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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Really Awesome Mess

Want something funny and kooky and completely off-beat? Try Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin's A Really Awesome Mess.

Emmy finds herself thrown into Heartland Academy after a rough patch which included threatening a classmate on Facebook and poor decision making. Justin finds himself there after a very unfortunate incident involving his father walking in on a teenage boy's dream come true followed by an overdose of Tylenol. Neither has a desire to be there, and no one seems to be terribly welcoming. They are on a journey to find themselves (which is the only way they can get out), on which they find what they never knew they were always looking for--friends, acceptance, and love.

This book is categorized under YA lit, but I found myself enjoying it immensely as an adult novel. We have all been there as teenagers making decisions that might not be the best ever, even though it seemed innocuous back then. I most definitely cringed thinking back on the poor decision making I made at that age, and it was so easy to relate to the frustration, the attitude, and the emotions of the ragamuffins in the reform school.

I really enjoyed watching the character arcs of all of the characters, but in particular Justin and Emmy. Over the course of the novel they both grew in ways that they might not have if not for Heartland Academy. I would never wish that kind of reform school experience on anyone, but it sure can be a boon for self-discovery for those who need it. My favorite scene involves a county fair, an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink hotdog, and a pig heist. Just trust me--it will have you giggling like a fifth grade girl with a crush on the cover of Tiger Beat in 1987.

Kindle version on the left, hard copy on the right.

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