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A Messy, Beautiful Life

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Life is funny sometimes.

And not always the ha, ha kind. Like that one time where a hot guy tried to kiss me and I fell. Down. Hard. And then found out I had cancer.

I’m trying to be strong for my friends and my mom.

And I’m trying so hard to be “just friends” with that hot guy, even though he seems to want so much more. But I won’t do that to him. He’s been through this b
ebook, 239 pages
Published October 2nd 2017 by Entangled TEEN
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Theresa Alan
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love books that make me laugh out loud AND cry. There is a saying that about the connection between humor and pain, and that’s what this book proves: How to find humor from difficult situations.

This is an original novel with a great cast of characters. Ellie is a senior in high school who does improv comedy. She does improv competitions with her team against improv teams from other schools. One of the improvisers is a guy she’s crushed out over—and at a party she finds out he feels the same w
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, ebooks
A Messy, Beautiful Life!!! First things first: I received this book through NetGalley.
The book comes out october 2nd!!!
Look at me, reviewing an ARC before it's getting published. I think I'm starting to get my crap together. WHOOT!!! I wanna say right at the beginning, that I highly recommend this book to everyone, except if you want to stay away from cancer stories (something I totally understand).
Summary: Life is funny sometimes. And not always the ha, ha kind. Like that one time where a hot
Carlene Inspired
Life is funny sometimes.

And not always the ha, ha kind. Like that one time where a hot guy tried to kiss me and I fell. Down. Hard. And then found out I had cancer.

I’m trying to be strong for my friends and my mom.

And I’m trying so hard to be “just friends” with that hot guy, even though he seems to want so much more. But I won’t do that to him. He’s been through this before with his family, and I’m not going to let him watch me die.

So, I tell myself: Smile Ellie. Be funny Ellie. Don’t cry E
Greyson | Use Your Words
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

"Most people are so scared of the pain in their life, they do anything they can to avoid it, to not feel what is really there. Ignoring it merely causes a different kind of hurt."

A Messy, Beautiful life follows improv-comedian Ellie as she's about to kiss the boy but instead falls down and discovers she has a rare form of cancer. As she tries to help her friends organize a sketch for a comedy perform
Samantha (WLABB)
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, diverse, ya, contemporary
Rating: 4.5 stars

I always have good luck with Entangled books. They are usually sweet and heartwarming, but often deal with much lighter topics. I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, as cancer is a pretty weighty thing and to have to read about someone so young dealing with it, can be very difficult. I was very pleased with the way Alan dealt with the topic. She addressed it head on, but she tempered it with so many other wonderful things, that I cried more happy than sad tears.

This revi
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You don’t expect to find yourself smiling or even laughing when reading a novel about a teen who discovers she has cancer and yet I did both as I read Sara Jade Alan’s A Messy, Beautiful Life. Perhaps the reason why the author so ably writes about the topic is because A Messy, Beautiful Life is based to some extent on her own experiences.

Ellie, for the most part, is a typical teen who is discovering herself in her last year of high school. She’s funny and part of an improv group, which is how sh
lacy white
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A special thank you goes out to Entangled Teen for allowing me to read this book early. Thank you so much! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My emotions are such a jumbled mess right now. This is one of the reasons that stand alones bother me. It's because I want MORE of the characters! This book had me smiling at the adorable friendship dynamic to crying at the sadness of getting a cancer diagnosis. How unfair is life that cancer even exists? It makes my heart hurt.

Ellie was such a strong

3.5 “Fighting with Humor” Stars

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, Entangled Teen!

Even though I should've expected it, this book still took me by surprise by its funny approach on such a serious topic--and I say surprise and funny in a good way.

Comedy was the theme for A Messy, Beautiful Life. From the main character's voice to the way she dealt with her diagnosis, there was a light vibe the story maintained from start to finish.

Since Ellie and her friends were a part of an improv comedy group, the boo
Lynda Dickson
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ages 15+
Shelves: young-adult
Ellie is a member of an improv theater group and, when she meets Jason, a member of a rival improv group, they form an immediate connection. With some new friends and a huge comedy competition coming up, things are looking good, but a freak accident brings Ellie crashing down - quite literally. What happens next will break your heart into little pieces and then put it back together again.

