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

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Title: The Lighter Side of Life and Death
Author: C.K. Kelly Martin
Release Date: May 25, 2010 (hardcover)
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 240
Source: ARC received from publisher through Bookurious

Overall: 4 Stars 

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, first lust, 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. 

This was my first time reading a novel by Martin, but wow, has she ever left an impression. I'll admit, I was a bit wary to begin reading the novel so I kept putting it off, but finally, I grabbed it and just began... and I'm glad I did. In some ways, The Lighter Side of Life and Death was exactly the kind of book I expected it to be- a teen romance which goes awry with the main lead needing a distraction to get over it- but it was also so much more than that.

With honest storytelling, Martin writes with a bluntness that never strays far from the truth. She tells things for what they are, the good and the bad, allowing readers to get right into the mindset of a sixteen -year-old teenage boy. 

Mason thought he just had the best night of his life. His performance in the school play was stellar and best of all, he's just lost his virginity to his beautiful, best friend Kat Medina, who he's been secretly in love with for years. But Kat doesn't see things quite like Mason. In fact, she wants to pretend the night never happened and is now avoiding him. Crushed, Mason finds himself lost and depressed. His other best friend, Jamie, had feelings for Kat too and is mad at him, and Mason's father will be remarrying soon. Then, Mason meets twenty-three-year-old Colette, immediately seeming to hit it off with the older woman. Before Mason knows it, he'll be even more lost than he was before.

The language and mature content in this novel would be more suitable for older teens and adults. Martin isn't afraid to write about sex, and yes, it does happen several times in the novel... and not the glossed over version that most YA novels would have done. She gets all the emotions, all the descriptions, all the thoughts that a boy would be thinking- and isn't afraid to shy away from writing about it.

Martin pushes the boundaries in YA lit, giving you a novel that's both edgy and emotionally-charged at the same time. 

You can check out C.K. Kelly Martin's website here.

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