Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

Posted March 2, 2015 in Book Review / 0 Comments


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

Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay ClarkFinding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on March 24th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

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.

Main Points
Writing Style:

I love this writing style- the alternation between the girl’s and guy’s POV, in first person present tense, often switches in the middle of important scenes so we can get perspective from both sides. It’s great. I just finished a book recently that had this style (The Infinite Moment of Us) and it’s really starting to grow on me.


This book was really quirky and…let me see, what adjectives would I usually put here? Cute? No. Fun? Nah. Sweet? Maybe…

Obviously I loved it though. Look at that 5-star rating just screaming, this one’s a keeper! Yep. Loved it. No shame.

A big part was the awkward conversation. I LOVE awkward conversation. Can’t get enough of it. Clever dialogue, awkward, honest exchanges, that’s the kind of stuff I live for. That’s the kind of stuff I write. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it totally worked for me. And it fit perfectly with the characters.

They were probably the other big part that made this a winner. Well, more specifically, Juliette. Getting over her pill addiction was kind of a slow/fast unimportant thing, but man I think they really affected her. And Abram’s pills affected him too, at the beginning at least. It added to the awkward-and-unconventional-yet-fitting beginning to their relationship. And seriously, they had the weirdest relationship at the beginning. I loved it. Unconventionality is a favorite theme of mine.

I mean, from the distance it’s your basic story of ‘two kids that are both equally messed up fall in love because they’re the only ones they can relate to.’ That sort of business. And I will admit that that’s kind of what it is, but it doesn’t feel like that while you’re reading. Okay, the weirdness is extremely obvious, at least on Juliette’s part (especially with her mind-changing all the time), but it doesn’t feel like these are just two crazy kids that of course are going to fall in love because it’s destiny. It feels like something they both really have to work for even though you’re pretty sure (like 86.5% sure) that it’s going to happen. But the getting there is the fun part.

Granted, Abram isn’t that weird. Sure, he takes pills and has some odd habits, but while Juliette seems to care about everything, he seems to care about nothing in particular. He’s just such a go-with-the-flow kind of guy. In contrast, she seems really uptight and insecure and fickle. And she pretty much is. But somehow, they just work. They fit together. It’s not the perfect relationship, even I could see that. It had every bit of the awkwardness that comes with young love, magnified because of their personal issues (and Juliette’s mental issues). But it was still an engaging love story.

We don’t really see that a lot in YA contemporary. Or at least I don’t. We see cutesy stories about teens that don’t think they’re normal (although in comparison to, well, people like Juliette, they are) falling in love all the time. We don’t see these quirky, odd, slightly painful but captivating stories about obviously non-normal teens figuring things out. So I love the uniqueness of the idea.

Another thing was that it was funny. It was laced with wry humor that had me laughing out loud like every five pages. Some of it was a bit dark and unnecessary, but I like that sort of thing. I can relate to that. Again, it’s like the quirkiness- it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you enjoy that sort of thing, you will love this.

My reaction upon finishing: *squeal* *covers up head with blanket* Ugh! I love happy endings! Love stories are so cute! (even if this was the opposite of cute) *more squealing*

Any book that leaves me like that is guaranteed at least 4 stars, maybe 5.

This book in one word:



 “Maybe kissing Abram would turn out to be the best thing I ever forced myself to do for no apparent reason.”
This pretty much captures Juliette’s POV perfectly.

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.

Overall: five-stars


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