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A Really Awesome Mess

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,950 ratings  ·  367 reviews
A hint of Recovery Road, a sample of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and a cut of Juno. A Really Awesome Mess is a laugh-out-loud, gut-wrenching/heart-warming story of two teenagers struggling to find love and themselves.

Two teenagers. Two very bumpy roads taken that lead to Heartland Academy.

Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl i
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by EgmontUSA
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,950 ratings  ·  367 reviews

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Disclaimer: I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.

Disclaimer le deux: This review contains slight (untagged) spoilers, sarcasm, snark, swearing and so-not-amusedness. In addition to all that S-rated material, the length takes on ranty proportions and there are pictures.

Full disclosure: my main problem with this book is its insensitive and inaccurate portrayal of eating disorders. If you enjoyed the book and think I'm being too harsh on its conten
Liz* Fashionably Late
It's a big fat NO.

Inaccurate and misogynistic.

Depression, attempt of suicide and eating disorders are serious issues and should be addressed likewise. I've seen some of these problems in people around me and there's no way we are going to reduce a girl's eating disorder to a broken heart, it's more complex than this. And for the record, boys have eating disorders too. It's not a girly issue.

The sex/rape jokes and the slut-shaming were uncalled for, the message that you have to eat healthy just b
Jul 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Here's the deal, this book is a real awesome mess.


The author seems to be aiming for a situation in which we find the characters implorable and we suddenly come to an understanding, and growth, with the characters as they develop themselves.

The problem is, that I do not believe, not for a second, that teens that are troubled - as the ones in this book - are so cruel and removed.

Not towards themselves, but towards others.

Are we really supposed to sympathize with a character who used in
Philomena Callan Cheekypee
I thought this was an interesting coming of age read.

Justin is a sixteen year old who finds himself attending Heartland Academy, a reformist school for troubled teenagers, after he takes an overdose of Tylenol. He meets Emmy there who also has her own problems.

I really liked this read. I thought it had a good storyline with great characters.
3.5 stars

On the surface, A Really Awesome Mess doesn't look like it has much to boast about. And despite my love of contemporaries, it's not necessarily something that I would usually go for. But there was a small part of me that was curious and, as often happens when it comes to me and books, that small spark of curiosity was enough to prompt me to read this. Now I can say that I have absolutely no regrets, because this proved to cover a multitude of issues, present interesting character relati
Sheri (Tangled Up In Books)
51% DNF

I made an honest attempt to make it through this book but I came to a point where I just can't take anymore.

First of all from the summary: "A hint of Recovery Road, a sample of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and a cut of Juno. " Now I've not heard of Recovery Road but I am very familiar with and adore both Nick and Norah and Juno. There is nothing even remotely close to either of those in this book except maybe character age range.

Second it's supposed to be full of humor and heartbre
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is the kind of book that will stay with me for days. Is it mind blowing no, is it beyond exciting not even a little bit, but it is about real issues and shows the true side of teens. I appreciate what Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin have written and I really wish I would have had something like this to read when I was younger.

In this story we have Justin and Emmy, 2 teens who have been sent to Heartland Academy. Heartland Academy is a reform school and they have been sent there for very diffe
Jun 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This book was kind of cute. First of all, let me just say that it gets MAJOR points for having a minority as one of the lead characters, and another minority as a supporting character. MAJOR. Honestly that's one of the reasons I liked it as much as I did, which isn't to trivialize the rest of the book, but to show how geeked I get when authors remember there are other races walking the streets!

The book centers on two teens' struggles to adapt when they are both sent to a sort of psychiatric scho

Arc provided by netgalley

DNF at 60 %

I really try not to leave books unfinished, but any more of this, and I would be the one needing psychiatric help!

To say that this didn't correspond to my expectations would be putting it mildly.

This was just unbelievable bad... in a sort of reality kids' show bad!!

I read the synopsis and it sounded like this could be something interesting: kids with very different problems coming together and helping one another.

What I got: spoiled brats who care only ab
Sofia Lazaridou
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I loved the book. I honestly wasn't expecting to like it so much but I did. I remembered why I love YA books after reading this.

Justin and Emmy are two teenagers who suffer from something that could happen to you and me. Many girls want to have the perfect figure to get to that "chic double 0" as Emmy said. Emmy wants to look like a model and is happy when she sees her bones in the mirror. She is starving herself and leading her into an early grave.So her parents decide to send her to Assland/He
Warning: If you have or have ever had an eating disorder, this book will likely be VERY triggering for you.
At first, I found myself really intrigued by this novel. Ever since I was a teen, I have adored novels that are set in psychiatric facilities and deal with mental illness. Unfortunately, after reading about 100 pages, this interest quickly turned to anger. One of the novel's main characters, Emmy suffers from an eating disorder. In the novel, not eating is shown as being Emmy's decision, n
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Review is below the PSA. Review is 100% about the book

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3.5/5 stars

A Really Awesome Mess is fun and cute, as fun and cute as you can possibly expect in a book about teenagers with mental illnesses at a boarding school for troubled teens. For a topic that's decidedly unfunny, this book reads like a lighthearted romp where it could've just as easily been a dark book about modern teens.

The story follows two points of view, Emmy, a girl adopted from China who gets expelled from her old school a
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is about 3 1/2 stars for me. (I would like Goodreads to give us options of 1/2 stars - so often I am in between ratings on books.)