Ellie's story is based on the author's own experiences in battling chondrosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. The
Melissa (YA Book Shelf)
From the gorgeous cover to the amazing voice that will walking the line between laughing and having the story pull on your heartstrings, I loved this book. Some of the quotes, especially toward the end spoke to me with the focus on living for the moment and appreciating what you have, like awesome legs that aren't filled with a rare type of cancer like Ellie's were. I really, really wish I could've seen Ellie on the disco ball and performing a standup show full of cancer jokes, namely because sh ...more
Issah Camille Garcia
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"His words filled my bones. He was my lucky star in this maelstrom of misfortune. I wondered how it was possible that my life was at its very best and its very worst simultaneously. Messy and beautiful. Heartbreaking and inspiring."
~A Messy Beautiful Life, Sara Jade Alan


RATING: 5 ⭐️
GENRE: Young Adult Humorous/Death and Dying

A Messy Beautiful Life is a YA contemporary novel about 17 year old Ellie who got diagnosed of having a rare type of cancer.
I really love Ellie's story, her family isn't
Wit & Wonder Books
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
***ARC received in exchange for an honest review***
A Messy, Beautiful Life, a perfect name for a perfect book. Sara Jade Alan gives you feels you’ve never imagined while reading a book. I cried, laughed, swooned, got angry, cried some more, and was left with such heartwarming sentiment and a bit of sadness when it was over.   
Ellie is in her last year of high school. High on life, living it up with her friends and preforming improv comedy shows. During one show, she is paired up with the Hot G
Tanya (Girl Plus Books)

I wondered how it was possible that my life was at its very best
and its very worst simultaneously. Messy and beautiful.

I admit I was a bit wary of this one. Novels that tackle serious illness can easily fall into mawkishness. I’m happy to report A Messy, Beautiful Life is not one of them. Yes, main character Ellie is diagnosed with cancer, but whereas some stories would then veer into saccharine clichés and overly sentimental tropes, Sara Jade Alan managed to avoid those traps and in
Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
This book was surprisingly funny. I know it's a book where the main character has cancer, but it wasn't the whole focus of the book which I loved.

Early on, cancer isn't mentioned. The first part of the book allows the readers to really get to know the amazing people in this book. Ellie is hilarious and inspirational. She is in high school living with mom. Her dad had remarried and she has a step brother, Craig. Ellie's dad kind of bailed with her somewhat crazy step mom and left Craig back home
Nov 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnfed
I just couldn't get into this book. ...more
Victoria Bunce
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Please note: I received a copy of A MESSY, BEAUTIFUL LIFE from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publisher and author.

Five stars and here’s why:

Is it possible to cry and laugh so many times with one book? Because I read it all at once and ended up doing both. I couldn’t put it down. At first, I didn’t know what to expect because Ellie is the main character and she has cancer. But her snark and sassy attitude keep us rooted to the story because this is real life. There’
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Messy Beautiful Life is one of those reads that has you excited for bedtime, just so you can tuck back into the next chapter. Kind, sharp and quirkily-funny Ellie is the kind of heroine I love—with a gang of friends whose whipsmart back-and-forth and clear affection for one another makes you remember how high school can be this beautiful clutter of small and large moments…first loves, great disses and comebacks, disinterested parents, Marshmallow Mateys, text messages and of course, some devas ...more
Jackie Turner
I finished this e-arc that Netgalley and Entangled Teen a few days ago but I've fallen ill and with that comes writer's block. I apologize in advance for anything in this review that may not make complete sense.

First off, I absolutely loved the story to this. It shows that bad things can happen but that there's always some ounce of good happening at that same moment.

The book told Ellie's battle with her own form of cancer in her femur and that some cannot be treated the way we usually think whe
Travis Luther
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In a YA novel about high school, one expects to read about the everyday struggles of teens - the teasing, the insecurity, the isolation. We also expect a happy ending in which the one awkward kid finds a way to survive and thrive. But what happens when those struggles are a matter of life and death? Well, they're usually not very funny! But Sara Jade Alan has found a way to inject humor into a story that turns real tragedy into triumph - and in a way that doesn't scare us off, but rather sucks u ...more
“A Messy, Beautiful Life” tossed my emotions around like a clothes dryer, wrung them, flipped them upside down, and tossed them out. It’s a book about cancer, but not at all like any of the other books you probably had pop into your mind. Everything about it feels so real. I felt their joy and their pain, and I am not ashamed to admit that I cried like a baby. Highly recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Eve beinguniquebooks
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ellie, Quinn and Hana are best friends who form an improve group, at a comedy club where at one of their events they meet Jason who Ellie in particular notices only what should be a great night at a party soon after they meet becomes a nightmare when she collapses in agony as her leg gives way.

