Hello my dear Bookdragons!
January has come to an end and a lot of changes awaits me this year. I am pretty sure you guys have read quite a lot of books this month but if you haven’t, that’s absolutely fine too. I have not set a Goodreads goal this year because I want to read at my own pace and for once I don’t wish to run against time.
Today I am discussing another amazing book that I read recently. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of Happy Messy Scary Love by Leah Konen. I wish this book was published when I was sixteen. Even though I am not that young anymore, reading the book reminded me of all the “horror” that I had witnessed when I was in my teens.
As everyone at her Brooklyn high school announces their summer adventures, Olivia harbors a dirty secret: Her plan is to binge-watch horror movies and chat with her online friend, Elm. Olivia and Elm have never shared personal details, apart from their ages and the fact that Elm’s aunt is a low-budget horror filmmaker. Then Elm pushes Olivia to share her identity and sends her a selfie of his own. Olivia is shocked by how cute he is! In a moment of panic, assuming she and Elm will never meet in real life, she sends a photo of her gorgeous friend Katie. But things are about to get even more complicated when Olivia’s parents send her to the Catskills, and she runs into the one person she never thought she would see. This sweet and funny summertime romance is perfect for fans of Love and Gelato and The Unexpected Everything.
Before I even begin, let me just tell you that the Happy Messy Scary Love is a coming of age novel which follows Olivia’s life and her self-inflicted “horrors” in her life. It is not a horror novel, it just includes characters who enjoy watching Horror movies. It is a realistic YA Contemporary Romance story. I don’t usually read Romance novels, but I was in the mood for something cute and sweet and Happy Messy Scary Love didn’t disappoint me.
Who would have thought that Olivia’s summer would turn out to be so “interesting”? Olivia herself didn’t know that one summer would turn her life upside down. Life in high school is competitive. While Olivia’s friends have sorted out their summer plans and everyone’s set to do something important, Olivia on the other hand, plans to binge watch horror movies. Without a definite plan and harbouring feelings of misery at her trivial goal, Olivia begins to lie and to cover up that lie, she tells another lie. Lies on lies keep piling up until Olivia has to decide her course of life. On Reddit, her alter ego is fascinated with Elm, another nerdy horror movie fanatic and the two hit off right away with their banter. But what would Olivia do if her online and real life were to coincide?
Olivia is one of the most relatable characters that I have come across in YA fiction. She shines throughout the book and is such a well-developed character. I could literally picture myself in her place, digging myself deeper into all the “messiness”. Her insecurities about her appearance, her low self-confidence, her feelings of jealousness from her best friend; all of it was oh so real. The time when she feels like a failure and questions herself, I really felt that.
Here’s the thing: the plot isn’t exactly original or anything. Given that it’s a coming of age novel, I wasn’t expecting the book to be any different than my own teenage life. Almost all of us goes through what Olivia experiences in the book. While I was chuckling away at her sudden nerdy jokes and mentally screaming at her for all those lies, I have to admit that I did something similar but the situation was little different in my case. When the story ultimately builds up to the climax, it was a do or die situation for Olivia. “But when push became shove”, I am glad Olivia stood by her decision and didn’t waver.
Jake was such a precious sweet boy. He acted as a constant support system for Olivia and helped her overcome her fears. While she mostly did it on her own, Jake kept her grounded, constantly cheering her on. The whole zip-lining sub-plot enhanced Olivia’s and Jake’s story. I loved the diverse range of characters. I was so happy to see that Olivia finally found a place where she could be herself and didn’t have to doubt herself.
Happy Messy Scary Love was such a fun-filled, sweet and cute book. All the characters are just so adorable. I loved the theme and the setting of the book. If you are in the mood for something light-hearted, fun-filled sweet romance story, this one’s for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leah Konen is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and creative writing. She’s the author of the forthcoming HAPPY MESSY SCARY LOVE, LOVE AND OTHER TRAIN WRECKS, THE ROMANTICS, THE LAST TIME WE WERE US and THE AFTER GIRLS. She lives in Brooklyn and Saugerties, NY, with her husband and their dog, Farley.