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.
The Lighter Side of Life and Death is the sexy, soulful story of one confused boy, two girls, and all the complications that ensue—a romantic feel-good love story that celebrates friendship, first love, first lust, and second chances.
- Booklist Magazine Top 10 Romance Fiction for Youth 2010 list
- Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year list
- Starred Review, Booklist
A more genuine representation of teen life would be hard to find.
- Booklist, Starred Review
Martin is at her best when she is inside a single boy's head...Her portrayal of Mason's lust-fogged state is almost comic as every moment of his day becomes a tug to focus on something other than the vision of Kat naked or his next encounter with the very sexy Colette...In the midst of all the relationship drama, the truth of the title sneaks up on readers with a sly little wink—that all these matters of life and death, such as sex between friends, age difference in relationships, and blending new families, are only as serious as you make them out to be.
- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
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.
- School Library Journal
Martin seems to truly understand, care for and enjoy the characters she has created. As in I Know It’s Over, she speaks from the point of view of a male teen and manages to capture the love, the lust, the confusion, the hurt and a myriad of other emotions...There are party scenes and sex scenes, but Martin is empathetic and gentle with her teenage characters, allowing them the freedom to explore and experience without judging them.
- CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials, **** /4 Highly Recommended.
Martin gives Mason a relatable voice ("I've never stalked anyone before; how do people do this?") and offers a refreshingly sincere perspective on early relationships.
- Publishers Weekly
Ms. Martin hits on a very volatile subject--teenage sex--and deals with all the confusion and angst that goes along with it...The story teaches the reader about the complexities of love, safe sex, and the value of relationships and friendship.
- The New York Journal of Books
Sixteen-year-old Mason has had a crush on Kat since she moved to town, so when they end up having sex after Mason's cast party for the school play (the first time for both of them), Mason is thrilled. But Kat becomes distant and instead of dealing with his pain, Mason pursues Colette, a 23-year-old family friend. Details of their secret affair are graphic but realistic, with Mason soon wanting an emotional connection Colette does not. Adding to tension at school is Mason's best friend Jamie, who also likes Kat, and Mason's new stepfamily (his father recently remarried), particularly belligerent 13-year-old Brianna. The family scenes are solid, with hostility between Mason and Brianna bubbling to a climax after Brianna spots Mason getting out of Colette's car, though the fallout from the affair is surprisingly minor. Still, Martin gives Mason a relatable voice ("I've never stalked anyone before; how do people do this?") and offers a refreshingly sincere perspective on early relationships. Ages 14 up.