Review: Happy Messy Scary Love, Leah Konen

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.



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.



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!





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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

30 thoughts on “Review: Happy Messy Scary Love, Leah Konen

  1. Oh I love the sound of this one! The last book I’ve read about this sort of thing was Textrovert, and it was about a girl and a boy who ended up swapping their mobiles by accident. They start texting each other and you can probably guess what happened next 😛
    It was a really cute read at first but halfway through I became uninterested and ended up DNFing. A shame, because it was a really adorkable story!
    Anyway, I’m not sure I’m too comfortable with catfishing (although I LOVE the show) in relationships, so might skip this one. Regardless, wonderful review, Marie! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hadn’t heard of this one yet, and it sounds great! My recommendation for internet relationships is always Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. It’s just so good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this book, it was such a good one to get me out of my reading slump. I loved the simplicity of it all and the way that it all works out in the end.

    Brilliant review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think I’d mind a book with catfishing as long as the issue is handled with respect and care and not utilized just for the sake of drama. This does sound like a really cute book though and I like that even with the main focus being romantic it still take the time to establish platonic relationships as well. I’ll definitely consider this one when I’m looking for a cute read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Haven’t read this book but it really sounds like a fun read! I’m glad you enjoyed it! I like books with online relationships/friendships! I would recommend Right Text Wrong Number By Natalie Decker, Alex Approximately By Jenn Bennett, and Cinder & Ella By Kelly Oram(my favorite).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I actually recently read a book with catfishing in it, but there was no mention of it in the synopsis! I actually ended up enjoying the book, but I don’t think I’d deliberately pick up a book about catfishing. Although this book has a really pretty cover!

    On a more positive note, I just finished Technically, You Started It, which has a really cute relationship that develops over text messages!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I get that, that’s why I thought I’d mention it. Even if here, it ended up being a really sweet read overall, I know these topics can bother some people 🙂
      AHH I am so, so excited to read technically, you started it, it sounds way too good ❤
      Thank you so much, Malka! ❤


  7. I enjoyed this book. There was really a lot going on with Olivia, and like you said, it was a slow process, but it was really rewarding seeing her grow into herself and find her confidence. I thought the romance was adorable, and the setting was a lot of fun too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oooh, have you read Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett? It has a very similar plot to this book, minus the catfishing! It also explores themes of family & mental health as well & is one of my fave contemporaries of all time!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I also like books dealing with internet friendships and have been very curious about this one because I too am a bit of a horror movie fan. Most reviews I’ve seen have been pretty mixed so I’m not sure if I should give it a go or not, but thank you for thoughtful review! It’s given me a lot to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I’m happy if this could help! I don’t know much about horror movies, but I think if you know all of the references here and there you should enjoy it even more than I do 🙂
      Thank you! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great review, Marie! I love books that have internet/text relationships too, and this one sounds so cute! ❤ I'm glad that the main character developed by the end. It can be so frustrating to read a book with a character who drives you insane! Haha. One of my favorite books with a internet friendship trope in it, is Alex Approximately by Jenn Bennett! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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