Friday, May 20, 2011

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

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, firstlust, 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

I automatically wanted to read this book regardless of the premise because I really love the way C K Kelly Martin writes. (Not that the premise was so bad, just that I plan on reading her books regardless of the blurb)

C K Kelly Martin captures the teen voice so authentically and without any sentimentality ~ it really is refreshing to read. Her books just feel honest.

Likewise ~ I adore her prose. It is neither overly literary or simply commercial. I love the way she tells her stories ~ her sentences often have a perfect rhythm and her dialogue flows so effortlessly <3

I loved Mason's voice in this story. He's charming and aching and 100% teen man-child. I find it easy to crush on a male POV done well and this ranks up at the top for me among YA fiction.

As for the actual story. Gosh ~ I was so into it (really, I read it in one day) but at the same time, it didn't entirely sit well with me. I found myself wondering a couple of times just what the book was really about, what Martin's intentions with the story were, what that first original nugget of idea was that sparked the whole thing. I am concluding it really is just about one guys first experiences with sex/lust and how messed up it can make everything. It is tastefully done, gorgeous and genuinely heart-breaking (as I expected it would be having read her previous two books) but... sigh, I don't know. I think I would have handled it better if Mason had been bumped up to 18 years. Which, I guess, would undermine the premise...

I was left wondering at Collette's motives (her being 23 and getting it on with a 16 year old boy). I wish it had been made clearer (apart from her finding him "beguiling" and being unable to resist). Baffled :/

I loved all the high school theatre stuff. Adored the conflict in Mason's family ~ it was such a great backdrop for the sexual/relationship dramas ~ and it never felt melodramatic or cliche.

Recommended: I have enjoyed all C K Kelly Martin's books and this one is no different. I am finding it hard to balance my immense enjoyment of Mason and appreciation of the gorgeously-flowing story against my distaste for some of the events in the book :/

In the end, I still absolutely devoured this and enjoyed it enormously. I was hooked and I just admire her so much as an author... (and I have a crush on Mason ~ not a perverted one, LOL ~ just on him as a person, in all his confidence and insecurities and hopes and dreams and failures...)

C K Kelly Martin has added herself to my must-read, auto-buy YA author list.

Shame about that cover. Ugh. Who are they marketing this to?> It's intelligent lit and absolutely would appeal to teen guys to read. I don't think they would get past the cover though (I even felt embarrassed reading it near my 9 year old son, haha).

The Lighter Side of Life and Death @ goodreads

Have an awesome weekend! We're having a sleep-over party for my Sam ~ who's turning TEN (!) ~ so we'll have a lounge room packed full of boys :)

Here's a picture of my two boys (I also have a daughter) taken last month. Sam is on the left, and his little bro Reuben on the right (although Reubs is taller, haha)

Sam and Reuben
 xx Nomes


  1. I just went an ordered a copy. Couldn't help myself. Love the review Nomes.

    And Happy Birthday to Sam!

  2. nic ~ you will love this book. it is such a you-book. gorgeous guy and older YA vibe and brilliant male POV :)

  3. It sounds great, I think I'll look up this one. Sounds like something I would enjoy :) Adorable boys btw!

  4. I MUST read something by C K Kelly Martin, but maybe I won't start with this one :) Loved the review though and Mason sounds like a great character!

    Your boys are so gorgeous! Hope Sam has a lovely birthday. 10 sounds so grown up, I can hardly believe W is nearly 2!

    Enjoy the party :)

  5. The Lighter Side of Life and Death sounds great! I have this on my wishlist too.

    Your boys are so adorable!

  6. You have the cutest children ever :)

    I love the cover of this book. It reminds me a bit of the Going Too Far cover. I really love the sound of all of Martin's books but my B&N doesn't keep them in stock. I think they have a grudge against Delacorte or something because they didn't stock Like Mandarin =/ But I love all of your summer reading suggestions :)

  7. It would appeal to guys! This is such a great book, great review! :) I just picked up I Know It's Over from the library a couple of days ago, I hope I can get to it! :)

  8. I've never read anything by C.K. Kelly Martin. It sounds like she has a lovely writing style!

    What a weird premise. Although, I'd be willing to bet that relationships with that age difference (with one being underage) happens quite a bit more that we think.

    This book, even with it's questionable moments, sounds really great! I'll definitely be checking it out. Thanks for the review!

    Cute kiddos! Where are you all at in that picture? It's gorgeous!

    Jennifer of Little Shelf

  9. First off LOVE the picture of your little cuties!!! And extend Happy B-day congrats for me.

    I loved this book. I didn't have much of a problem with what it was about as i just kind of let myself flow with it. I really need to read more of her work, don't know why I haven't yet. Oh yes, I do - it's because you keep telling me all these other great books to read!!!

    Absolutely positively agree about the cover. No guy would want to pick this up and that is SUCH a shame!!!

  10. I LOVED her first two books, and this one has been in my TBR pile since the day it came out. I just have too many books to get to. But you made me want to read it next!

  11. oh i have wanted to read c. k. kelly martin since FOREVER. but i can never seem to find her in aus bookstores.

    i suppose i could actually order it in, but i'm flaky, and generally bad at waiting :).

    i'll get on it with her first two books asap... er, asap being POST exams

  12. I'm so sad my library doesn't have this!! ahh, I neeeeeed to read this, it sounds amazing and your review is so positive! Plus, male pov = yay!

  13. Agree about the cover – just awful – but the story sounds suitably angsty and bittersweet. I'll check it out.

  14. I haven't read anything by C K Kelly Martin but she's going on my "must try" list. Agree with you about the cover, it's dreadful! Thanks for great review :)

  15. I felt very similar to you reading this one. Mason's voice *is* amazing but yes! Why was Colette so willing to have an affair with him-- a 16 year old!? My whole feeling was that she was pretty screwed up. I wanted to like this one more than I did, so sad.


Thanks for the commenty love :)