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The Lighter Side of Life and Death by [Martin, C. K. Kelly]
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The Lighter Side of Life and Death Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up–Mason and Kat are best friends, but, drunk after a party, they have sex, and neither knows how to deal with the aftermath. Mason's always had a crush on Kat and he's worried that she'll think he was taking advantage of her; she's acting distant and won't talk to him. Their behavior after their secret tryst puts a strain on Mason's high school clique, especially with pal Jamie, who had a crush on Kat and who finds out what happened. Confused, 16-year-old Mason jumps into a romantic relationship with an older woman, Colette. His feelings about the mess he's made with Kat and the inappropriate relationship with Colette ring true. A subplot about Mason's new blended family adds dimension to the story. This narrative will keep readers interested as it moves from shamed encounter to forbidden relationship. For female romance fans, the story allows a peek into the teen boy's conscience and explores the emotional consequences of sex without being preachy.Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* When best friends Mason and Kat lose their virginity to each other, they react quite differently. Mason is obsessed with Kat; Kat responds by ignoring him completely. Partly from a desire for revenge, partly from fascination, Mason begins an intense physical relationship with 23-year-old Colette, a dalliance that soon becomes just as obsessive as his relationship with Kat was. This is not your ordinary teen romance. It’s heavy on the sex but carefully nuanced. Although the lust is palpable, so is the affection and intrigue. Yes, Mason is in love with the act itself, but he cares deeply for both young women. The layers of emotion, so rarely evoked by young men in YA novels, give a depth and authenticity to Mason’s personality that expose his naïveté and occasional bewilderment. The book’s other characters are equally complex. Kat and Colette have strong, genuine feelings for Mason, each battling her own distinct emotions. Even Mason’s relationships with his new stepfamily are painfully true to life. Counteracting its apparently happy ending, this taut novel propels readers from one corroding relationship to another. A more genuine representation of teen life would be hard to find. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn

Product Details

  • File Size: 529 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 13, 2010)
  • Publication Date: May 25, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4ARW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,721,138 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Protagonist Mason is a very authentic, endearing teenage boy whose true love for his best friend, a girl named Kat, is heartbreaking both to him and to the readers, who observe his fumbled attempt to turn drunken sex with Kat into romance. When Kat acts as though their mutual "first time" was a mistake, their former friendship fizzles, replaced by awkwardness. They both turn to other romantic interests to avoid developing their now complicated relationship with each other. Mason offers readers a candid look into his emotions--unabashedly revealing his far-from-smooth manner with girls and women, and his discomfort with vulnerability. The honesty of this simple story, of two young lovers wandering away from each other on a long detour to find their joint path, enhances the heat of their passion. Recommended for ages 14 and up.
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Format: Hardcover
First love for a teenager is a lot like being run over by a truck every hour of every day. I think we all can remember the first loves, hates, disappointments, and - most importantly - our very first best friend. You know that guy or girl that you can play sports with; text in the middle of the night with the news of how ridiculous your parents are and how you can't wait until your old enough to disappear? That's THE friend. Well, this book is a poignant look at what happens when you and your best friend cross that line and end up in bed together.

Mason Rice is our main character. Mason is sixteen and is an aspiring actor. Not only does he have classic good looks, he also has a huge heart, and hangs out with an inner circle of other actor friends who really love him. His best friends are Kat and Jaime; they've been an inseparable trio for a good long time. On the night of the big play, where Mason is riding high on a fantastic performance, he and Kat end up doing the one thing that best friends usually don't do. Now Mason feels deeply for Kat and is absolutely excited about the new step they've taken in their relationship. Unfortunately, the next day at school, he realizes that Kat feels the opposite. In fact, she is trying to completely ignore him and not even look him in the eye.

On top of the tragedy playing out in his love life, Mason's father is moving in his fiancée Nina and her two kids; a great little boy named Burke who Mason gets along with immediately, and a thirteen year old girl named Brianna who is as angry and rude as she can possibly get. No matter what Mason does, he can not get Brianna to be nice to him in the least.
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Format: Hardcover
If there's one thing C. K. Kelly Martin can do better than almost anyone, it's write from the perspective of a normal teenage boy. She somehow manages to get inside their heads and portray them with realism and honesty, leaving no stone unturned and nothing to the imagination. Her debut novel, I Know It's Over, also used male narration, leaving me to think that that was as good as it got. Thanks to The Lighter Side of Life and Death, it got better.

From reading the summary, you're probably thinking this book is about a teenage boy's sordid affair with an older woman. You'd be right, of course, though there's nothing wrong or sleazy about their sudden exploration of each other. They truly do have feelings for one another, and mutually choose to embark on an adult relationship. There's an age gap, yes, but it's not an issue - it's not illegal, they're both responsible, and there's just something right about them being together.

Mason is the teenage boy in question. He's at that point in his life where sex is on the cards, and he has a thing for his best friend, Kat. After a night of drunken antics, they go further than ever before, leaving their friendship in tatters the day after. This alone would be a nightmare for any teenager, not to mention confusing and completely devastating. Crossing the line with a friend is like walking a tightrope: either it all goes to plan, or you fall. Hard.

Mason, in true realistic fashion, has no idea what's going on with Kat. She's hot and cold, throwing mixed signals his way and making his head swim. Sounds familiar? I'm sure there isn't a teenage boy in the world who hasn't had trouble figuring out girls - it's just a high school given.
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Format: Hardcover
Sixteen year old Mason has just experienced the best night of his life. He has flawlessly pulled off his role in the closing night of his play, he had an awesome cast part, AND he just lost his v-card to his best friend, Kat. However, we all know the book would totally suck if his life stayed perfect. This is the part where we cue the conflict. Turns out, Kat doesn't quite know how to handle that night.

What results in The Lighter Side of Life and Death is an honest, gripping portrayal of growing up and burgeoning sexuality for a teenage boy. Examined is the difference between love and lust, which I guess may appear in similar clothing a whole lot of the time, so it is easy to confuse one for the other. I really appreciated that C.K. Kelly Martin wasn't afraid to go the full monty, it made the book's impact so much more larger on me.

As far as characters voices go, Mason has a distinctive voice. You can tell he's this easy going guy, yet he struggles over these issues which aren't exactly life and death, but certainly feel that way when you are sixteen. I loved how Martin portrays that teenage egotism perfectly. Let's face it, when you are a kid you are the center of your universe. Some of us grow out of that, some of us don't. I'm not even sure I've grown out of that.

I don't think I would hesitate to give this book to a teenager who is coming to grips with their hormones. This book is short, it's a fast read, yet it is non-judgmental of the decisions the characters make. Mason is never punished for what he decides. I guess what I am trying to say is I love this book for the fact that it isn't superficial, that it just seems to get it. Ya know?
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