Book Review: Finding Mr. Brightside
By: Jay Clark
Published By: Henry Holt & Co.
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Page Count: 224
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary
Finding Mr. Brightside isn't a mystery or an action/adventure book. It's more of a character study of Abram and Juliette. They are neighbors who have lived on the same street their entire lives. They know each other, but aren't really friends. Then one night, Abram's dad kills Juliette's mom in a tragic car accident as a result of their affair. Talk about awkward!
A few months later in CVS (of all places!) they finally "meet" and begin a relationship of sorts. The rest of the book goes back and forth between Juilette's and Abram's POV's and their relationship grows and develops. We get to see the full spectrum of their dysfunctional lives as a result of the deaths of their respective parents. Plus, we see Juliette's father who can't seem to leave his office, or put on anything other than his sweatpants. Abram's mother is the only one who seems to have dealt with her husband's death in a somewhat healthy way.
I did enjoy the internal dialogues that Juliette and Abram had with themselves. It was good to see them both address their addictions to prescription drugs and help each other get to a point where they seemed to be moving forward with their lives. At times, Juliette's internal dialogue was harsh. She uses some racial slurs, and talks about herself very negatively. For a book directed at teenagers, it doesn't send a good message. But if the reader can remember how dysfunctional she is, maybe it can help explain her point of view.
However, the book moved slowly for me. I was expecting more than just basically the 2 main characters in the book. There was romance, but even that was kind of dry. Abram was amazing with how he handled Juilette and always seemed to know exactly what she needed, but it was a little too perfect for me and so it seemed unrealistic. Although I did love the fact that he was willing to stick by her and not give up, no matter what she did.
I loved the cover of the book and was intrigued by the premise, but I found the book lacking. However, if you really enjoy a book that is all about character study, then this might be one for you.
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.