Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

ARC, 275 pages
 Release Date: July 23, 2013
Published by: Egmont USA
Source: ARCycling
For fans of: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, LOL, YA

     A hint of Recovery Road, a sample of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and a cut of Juno. A Really Awesome Mess is a laugh-out-loud, gut-wrenching/heart-warming story of two teenagers struggling to find love and themselves.
Two teenagers. Two very bumpy roads taken that lead to Heartland Academy.
     Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin's summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents' divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.
      Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog - and Emmy definitely doesn't. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.
     Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends. A funny, sad, and remarkable story, A Really Awesome Mess is a journey of friendship and self-discovery that teen readers will surely sign up for.


     I have to admit. Before I even knew what this book was about, I put it on my TBR list because of the interesting looking cover. Now, after reading it, I am so glad I gave it a chance. This book opened my eyes to so many things and I mean that in the most un-cliche' way possible.
     Before I read this, I looked down on anyone with an addiction. Well anything unhealthy. But after reading this, I realized two things. One, who am I to judge what's healthy and what's not? And two, most people with addictions don't even know they even have one. Take for example, the characters in this novel. All of them are addicted to something but yet none of them want to admit it. They all keep blaming the fact that they are there on everyone else. No one wants to be responsible for their actions. This is turn, puts them still in denial. My heart broke so many times as I read about them not understanding that they were hurting (themselves and everyone around them) and I wanted to squeeze them in hugs when they finally started making break throughs. This book is definitely an emotional roller-coaster. I found myself laughing, crying, and sometimes laughing so hard I cried.
"One day at a time, you know. [...] tomorrow's gonna have to take care of itself."
-pg. 197 (ARC)
     I also loved the writing style. For it to be about such important issues, it wasn't done in a heavily preachy way. As teens (and adults alike) read this, they will be fully rooted to the story and connect with the characters. And even more so because it is written in a dual POV and because of that you get to take an in depth look into the head of Justin and  Emmy. This gives you the chance to see how both of them viewed certain events. And trust me, looking through the eyes of someone anorexic and someone with a sex addiction, you will start to look at things differently.
"Families are based on love, not looks."
-pg. 243 (ARC)
     But the number one main thing I loved about this book was the way they treated the kids. They showed them that no one issue was bigger than the other and that they all needed to be helped in some kind of way. Everyone was treated equal. Unless they were up a level that is. It made them learn to be more comfortable and not to feel victimized. This is really what the teens wanted. Just to feel loved.

"What kind of a mess thinks being in therapy school is better than living? "A really awesome mess," I tell him."
-pg. 228 (ARC)
     And for this reason alone, I wasn't surprised to see romance blossom between more than one couple in this book. I was a little surprised at WHO it was though. If you read it, you will understand why too. Considering it wasn't super swoony and like "OMG I love him!", I was ok with that. It wasn't that type of story. There were obviously so many other things that the teens were thinking about and trying to overcome.
     This book will have you thinking of things you would usually not think twice about. It will leave you thankful for all the things you love and the fact that they haven't been taken away from you. If you don't leave this novel with a new found outlook on life, you did it wrong. I recommend everyone to read this book. I guarantee you, you will find something that you loved!
Overall, I give this 

1 comment:

  1. I have been intensely curious about this book since first seeing that awesome and unique cover. After reading all of the reviews that rave about the awesomeness of the story, I am ready to read it for myself. I am a recovering addict myself. It took a long time to admit it to myself, and an even longer time to get help. But I have been in recovery for a long time. I love books that touch on subjects like addiction, heartache and any other big issue. I love seeing how the author handles the situation. And I just like reminding myself that who I am today rocks!