There are no spoilers in this review.
Happy Messy Scary Love is the kind of read that’s perfect, if you’re looking for something quick and fun to read for summertime.
AN INTERNET FRIENDSHIP GROWING COMPLICATED
I really like books dealing with internet friendships and relationships, as this is something I’ve known for a big part of my life and something I cherish, too, so in that way, Happy, Messy, Scary Love was lovely to read. Olivia and Jake met on Reddit forums and bonded over their shared love of horror movies and, through conversations and time, slowly became friends. When Jake sends Olivia a picture of him, she panics and ends up sending a picture of her best friend Kate, instead of herself, something that creates very complicated and awkward situations as Olivia realizes Jake is right here, at that very same place she is working on for summer holidays. If the plot was fun overall, I have to admit that it’s not that unique and, to be completely honest, I am most definitely not a fan of catfishing. Yet, Happy Messy Scary Love proved itself to be a fun read overall and I ended up enjoying reading this messy adventure a whole lot.
ENDEARING MAIN CHARACTER AND GREAT FRIENDSHIPS & PARENTS
Our main character, Olivia, is far from being flawless and that’s what I appreciated and what frustrated me at the same time. I can’t condemn a book character for being human and acting human, that’s for sure, yet I didn’t completely agree with the main character’s decisions and ways of dealing with things, which made me want to reach into the book and SCREAM at her. That being said, I mostly found Olivia endearing and relatable through it all, too, and her character arc was lovely. Slowly but surely, she gained confidence, she grew and changed and I appreciated that so much.
Another element I appreciated in this book is that, despite being focused on the romance, it leaves some space for the friendships and parents/children relationship, just as well. I really liked the importance of friendship in this book, the closeness between Kate and Olivia, the way they supported each other and, yes, the way they fought, too. Their friendship felt realistic and endearing and it was one of my favorite aspects of the book for sure. When it comes to the parents: they are trying to be supportive, trying to do their very best for Olivia and, between the dinners together and the talks, I appreciated just having the parents present, too. I also loved how close Olivia was to her aunt.
Happy Messy Scary Love has a romance at its heart, yes, and a very complicated one. If I didn’t entirely nodded my head all along as Olivia dig herself deeper and deeper into the mess she had made, I found myself slowly melting for her and Jake’s relationship anyway. Awkward, endearing, from first meetings to swimming in small, hidden creeks and car rides, I really appreciated their relationship right from the start, which made it all the more frustrating, sometimes.
Overall, Happy Messy Scary Love is a wonderfully fun read if you don’t mind a book with a little bit of catfishing. I really enjoyed Olivia’s growth through the story and see her gaining confidence and I appreciated the strong friendships and family role into the story, too. If you’re looking for a quick and entertaining read, I’d definitely recommend it!
Final rating: 3,5 drops!
A million thanks to Amulet Books UK for sending me a free review copy of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and ratings.
Trigger warnings: catfishing – let me know if you found some other trigger warnings!.
Diversity: bisexual side character (Steinway).
Leah Konen, Happy Messy Scary Love, Published on May, 14th, 2019 by Amulet Books.
As everyone at her Brooklyn high school announces their summer adventures, Olivia harbors a dirty secret: Her plan is to binge-watch horror movies and chat with her online friend, Elm. Olivia and Elm have never shared personal details, apart from their ages and the fact that Elm’s aunt is a low-budget horror filmmaker. Then Elm pushes Olivia to share her identity and sends her a selfie of his own. Olivia is shocked by how cute he is! In a moment of panic, assuming she and Elm will never meet in real life, she sends a photo of her gorgeous friend Katie. But things are about to get even more complicated when Olivia’s parents send her to the Catskills, and she runs into the one person she never thought she would see. This sweet and funny summertime romance is perfect for fans of Love and Gelato and The Unexpected Everything.
Did you read Happy Messy Scary Love? Do you want to?
What are some books with internet friendships / online or texting relationships that you would recommend? I’d love to hear from you in comments!