Some books you connect with so easily like they’re long lost friends and this book is certainly one of them. The book cover alone already attracted my attention like a magnet. There’s something so riveting about the title including the way it was written in cross stitch with that little addendum below that says “Life Ahead:Proceed with Caution”. It’s just so funny, smart, sarcastic and true all at the same time which is kind of also true of the entire story and not to mention quite heartbreaking too.
The plot centers around grief and how it relatively affects those afflicted. Some like Petula become pessimists who believe that they must live with caution and that there is no such thing as too much caution because freak accidents happen all the time and therefore her mantra that “Optimists Die First” does make sense. Others like David become optimists and try to see good in life because it’s short and one must live it to the fullest, that usual crap (lol!) and of course these characters’ paths cross certainly resulting to a clash albeit a positive one.
I thought it was written very well. It definitely appealed to my emotions. Petula’s grief is so palpable, I could honestly feel it. It’s exactly how she quoted it in the book, “like someone had put lead weights on my chest.” At the same time even if the theme is quite heavy, the author managed to make the story light because of the short chapters and her hilarious analogies and metaphors.
“He hurried away, like he’d just farted and didn’t want to be around to take the blame when it started to smell.”
Overall, it was a great, memorable read, another very recommendable YA contemporary and as always, my only complaint is it’s too short.