Sponsored Post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Egmont USA and Netgalley.
Blurb (from 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 rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Egmont USA and Netgalley.)
16-year-old Emmy is Chinese, but her parents aren’t, and it’s causing her all sorts of problems. Emmy was adopted from an orphanage in China as a baby, and her adoptive parents then got pregnant naturally. Now she’s ¼ of a perfect blond family, who look absolutely nothing like her.
This wouldn’t be such a problem if the people at school didn’t make it a problem. But they bullied her about it, so she made some nasty comments back, and then she got kicked out of school.
Now she’s stuck at ‘Assland’ Academy (AKA Heartland Academy) because she’s ‘angry’, but all she thinks she’s angry about is the fact that she’s bullied for being the odd one out. Oh, and she’s not anorexic either, she just doesn’t want to be fat.
16-year-old Justin is new at ‘Assland’ Academy too. His dad caught him getting sexual favours from a girl whose name he didn’t even know, and then he took an overdose of Tylenol – not to kill himself, just as a cry for help. He may feel numb, but he certainly doesn’t need to be taking ‘Sexual Reactivity’ classes either.
Both Emmy and Justin don’t want to be at ‘Assland’ Academy, but they’re both stuck there anyway, and they both have their own problems to work out.
Do Emmy’s family really not love her? Is she really anorexic? Should Justin be in the Sexual Reactivity class? And can Justin and Emmy benefit from the people and students at ‘Assland’ Academy?
This was an interesting book that was actually quite funny in places.
I felt really sorry for Emmy, she had obviously been bullied, and I couldn’t really blame her for wanting to get a little payback. This bullying wasn’t just making her feel bad, it was also undermining her relationship with her parents and making her feel unloved, which had really pushed her over the edge.
Justin seemed to be acting out because really he needed help. His depression wasn’t obvious, it was more a background sort of thing, but in the end it was obvious that he was suffering.
The thing that I appreciated most about this book was its humour. Even though these kids were in a pretty poor position, they actually managed to make light of their situation at times, and some of the jokes were actually quite funny.
I loved how Justin took the punishment of losing ‘points’, and turned it into ‘Ten points from Gryffindor!’, and how when the therapist questioned him about whether he would place himself in Gryffindor house, he told her that he’d ‘sort himself right next to Emma Watson’.
The storyline in this book was okay, and it was nice to see how the kids at the academy improved through their relationships with one another. I also liked the storyline about the pet pig, which was another key part of the story.
The ending was also alright, and it was obvious the steps that both Emmy and Justin and the other kids had made on the road to recovery.
Overall; a funny, coming-of-age story.
7 out of 10.
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