette have distinct voices and strong characterization. Even though this book is brief and takes place over the relatively short period of time of several weeks - to a few months - and focuses mostly on their interactions with each other, I felt like I got to know both of them very well. Who they were individually, as well as why they connected so well as a couple. They are very different but are also exactly what each other needs. This book isn't focused on creating huge swoony moments. But as I watched Juliette and Abram wake up and rediscover themselves, and as I saw more and more clearly how well they work as a couple, I was swooning for them, big time.

I do think my own expectations worked against me a bit near the end of this story. I always expect contemporaries to have the same basic plot, with a big break and lots of drama at the 75% mark. This book didn't do that, but I spent unnecessary time worrying that it would, which pulled me out of the story. I wish I'd let go of my fears and just enjoyed the whole journey. Don't make the mistake I did!

I hope you enjoy Abram and Juliette's story as much as I did.

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


About the Author

Jay Clark is the author of The Edumacation of Jay Baker, which was named a Bank Street College Best Book. He’s also a random blogger. Surprisingly popular entries like “How to stop hating people in 21 minutes” and “8 tips for posting your best selfie yet!” can be found on his website: He lives in Columbus, Ohio.



Win a finished copy of Finding Mr. Brightside

Giveaway is for US and Canada residents only (Sorry, international readers!)
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
See my policies HERE


  1. I can't wait for this one! I love reading your reviews! It's very easy to read and makes me want to read this book even more!

  2. I love dual perspective novels, so I am thrilled to hear that this one was so good.

  3. Lovely review! This is one that I probably would have shied away from, fearing that it would be formulaic. However, your review has convinced me. Drama free? No rom com plot? Well-written dual perspective? Sign me up, please. I also like the idea of not focusing on huge swoony moments. Too often, they feel forced. It's those little, unexpected moments that always get to me.

    Sarcasm & Lemons

  4. Goorgeous review Lauren. <3 I'm so happy you mostly loved this book :D It looks so cute. And omg, it doesn't have that drama part? Yessss. I love books that skip the drama, hah :D Still not a book for me, but one day, I hope. <3 It looks really awesome. I'm so glad you liked it :) Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

  5. This sounds quite unique, as far as romance plot lines go, and I always love a really well-written dual narrative. Plus, I'm really glad to hear this doesn't follow the same standard romance drama so I'll be adding this to my TBR without hesitation! Thanks for putting this on my radar, Lauren--these kinds of quiet, insular romances are the ones I love best.

  6. Great review. This sounds like a very touching and different romance story. I would love to read it. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  7. You have me intrigued by the fact that this doesn't follow the typical contemporary formula! It sounds like a sweet read (: And yay to no love triangle! Thanks for the review!

  8. I was a little on the fence about this one, but after reading your review, I think I'm definitely going to read it. Sounds a little issuey, but I like the lack of drama and the fact that it doesn't do the obligatory break up toward the end is a positive. Great review! ~Pam

  9. As much as I love contemporaries, I'm glad this one is changing it up a bit. I cannot wait to read Finding Mr. Brightside! Even though it makes me sing The Killers all day long! :)

  10. I've heard great things about this book! In high school, I mostly read books by simplistic authors and I'm excited to read some more. It's incredibly difficult to achieve but when done right, it's SO AMAZING. Super excited.

  11. This one intrigues me, I'm definitely interested in the story!

  12. I love anything with a multiple point of view and am so happy to see that you think this one was well done :) Your review basically sums up much of what I had hoped for in this book. Thank you so much for the chance to win!

    Rafflecopter: Elizabeth Holme


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