Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review: The Lighter Side of Life and Death by C. K. Kelly Martin

Book Description via Goodreads:

Paperback, 240 pages
May 26, 2010, Random House Children’s Books

Acclaimed YA author C. K. Kelly Martin offers a sexy, soulful story of one confused boy, two girls, and all the complications that ensue in this romantic feel-good love story that celebrates friendship, first love, first lust, and second chances.

Sixteen-year-old Mason Rice is having the night of his life. He's just delivered an incredible performance in the school play, basked in celebratory afterglow vibes at the party of the year, and lost his virginity to one of his best friends—the gorgeous but previously unobtainable Kat Medina. His dreams are coming true, and the future looks golden.

Unfortunately, Kat sees things very differently. Crossing the friendship line was a big mistake, and all she wants is to forget it and move on, even if that means forgetting Mason altogether. What's a guy to do? Well, if you're Mason, you hang your hopes on the first attractive twenty-three-year-old you cross paths with. At first Mason wonders if he's imagining the chemistry . . . until Colette invites him over to her apartment. Suddenly Mason's living in a whole new world.

Source: C. K. Martin (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

In the YA world that’s dominated by heroines, Mason’s narrative was a breath of fresh air. I found his confused state, as well as everything he felt, very realistic and natural for a teenage guy. After living the best day of his life – delivering a great performance, enjoying the best party of the year, and losing his virginity to his best friend and crush, Kat – lady luck seemed to grow tired of him and waltzed out of his life.

What I loved most about The Lighter Side of Life and Death was the emotional chaos that ensued. It was one wild tangle of love, attraction, lust, yearning, jealousy and confusion. It reminded me of how my classmates acted when I was in high school. The fact that this novel reminded me of those years was a success in the part of the author. She delivered the right feelings through Mason. Mason’s family was an imperfect one with a great amount of conflicts and friction. I found their interaction very strained, barely okay. But it reflected the difficulty of adjusting to other people and accepting them as part of the family.

To be honest, I was annoyed at Kat and yet I could not blame her for how she reacted. She has been best friends with Mason and Jamie for years. Both of the guys have been crushing on her for a while. Jamie was angry at Mason and had been evading him. Each conversation and interaction with Kat became more and more strained.

After meeting the sexy 23-year-old Colette, who also happened to be his stepmom’s sister’s best friend, he was undeniably drawn. I loved every bit of their forbidden love. Without being graphic, Martin still delivered the hot and steamy quality of the scenes. But it was a relationship without commitments – just sex and good times. To some extent, it made me sad for Mason. To have something that would never last and to know that he was not as important to her as she was to him must be hurtful.

The Lighter Side of Life and Death is a realistic take on the life of a teenager. It bared the flaws, the inexperienced and confused stage of a teen, as well as the strong desires that came with it. The amazing writing coupled with the easy-to-read narrative got me reading on until morning. Martin’s concept was an ordinary one. But I loved how she made this extraordinary by giving life to the characters and sewing heartfelt emotions in it.



  1. Hmmm I have to check this one out... The title throws me a bit! Lol!

  2. Wow, awesome review! I'm so glad you put this one on my radar, because it sounds fantastic. I love the issues the author seems to explore and the fact that she does in such a realistic way - they're the kind of books that really worm their way into your heart and emotions. So glad you loved this, I can't wait to read it!