Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), Macmillan on March 24, 2015
Genres: contemporary, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
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 the sweetest story about two quirky teenagers that have (completely different) problems of their own, each stemming from a singular incident that affected them both. Abram and Juliette are neighbors and they each had their own little average nuclear family, until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad decided to have an affair together. And then they both died in a car crash while they were away together. So it is kind of a gossip worthy and messed up situation.
Finding Mr. Brightside is told in alternating points of views between Abram and Juliette and these two kids could not be more different. Juliette is as type A as they come, popping more than her already too high dosage of adderall just to keep up with everything self imposed thing she wants to do. The funny thing about Juliette is that she had all the makings of someone that would be queen bee in high school, but she was almost as much of a loner as Abram was. I liked that neither of them really fit into any one stereotype completely. It made them seem more like real teenagers and less like characters in a book. I can see Finding Mr. Brightside as a movie. Maybe one of those indie movies. (or big budget movies, with funky camera work, made to look like its’ an indie movie.) Everything played out while I was reading like I was watching it on a big screen. The whole book felt very conversational, not forced and effortlessly funny. I thought Jay Clark did a phenomenal job of capturing the voice of teenagers.
Juliette cracked me up. She knew her neurosis and she knew that some aspects of herself were messed up, and she poked fun of them in her chapters. I loved that her specialty text message was a mixed message. I couldn’t stop laughing at that. This book seemed so relate-able to me, which was great because I’m not really anything like either Juliette or Abram. I have noticed more than a few DNF 1 and 2 star reviews of finding Mr. Brightside and I can only imagine that a vast majority of these readers didn’t give Juliette and Abram enough of a chance. The beauty was in riding their journey out with them. They made each other better. They were there for one another- supporting, listening; telling the other one when they were wrong and just looking out for them. It was a beautiful relationship, even in its’ moments of messed up glory. Yes, Juliette and Abram had problems. Yes Juilette should not have abused her adderall like she did, but I hate to break to everyone- she is not the only teenager on ADHD medication. I have seen her story time and time again in real life, and I loved the way Jay Clark portrayed it in Finding Mr. Brightside. He didn’t glorify it, or sugarcoat it. You got to see the good, the bad, and the ugly about those little pills.
And now for my favorite part of Finding Mr. Brightside- Abram. Oh my sweet, sweet Abram. He is my Mr. Brightside as well as Juliette’s. How can you not love Abram. He is also just so positive, and so nice. He is a good guy, you can tell that from the very first moment you meet him. And he is never anything but a ray of sunshine. He saved Juliette. I totally and completely believe that. Finding Mr. Brightside has an open ending, but it looks like it will be a standalone. And I am ok with that. I thought the story was beautiful and funny and all around wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed Finding Mr. Brightside.
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