A Really Awesome Mess
by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin
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.
A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin
Review by Manda Kay
4.5 Squees/5 Squees
First off, I have to say, either I’ve been making some great book choices lately or YA authors are just becoming more and more spectacular. This book was another one that was just fantastic through and through. As a fan of “smart” YA with witty, intelligent characters, I was EXTREMELY pleased with this story. The main characters Emmy and Justin are both pretty awesome leads and their stories were extremely interesting to me. This book had its share of mental illness while still being a fun YA read. The only reason I’ve taken off .5 from my rating is because I feel like their was some holes in Justin’s personality. I feel like the authors were on the right track with him, but their wasn’t a whole lot of development into why he is the way he is. Honestly though, I can’t tell if this was intentional or not.
As far as secondary characters go, this book had a very awesome cast. I loved Justin and Emmy’s friends. Diana was my favorite! She was so witty and different from the other characters, but she has her share of problems too. I really enjoyed the fact the the authors delved into the stories of the secondary characters and made the reader really feel for them. I have to admit that I cried quite a bit while reading this story and I even let a few squees slip out.
Mental illness is a big part of young adult life and I feel like this book took the topic and made it believable and something that a lot of people can relate to. I read this in one sitting and was pulled in the whole time. I really think both of these authors are worth checking out and this book is going to be a hit.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.