A Really Awesome Mess


How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Egmont USA


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.


A Really Awesome Mess was a quick, easy and funny (at times!) book. I requested it because I often need a laugh out loud book in-between some of the deeper, darker books that I read. It’s an engaging enough read, but I wouldn’t really call it memorable.

Most of the story takes place at Heartland Academy which is a reform school in the middle of nowhere. This is where the book does deal with some tough issues, mental and health issues, such as eating disorders, depression and anger management. It’s not dealt with in a way that makes the story feel bleak though which makes it much easier to read without having to think too much about what’s going on. I like to read a book every now and then which I can just enjoy for what it is. It is a tad unrealistic but this is, for me, what made it funny.

The characters do come with a lot of issues. They don’t come across as likeable, but they’re amusing. They hold the reader’s attention. I liked reading Emmy and Justin’s point of view, so it was nice to have the alternate point of view narration. The reader meets other secondary characters who are also quite funny. Some of the best moments in the book were the group sessions.

I did enjoy reading A Really Awesome Mess. It’s uncomplicated. It lifted my mood, but as I mentioned, I don’t think it will be one of my most memorable reads this year. It’s incredibly readable, entertaining and funny. It’s worth checking out.

Would I recommend it?:

Reading next:

Losing Hope- Colleen Hoover