A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin ARC Review

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

Heartland Academy is a place for wayward teens to find inner strength, resolve issues and take the pathway to physics and emotional heath. But if you ask most of the teen residents, they'll tell you what utter rubbish that is. It's a prison in the middle of cornfields as far as the eye can see. No internet, no television, just therapy, tailor made education and behaving yourself.

Emmy's adoptive parents had no choice, after her stint of Facebook bullying against a boy who was sexually and racially offensive. Born to Chinese parents who gave Emmy up for adoption, hearing the racial slurs each day have taken their toll. Always comparing herself to her tall, slim and blonde sister, the 'biological' child, Emmy is angry, disgusted and believes that her happiness lies within meager meals, extreme exercising and jutting hip bones, but that isn't the reason she's at Heartland. Life isn't easy when you're the self proclaimed dark, chubby china doll, adopted into the all American family as their beautiful 'Chinese Star'.

Justin didn't try to commit suicide, taking a fatal dosage amount of Tylenol was a cry for attention.Justin was caught in a compromising position with a girl he had only just met, failing classes at his previous school, the failed un-serious suicide attempt... Being an asshole is just part of the package. Justin has depression, a deep seeded hatred for his father choosing to be absent in his life and his mother marrying again adding to the already mismatched family. Justin is emotionally similar to most sixteen year old boys, he enjoys porn, girls, sarcasm and more porn, but his ability to communicate and express his feelings are destroying him.

Both Justin and Emmy are the newest residents and slot into the roles of the anorexic freak and the moping depressed kid, in their new merry band of misfits. The thirteen year old violent girl with the mouth to match. The hardcore addictive gamer, the girl with selective mutism and the boy with the identity issues. What bonds the odd group together, is the agreement that they all need something from one another. But what they didn't expect were loving, yet at times violent and jovial relationships with their group peers that they wouldn't have found if it weren't for Heartland.

A Really Awesome Mess was simply that, awesome. Told in both Emmy and Justin's points of view, the two main characters are completely different, yet find a kindred spirit in one another, seeing they've both been sent to Heartland Academy. The supporting characters are absolutely hilarious, and will have you snorting with laughter at their antics. The basis of the book surrounds the group of unlikely friends who are experiencing self loathing, mental illnesses or issues with social interaction, but yet it rises above the serious diagnosis of each teen in a positive, fun and hysterical light.

I absolutely loved it. 

A Really Awesome Mess
Written By
Expected Publication 23 / 07 / 2013
288 Pages

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