The Lighter Side of Life and Death by CK Kelly Martin
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Release date: May 25, 2010
Other books by this author: One Lonely Degree, I Know It's Over, My Beating Teenage Heart (2011)
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.
Surprisingly, The Lighter Side of Life and Death was my first CK Kelly Martin novel. I've had it sitting on my TBR pile for quite awhile now and I'm so glad I finally picked it up. It was definitely different than I was expecting but it was a refreshing change from all the female POVs I've been reading lately.
To begin with, Mason was a character that I just had to like right away. His warm and easy going personality just made him an extremely likable main character from the start. Mason's life was definitely not easy though. His parents are divorced and he lives with his father who's new girlfriend and her two kids are moving in. Mason's dad was very casual and let Mason have a lot of freedoms, plus he was distracted with his girlfriend and her kids. Mason has a lot of friends that I liked and all of them have pretty big roles in the story, especially Kat Medina. When Mason loses his virginity to Kat one night, their friendship, and Mason's life, will never be the same. Kat doesn't talk to him much anymore and he's having a really hard time letting her go and forgetting what they did. Now, this isn't even the major plot line. When 23 year old Colette enters the picture, Mason's life, friends (even Kat), and family are basically forgotten. Mason and Colette's relationship is almost purely physical and their meetings are a tight secret.
From the start I didn't like Colette. She lured in and flirted with Mason until he was under her spell and as the adult she should have known how wrong it was to get involved with a sixteen year old- no matter how much she cared for him. The sex scenes in The Lighter Side of Life and Death were pretty detailed and appear fairly often. Nothing too bad for older readers, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone under 13 or 14.
I did like Kat and she was obviously the right girl for Mason. Not only was she sweet and a good friend, she was actually his age. All the characters in this novel were well developed and we got to learn a lot about all of them as the novel progressed. Mason especially learned a lot about himself and who he truly carted for and wanted in his life.
The plot was filled with a variety of sub plots. Not only Mason's two relationships, but also things involving his friends and family.
CK Kelly Martin is a great writer and she crafted a truly original and fast paced third novel. Mason, even though he might have made some bad choices, was a fantastic main character and it's hard not to like him. Martin did a fantastic job of getting into the head of a teenage boy and making him seem entirely realistic. I can't wait to read more by CK Kelly Martin!
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars