A Really Awesome Mess is a wittily written novel following the antics of two teens shipped off to Heartland Academy, a place for kids with every color of the rainbow in mental problems. During their journey to peace and wholeness, the duo overcome feelings for one another whilst scheming and unknowingly bonding with a group of ragtag teens, including a young girl with anger problems, a compulsive liar, a mute, and a video game addict. It's a tale of admitting and accepting problems and allowing others to help with those problems.
A Really Awesome Mess dealt with some pretty deep topics. Themes such as anorexia, bulimia, sexual activity, and depression were often brought up. The authors did an okay job with these sometimes difficult to navigate subjects; however, they could've done much better. For this reason, I'd advise people with triggers to tread lightly into this book. At times, the sheer frankness of one of the main characters (Emmy) made me cringe. Towards the end of the book, this problem ceased. But allow me to restate this; tread lightly into this book with the knowledge that the main character's have some potentially hurtful opinions.
Teenage love seemed as if it were supposed to be a big part of the book, but it didn't really come up all that much, and when it did, I became increasingly frustrated. This may be attributed to the fact that teenage love is an irritating topic in general to me, but it just seemed much more so in this book than any other. I knew that the authors wanted to get at a touching tale of two love-stricken, mentally screwed teens, but I feel that it should have been a bigger aspect to really accomplish that feat. This wasn't so. The opportunity seemed missed in my eyes---the main part of their 'love' that I noticed was how rushed it was.
Another angle of this book I did not like was the dialogue; it was sloppy and unrealistic. There seemed to be nothing normal said. Real people say mindless things and rant and talk about random things. Everything said by this book's characters was for the sole purpose of progressing the plot. Now, this is a personal opinion, just as every other part of this review is, so other people may not have a problem with this. It was just something I noticed and wanted to point out.
My last issue with this book was how unrealistic and cliche it was. The officials at Heartland were irresponsible and wishy-washy and completely unlike how it would be in real life. So many things slipped them by and many actions went without consequence. I was a bit shocked at how blatantly played down some things were.
Overall, this book was a miss for me. I was excited to read about these two teens and become attached to them as I normally do with characters, but it was near impossible for me to like this duo. I couldn't support them and hope for good for them---I tried and tried, I did. Basically, there were so many aspects of this book that could've been turned into something utterly phenomenal, but sadly, they were overlooked.
Ugh, this book is just oozing with potential.