Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Lighter Side of Life and Death - C. K. Kelly Martin - Blog Tour Review

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. 
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 feel-good celebration of friendship, first love, first lust, and second chances. 

Title: The Lighter Side of Life and Death
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Source: Received from author courtesy of Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to C.K. Kelly Martin and Kari from Teen Book Scene for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This review is part of C.K. Kelly Martin's blog tour courtesy of Teen Book Scene. You can find all of the tour details here
My rating: 4/5

Everything in Mason's life is going great, excellent even. He has just wrapped up the final performance in the school's play, and he's had a dream come to fruition with his best friend, Kat. Things couldn't be going better for him, until he finds out that Kat doesn't want to remember the night they spent together. Mason is confused as he thought everything that happened between him and Kat was golden. When he meets someone new, who is interested in him, and who also happens to be 23 to his 16, he jumps at the chance to experience something different, something that will take his mind off of Kat.
Right off the bat, there are some mature themes handled in The Lighter Side of Life and Death, and they tend to be a little explicit. However, I think that Martin has tastefully handled the relationship in question as she writes the scenes objectively, without taking sides or saying that Mason's relationship with Colette is wrong. In Canada, their relationship is perfectly legal. She is not in a position of authority over Mason, and is feeling the same emotions that he is dealing with. She has some reservations, but he runs full tilt ahead and she follows along, albeit at a slower pace.
Mason is your typical teenage boy. He's a good kid who just had his world turned upside down by the one girl he's been crushing on for years. When circumstances place him in the same room as an attractive, older woman who is flirting with him, he can't help but flirt back, and question the chemistry surrounding them. He is a believable and realistic character, confused, trying to figure out how to get his best friend back, as well as how to handle this new and secret relationship. 
Now as much as I would like to make Kat out to be the villain, I can't. She makes a decision that, in the light of day, she regrets. She doesn't know what Mason's feelings are, or how experienced he is, and just wishes that she hadn't given up her virginity in the way that she did. I can sympathize with her. When she blows him off and distances herself from him and their other friends, it stresses the group dynamic as well. The three close friends spiral apart, while the rest of the group looks on from the sidelines. It ramps up the tension within Mason's world, and adds more stress to his already severely stressed life. 
Colette is one of those characters that I think many will love or hate for varying reasons. Throughout the book we see how she reacts to the relationship that she is in with Mason. I don't agree with some of the stuff that transpires, but it is added to impact and illustrate to the reader, the decisions they face when they enter into their fledgling relationship. 
All in all, I found that the ending of the book was poignant and it helped wrap up some things for Mason. It was a fast-paced, and sizzling read which detailed the dynamics of the relationships that Mason found himself in.

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