However, when she finds out she has cancer, life changes and so does the situation as she finds out she has a tumour growing in her leg. Unsure how Jason will react as he lost his mum to breast cancer not
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara is about Ellie and her life. Ellie does comedy improvs as a hobby/school thing, which is very unique and different from any of the other YA books I have read. Her parents are divorced and from that divorce came remarriage and a new step brother for Ellie. So, she is living a fairly normal, contemporary teenaged life. That is, until one day when she decides to fall, hurt her leg, and instead of the test results coming back with 'broken' leg they came back with 'can ...more
Rhonda Ziglar
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 A MESSY, BEAUTIFUL LIFE STARS!! This book was fantastic it had all the feels from laughing out loud to crying. The story is so beautifully written, Sara Jade Alan did a fabulous job. I loved Ellie, she was the perfect character. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
Roni Loren
Mar 22, 2018 added it
Shelves: ya, sweet, romantic
I am usually wary of any books that focus on illness (personal phobia thing - I can't watch medical shows either) but I read a sample of this book and loved the voice, so I decided to give it a try. The book was SO good. Funny and touching and sweet. Adored it! I really liked the inside peek into improv comedy too. ...more
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: source-netgalley
This review and other related shenanigans are also posted here

“A Messy, Beautiful Life”concerns Ellie Hartwood, a seventeen year old leader of her school’s improv group, Spontaneous Combustion. At the start of the book, her team is sharing the stage with another school’s improv group, Scared Scriptless, where she met Jason. Ellie and Jason have undeniable chemistry and connection not only in their stage performance but in romance department as well. But then Ellie is diagnosed with cancer and Ja
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK IS SO INCREDIBLE! I immediately fell in love with its quick-witted dialogue, hilarity, and emotional moments. This book about love, life, and everything in between made me laugh out loud and then cry just as loudly.

Ellie’s story is heartbreaking and yet all at once courageously funny. The ups and downs of falling in love with a boy whose mom passed away from cancer while you yourself find out you have cancer are unique and yet strangely beautiful. This book gives me shivers of happines
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
'A Messy, Beautiful Life' made me cry so many times as it made me laugh. I read it all at one go because I couldn't let go. It's a book mostly about first love and cancer, but you will find also a lot about relations among people and about a loss of your beloved one. Ellie is the main character here, the cancer girl, who at some point feels that luck has completely abandoned her, but thanks to her devoted friends she finds out that there's a lot of beauty and love surrounding her, and that she i ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Ellie is a seventeen-year-old whose only care in life is doing an improv/comedy show just announced that could win her and her improv group a spot on Comedy Hub’s website and $500 to split between them. What she doesn’t expect is that a fall at a party will lead to finding out she may have cancer and the options for treating that cancer aren’t as straightforward as expected.

A Messy, Beautiful Life is one of those books that makes you laugh AND cry. Cry because while it’s stupid to say someone do
Sep 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017

The two aspects that inspired me to read Sara Jade Alan's A Messy, Beautiful Life? The cover and title of course! Both were incredibly eye-catching, and there's just something so relatable in the tittle because life IS messy AND beautiful!

The result? Equal parts witty, relatable, and poignant, A Messy, Beautiful Life explores what makes a life worth living when the world seems to be completely and utterly against you.

A Messy, Beautiful Life introduces us to Ellie, just your everyday high
books are love
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Received in exchange for a honest review.

this book is absolutely wonderful. You have such a sad topic but the humour has you laughing so hard your side hurts and you cry.

This is the story of the journey of Ellie. How she deals with a time in her life where she is challenged. Challenged by something that has you just feel gutted for her. A time where she finds a boy who fights for her and is there for her even when it hurts, friends that stand by her and are her support, a stepbrother who shows
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Sara Jade Alan wrote her first comedy sketch during second-grade recess, then cast it, directed it, and made costumes out of garbage bags. Since then she's performed in more than a thousand improvised and scripted shows. Currently she's one half the comedy duo The Novelistas, who perform about the highs and lows of writing and publishing. Raised in a suburb of Chicago, Sara now lives in Colorado w ...more

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