And it's easy ----- to be entered in my drawing to receive a copy of the book, all you need to do is a leave a comment on this post (about the book, about my review, etc.), including your email address, and I'll run a randomizer to choose the winner on FRIDAY, July 12th at 6:00 pm CDT. :) And sorry, this giveaway is limited to the U.S. only. The winner will be notified by me via email, so I can send their information to the publisher (so they can then send the book).
Summary (courtesy of 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.
And here's what I thought: I thought this was an entertaining read, with characters that were well-written and believable. As you can see from the summary above, we have two main characters who are at the same place, and the story is told from their direct points of view, alternating between them. The nice thing about this kind storytelling is that you get two viewpoints, from two different people, of the same things, which for me makes the story more interesting. I will admit that I liked Emmy's character a little more than Justin's, but I still found both of them to be well-written.
Some of the characters are dealing with heavy issues, and at times, I felt like those weren't quite being delved into as much as I thought they would be in real life. However, the introspection you get from both Emmy and Justin is interesting, and you get how they're working through their issues throughout the entire story. Overall, I liked the book and found it a fast read. My rating is a 3 - not because the book was bad, but because I found it a "pretty good" read and not a great one.
The one thing I will say is this: the addition of the pig into the storyline was not really believable. Does that pique your interest in reading this book? :)
First lines: "Home crappy home," I whispered under my breath. Dropping my duffel bag on the worn hardwood floor, I scanned the claustrophobic room. Above me: a low, oddly angled ceiling that made the cramped space feel like it might swallow me whole. Straight ahead: A tall, skinny window with bars on the outside, presumably so I wouldn't a) fall or b) hurl myself out of it, flanked by plain wooden dressers. To my right: Twin beds crammed into an L-shape, each with a big-ass bulletin board hanging above it. Pee-yellow walls all around.
If you'd like to know more:
Brendan Halpin’s website: http://www.brendanhalpin.com/
Trish Cook’s website: http://trishcook.com/
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