A Really Awesome Mess is told from the alternating perspectives of Justin and Emmy, two teenagers who are unwilling students at Heartland Academy, a school whose purpose is to fix them (hence the unwilling part). During their time at Heartland (which is quickly given a nickname), Justin and Emmy form relationships not only with each other, but also with other stu

1.5 Stars

As the title says, this is a mess. But not an awesome one, more of a sloppily done one. There is so much that's just horribly wrong with this novel that I get mad just thinking about it. Very little in this novel actually makes sense. Very little. And that made me really sad because I actually had really high hopes for this one.

The book skips over really important stuff like Justin's relationship with his mother and step dad and there's more telling rather than showing in the story
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review. Find more reviews at The Reflections of a Bookworm

What worked: When I saw the blurb, i thought to myself, "How can a reform school for damaged souls be funny?". Cook and Halpin answered that question for me. Although A Really Awesome Mess deals with some genuinely difficult issues such as anorexia, selective mutism and depression, it also provides a story that has you in kinks. We have characters that reel you in to their group an
Nov 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a total fucking mess. So completely wrong about how people in treatment behave. Completely insensitive/not accurate eating disorder portrayals. It appears to have been written by people who have never talked to real live human teenagers before.
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this one
When Emmy arrives at Heartland Academy, a school-slash-mental institute for teens struggling with a wide range of mental health issues, she thinks her parents are happy to have finally found a way to get rid of her. In denial about her anorexia, she sees it as a needless punishment for refusing to apologise to the boy she bullied via Facebook - something she won't do because of the reasons why it all started, which she certainly can't tell anyone about. She's always thought it was just a matter ...more
Sep 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was disappointing. Don't read. ...more
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: royal-lit
"'Home crappy home,' I whispered under my breath."
First sentence of the book: cue eye-roll. If you're going to start off with that bad of an attitude, you'd better have an exceptionally good reason.
As someone who, as a teen, escaped from the real world via good (and sometimes lousy) literature, I was highly skeptical that any good, any sense of fulfillment, any truth or beauty would be revealed to me upon completion of this assuredly run-of-the-mill, lackluster, whiny, bitchy, trendy young adul
Francine Soleil
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
review originally posted here:

So I found out about this book through one of the blogs that I visited before, and when I saw it on Netgalley, I thought I should try it out. I didn’t actually read the synopsis before I started reading it so I didn’t know what to expect. The title was good enough to get me interested. I only understood the cover after reading the book, and it feels quite clinical now, but I still love it anyway. It’s simple, but it conveys a
Lottie Eve
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Really Awesome Mess is a book that will really make you think and reflect–and make you severely addicted and laugh out loud. I seldom find stories like A Really Awesome Mess, stories that touch upon serious, sometimes dark subjects, but still manage to be lighthearted, fun, witty, and highly entertaining. Because of the fact that me coming across these kind of stories are rare, I consider A Really Awesome Mess to be a real treasure.

What A Really Awesome Mess tells is the story of a group of te
May 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: contemporary, romance

Honestly, the inaccuracy of this book is appalling. The way the authors chose to portray Heartland Academy were so incredibly off it was - frankly - ridiculous. Hospitals and reform centers like this are not warm and fuzzy places where people fall in love and make friends, contrary to what Cook and Halpin seem to think. They're deep, dark, and scary places where you're secluded from your family and friends, and I'd doubt anyone would want to go there. They're like dementors - sucking the
Frk. Hyms
It had it's moments, but overall I really didn't like it. Unrealistic and filled with flaws.

Let me start by saying that focus on mental illness and problems among young people are very important and I support it highly. But it has to be done rightfully. It has to be serious without being boring and it must be realistic. A Really Awesome Mess is neither.

Both Justin and Emmy are horrible main characters. They’re selfish, naïve and obnoxious. The story changes between the two of them, but their nar
Michelle Wrona
*3.5 star rating*

"I could swear I heard Mohammed say, "Hey baby," as he closed the door. Who the hell called their mom "baby"? Well, I guess if he didn't have issues, he wouldn't be here."

If you're looking for a knockoff of It's Just A Funny Story, then pick up this book. But keep in mind that this is not even close to being classified as a "favourite" for me. It was good, but really nothing special. It's just a plain, predictable contemporary read.

How original was this. *unpleased poke
In which I was promised a "A Really Awesome Mess" and istead got two privilged, middle class bitches who cry about their perfect lives for an entire book and then make out near the end. I AM DISPLEASED I WAS EXPECTED SO MUCH MORE. As in, sympathitic/fun characters I could get behind. (Not Mr. Asswipe and his random depression which only appears in the middle of the book in order to remind the audience that he has /reasons/ to be in a place for kids with actual issues. As well as to tell us that ...more
May 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

"Yeah, that's totally badass. Not killing yourself even when you think you want to. Takes a lot more balls to stay alive, don't you think?"
We all smiled because it was the truth: Living did take a lot more guts than giving up.

In this book we follow the story of two troubled teenagers, Justin and Emily and their journey tin Heartland Academy.
Being Heartland Academy a reform school, our first thought it's what brought them there.

Justin took a handful of Tylenol, while Emily is accused of cyb
Aug 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not for me. Didn't like the writing. It was just very MEH.

1. a somewhat funny dialogue
2. diverse characters
Becky (Blogs of a Bookaholic)
The best part about this book was the cover.
soph (taylor’s version)
i would read this if i were mentally stable
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