Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Really Awesome Mess [Book Review]

Disclaimer: I received a e-copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinions.

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by EgmontUSA
Find on Goodreads

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.

My Thoughts:
I really shouldn't think about this one too hard AFTER reading it because my opinion sours. A Really Awesome Mess is told from a dual point-of-view of two teenagers placed in a rehabilitation/reformatory school called Heartland Academy.

Emmy is an adopted Chinese girl who is there because of her eating disorder that she is largely in denial of and her issues with being adopted. She thinks that her family resents her presence. She was adopted after her parents tried everything to get pregnant and then ended up getting pregnant after all, so Emmy has a sister 11 months younger than her.

Justin's parents are divorced and his dad rarely gives him the time of day. He tried to fake a suicide attempt by overdosing on Tylenol, finding out after the fact that if his stomach wasn't pumped he would've been dead. He is sent to his dad's, who basically ditches him with tickets to King's Island. He meets a random girl and brings her back to his dad's house where his dad walks in on him getting a blowjob from her.

There is a whole slew of other characters like Jenny, Emmy's selectively mute roommate, and Mohammed, Justin's roommate who is a pathological liar. Add in a crazy 13 year old girl with a violence problem and a boy who gamed so hard, he actually wore diapers to refrain from taking bathroom breaks.

My issue was probably reading from Emmy's POV. Granted she does have issues and so reading her unhealthy POV is very skewed from what I might view at a 3rd person POV, but still...just not easy for me to get through. Add this to the pig part of the story and you have a book that I cannot fall in love with. A great deal of the facts are incorrect about a supposed pig fanatic, which bugged me. My mom-in-law has two mini potbellied pigs for pets, so that's where my knowledge comes from. Eating like a pig is a very accurate idiom, for all those who have never seen a pig eat. They do not eat slowly or in moderation. *off my pig soapbox*

Overall, this novel was hard for me to read and get through. It wasn't necessarily written poorly. It was definitely the characters that "ruined" it for me.

Linking up at Saturday Situation

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