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: jayclarkbooks.com. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.
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