This started out as a cute book and sort of reminded me of the Wattpad days…
Happy Messy Scary Love, follows the story of Olivia throughout summer vacation. While her friends are off doing exotic things she’s left in the mountains watching horror movies and interacting with the Reddit Horror Community. Once her mom finds her a summer job, she has to take it. Only then things go downhill (haha get the pun? Mountains? No? Okay.) One of Olivia’s closest friends from Reddit, Elm, is there too, but he doesn’t know it’s Olivia because she sent a photo of someone else. Catfished? I say yes… poor guy. Things only get worse when Olivia’s best friend rocks up to surprise her and someone else.
Thank you to NetGalley and The Abrams Books Team who approved my request to review this book. In no way does receiving this book, influence my opinion. First, what drew me to the book was the cover itself! I’m a sucker for beautiful typography and pretty color schemes. The title intrigued me too, so I was happy that I got to review this book!
Leah Konen started off the story pretty well. At the start, it didn’t drag into summer break—there was only one scene of school then POOF summer was here! That made me read quickly as Olivia instantly got online and into the horror fan base. The amount of horror movies and techniques used in this was awesome. It stayed on track. I can see that Konen did her homework with that one. At times I’d read and feel left out because I’m not that into horror but these two characters made me think I needed to get into it! Once the climax reached, it sort of dragged from there. There were a few fillers scenes that could be left out as they repeated it. There weren’t any huge subplots, I guess that’s what made it more boring. I thought Olivia’s and Katie’s friendship would’ve been a subplot but it was a minor complication.
I related to Olivia, not only because she was a writer herself but because she was insecure. I’ve read past reviews who found it absurd that she sent a photo of her friend (Katie) instead of herself. I wouldn't have the guts either way. I felt her lack of confidence. Then again, when Katie found out she said Olivia was curvy and pretty—blind to see her beauty. That pushed me off a little.
Onto Katie herself who I actually wasn’t fond of. In the beginning she was okay then Olivia just preachedKatie. It’s like she was asking for it. Katie was bossy and controlling, especially with Elm. I felt so sorry for him at times, I wouldn't be able to see him, let alone become friends with him if I was lying to his face every day. Katie was into acting so she took things too far and played the victim afterward… all the time. Yikes, like give Olivia a break, it’s her first guy friend.
I loved the side characters like Olivia’s aunt, father, her coworkers although I think the author added a queer character just to make it a bit different even though she didn’t contribute much. It seemed like some of them just filled the gap of summer break, meeting new people kind of vibe.
At first I thought friendship would be a central theme in this novel but I guess not. It was more of a coming out of your shell and comfort zone. Olivia gained the confidence in different ways just not in the most important way as to grow the courage to tell Elm the truth.
Other than that, I adored the conversations between Elm and Olivia whose name I remembered now was Carrie, online. There wasn’t too much or too little. The ending didn’t surprise me either; it was one or the other. As for this, I've decided to give this book a rating of three stars.