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DNF Review: Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

Friday, March 27, 2015

Finding Mr. Brightside
Jay Clark

Genre: Contemporary
Hardback: 224 Pages
Publication: March 24, 2015
by Henry Holt and Co. BFYR

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.


I wanted to like this novel. First, the title reminds me of the song by The Killers, and I wondered if and how Abram and Juliette's story would relate to the song. Second, the story sounds really cute (as is the cover for the novel). However, I just couldn't connect with the characters or their story.

The chapters alternate between Abram and Juliette's perspectives. Finding Mr. Brightside is already short for a novel. In order to give each character enough page time, the chapters are cut short and aren't filled with many details. The result is that the story moves fairly quickly without elaborating on the characters thoughts and actions. It also made me confused about the nature of their relationship. Juliette's mom and Abram's dad died not too long ago on top of having an affair with each other. From Juliette's first chapter, we know that she isn't sure how to interact with Abram, so how do they end up kind of flirting with each other soon after we learn this piece of information? Juliette blames some of her bizarre actions on her medication, but it would have helped if some of the backstory had been set up before the pharmacy scene. (Such has how the families are coping, what their relationship is like right now, maybe what they're struggling with, and how their respective medications are influencing their lives.)

As it is, Abram and Juliette fell flat for me. While some insight into their minds is provided, their thoughts don't tell us much beyond the superficial. I don't feel like we're really shown the core of their characters. In addition, their behavior seems juvenile, and because of the lack of backstory, the character motivation is lacking. It seems to me from Abram's first chapter that he has a crush on Juliette, but since when and how has the "tragedy" influenced his view of Juliette and his perceived chance of a romantic encounter with her? Juliette is harder to understand. Why does she blame her behavior on the medications, and does she view it as a good or bad thing? Why is she on the medication in the first place? I believe that these question will be answered later, but they haven't been answered 17% into the novel. In fact, 17% into the novel, I still don't know what makes them who they are. Not to mention that I'm still on the first night (the pharmacy night). By now, I would have expected the introduction to be over and the plot starting to move.

For a tragic love story, I would recommend The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle. For a short, cute love story, I would recommend The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. My reviews for these novels are linked before.

DNF 17% into the novel (the last third of which was skimmed)

A copy was provided by Macmillan for review

** Content warnings are from the parts of the novel that I read and may not reflect the entirety of the novel **

4 comments on "DNF Review: Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark"
  1. I have been dying to read this. Bummed you didn't like this one. But hopefully you are on to another book that you will enjoy more :)

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  2. I finished and was okay, but it did have more sounding potential

    1. Yeah, it didn't have as much depth as it could have :/


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