Review: Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

Review: Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

Review: Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark
Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

Genres: Young Adult
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: March 24th 2015
Pages: 224
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Synopsis:

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.

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Review

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I swear I was going to give this book fours stars. From the moment I started reading, I just knew this was going to be a four star (or four roses if you are reading this review on my blog) book. I still felt like this was a four star read 80% into the book, but then a funny thing happened. I realized there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about the book so why the heck was I going to give it four stars? This is a five star book if I ever read one!

Actually, I didn’t feel like I was reading a book at all. I felt like I was listening to two friends recount the story of how they met and fell in love. There are some real life problems that are tackled in this story, but somehow, it was never depressing or sad.


Abram and Juliette have an unconventional “how we met” story. Both Abram’s dad and Juliette’s mom died about a year ago, but that’s not all Abram and Juliette have in common. You see, their parents died at the same time because they were in a car together when it crashed. And they were in this car together because they were having an affair.

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And yet, that is still not all that Abram and Juliette have in common. They are both addicted to prescription drugs, they live a few houses down from each other in the same small town, and they both take very good care of their surviving parent.

I know all that sounds very dark and a little disturbing, but I guarantee you it isn’t. This book was beyond cute!

Juliette thinks of herself as this harsh–for lack of a better word–bitchy young woman, but in reality, she has a very big heart and is just afraid she will hurt other people if she lets them get too close to her. Luckily, Abram understands this about her immediately  and figures out how to help her lower her guard.

I really liked that both Abram and Juliette had their weaknesses and strengths. This wasn’t a book where one character is perfect and the other one is a mess. Juliette does all sorts of cute little things to help Abram, and he does the same for her. They both try to help each other lessen their dependency  on their prescription drugs so they can experience life without a filter. They didn’t change each other they just tried to make things better.

Abram and Juliette have known each other for a long time, but their friendship doesn’t begin until they run into each other at the local CVS. Abram invites her to Taco Bell, and the next thing you know, they are spending almost all of their free time together. Their relationship wasn’t easy, but it was effortless. They mad sure to be honest and open with each other, and they worked hard to keep things healthy. This is the type of adult relationship I am always looking for in books. It is proof that a couple doesn’t have to play games, lie to each other, or fight constantly in order to be interesting. Both of these people were screwed up, but in some ways, everyone is screwed up. You don’t have to fix everything about your life in order to be ready for love.

Yes, both Abram and Juliette had some issues to work through. They are about to graduate high school and need to figure out what is next, they were both addicted to prescription drugs, and neither of them had really dealt with the death of their parents or the betrayal of finding out their parents where having an affair. Somehow, they managed to deal with all of these issues while still falling in love with each other. Life didn’t have to pause in order for them to grow.

My only complaint about the writing is that it could be hard to follow at times. It was written the way people actually think and speak, and sometimes I would get lost. It felt like there were too many inside jokes that I wasn’t getting. This didn’t take away from my enjoyment, but it did take some getting used too.

Just in case you are like me, and assumed that because this book was written by a man, it wouldn’t be as romantic as other Young Adult contemporary romances, I will ease your fears. This man knows how to write a romance. I am not sure if it because it was written by a man or because it was written by a good author, but the romance was adorable without becoming cheesy. The words they spoke to each other never felt flowery and insincere. They meant every sweet and sarcastic thing they said, and I loved that Abram was more comfortable with expressing his feelings than Juliette. This was a love story that I will definitely read again some day (if I ever get a chance to reread anything. lol)

This is a must read for fans of the Young Adult/New Adult romance genre.

Because of language and mild sexual content, I would recommend this book for ages 15 and up. There are no sex scenes.

Five Roses

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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Author Biography

About Jay Clark

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.

In my own words - 15 random factoids

1. When at home and walking into an empty room, I have a tendency to begin singing loudly — a self-protective mechanism whereby I think a potential intruder and/or ghost will start laughing (or singing along?) and alert me to his/her presence.
2. I enjoy a good whale documentary more than just about anyone. Especially if the narrator has a deep, fatherly tone of voice like Tom Selleck or Morgan Freeman.
3. Sometimes I wake up saying, “Today is the day I’m going to get organized!” I’m not sure what happens after that besides a whole lotta nothing.
4. I enjoy promising myself that I’ll start blending high-protein smoothies soon, but then I never want to search for the proper ingredients at the grocery store. I’ve created many vicious circles like this for myself, and I never see them coming.
5. I vacillate between downloading too many productivity apps and then deleting them after reading a productivity book/article on essentialism. (I haven’t found this back-and-forth to be particularly productive.)
6. I’m easily addicted to brain-training programs like Lumosity and Elevate. When the procrastination starts eating away at me, that’s how I know it’s time to stop and search for a new productivity app that I don’t need.
7. I seem to write best after procrastinating for hours upon hours, at which point my mind is too tired from all the brain-training games to brainstorm any going-nowhere alternatives.
8. I’ve been known to circle the block an extra time to avoid a 2-second interaction with one of my perfectly friendly neighbors. I’m working on this.
9. Whenever it’s time to mow the lawn I feel like the world is going to end, even though deep down I know the world doesn’t care if I die from boredom.
10. I believe in the power of dream boards but get embarrassed by the inspirational collage I’ve put together as the desktop image for my computer. There’s no one else around but me and the ghosts when I’m feeling this embarrassment. This doesn’t stop THE SINGING.
11. I use the same hair pomade as Elvis Presley. This makes me feel cooler by association than it maybe should.
12. I halfheartedly attempt to meditate every day. I usually only last a minute or two. Then I try to tell myself that I can meditate while doing something else, which completely defeats the purpose.
13. I’ve eaten peanut butter pretty much every day for approximately 12 years straight. I’m fine with this.
14. I keep a daily gratitude journal but have a tendency to say the same things all the time, which sort of makes me feel like an ingrate.
15. I like to invent awesomely bad products that people might think they need but really don’t, then practice my inevitable pitch to the sharks of Shark Tank. (Barbara is always out immediately. Kevin pokes a few holes in my numbers but then extends me a terrible offer based on his begrudging respect for my ability to sell crap. Mark makes a face like he’s constipated the whole time. Lori thinks I’m more hero than zero and partners with Robert to offer me an amazing deal, which I accept, and we immediately start shooting a QVC infomercial.)

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