Don’t have time to read the entire review? That’s okay! Scroll down to the very end for a TL;DR.
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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.
Happy Messy Scary Love had so much potential, but it didn’t live up to any of it for me. For the most part, the plot was great and I enjoyed the story that was taking place. I just wish the execution had been better. Leah Konen’s dialogue was incredibly repetitive. It felt like the characters were having the same conversations over and over again which left them often not saying much to propel the story forward.
This is only one step of your story.happy messy scary love by leah konen
Olivia and Jake, the two main characters, were extremely likable. I didn’t always agree with the decisions they made but I was able to understand the why behind their actions. At the beginning of the book we are introduced to quite a few of Olivia’s friends, but by the end, most of them had disappeared. I really wish they had been a bigger part of the story. The one friend of Olivia’s that stuck around, Katie, was horrible. She came off as rude the entire book and didn’t treat Olivia kindly at all.
One of the things I liked most about this book was the humor! It was right up my alley and had me smiling often. There were also bits of the screenplay Olivia was writing in between some of the chapters and I loved reading those. I only remember there being maybe three or four of them? When I think of how many chapters there were I definitely wish there had been more of the screenplay shown.
Don’t look down, only up.happy messy scary love by leah konen
Overall, this was a quick read that is great for a lazy summer afternoon. If anybody were to ask me about it I certainly wouldn’t discourage them from picking it up and giving it a go. In this instance, it seems more of an it’s not you it’s me scenario. I just don’t think Leah Konen’s writing style mixes well with who I am as a reader, and that’s okay!
TL;DR: Great humor and likable main characters make this a quick read for a lazy summer afternoon. The writing style wasn’t for me, but hopefully, it’s for you!
A physical ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Additionally, all quotes should be checked for accuracy against the final published novel.