C.G. Drews's Reviews > Beautiful Mess

Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian
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really liked it
bookshelves: aussie-authors, contemporary, mental-illness, read-2017, young-adult

I am totally totally onboard with the title here. Because this book was thoroughly beautiful and I had FEELINGS. At least three of them. Maybe four. It was wild for a while. But yet it is also a bit of a mess, starring a really predictable and unsatisfying ending that kind of made me feel like a dead frog. HOWEVER!! I still highly loved this book! It's about depression and anxiety and it was super well written. I also just read Definitions of Indefinable Things...which is very very similar. But that was a 5star for me, so perhaps I'm just still on a high from that? WHO KNOWS.

L I K E S:

The representation of anxiety/depression is SO well done. It's dual narrated by Gideon and Ava, and they're both really struggling. Gideon with severe anxiety/depression/self harm in the past, and Ava with depression after her best friend died. I think Gideon's was written so relatably in particular. And also it's just refreshing to read books that GET IT, you know?!

Plus it has SUCH a healthy view on getting help. Therapists are not evil. Medication is good. They talk about things with parents. LOVE DOES NOT SAVE THEM. And the underline really really really heavily that hey: people aren't broken. And I think this is so important, because there seems to be this whole push in this day to say "you are broken if you are mentally ill" and you know what, I don't believe you are. You can need help and support and changes in your life to make things better but you're not broken ok. And THE TITLE AND COVER FIT IN WITH THIS!! They are the most glorious references ever. HEART EYES.
"Do you know what the Japanese say about broken things?" Robbie looks at me. "Kintsukuroi they call it. They take broken pieces of porcelain and they repair cracks with gold. Making it as it was, but new again. They believe that the cracks can make something more beautiful, more valuable."
"Is that for real?"
"Have I ever lied to you?"
"They believe that the cracks shouldn't be hidden, that they're part of their history, and should be shown. If you're going to show the cracks, why not show them beautifully."

LITERALLY MY HEART IS SO FULL OF LOVE FOR THIS BOOK, THIS MESSAGE, AND THIS WHOLESOME GOODNESS RIGHT NOW. This is the kind of mental health book I would've cried over and needed when I was a teen. I mean, I still love it IMMENSELY, even in my 20s, but like, yes please??? Can we have more books that tell kids this????

The characters were FANTASTIC. I definitely related more to Gideon and he was such a kind awkward squish. He was really funny too! And I love how he made fun of himself, but the book didn't make fun of him. Big difference there, ok. He's super anxious all the time and working hard to rebuild himself after a really rough 4 years. He ends up working with Ava at a kebab shop and they write letters because Gideon is offline. Ava was really spiky and hurting, and I loved how complex she was. She and Gideon became fRIENDS FIRST and that's important.

Oh look. NICE PARENTS. Who care! Amazing! Ava has a single father who's super lovely and Gideon has two mums who are 100% there for him. <3

The writing was engaging and honestly made me not want to put it down! I loved their voices too. Ava is all "I TAKE NO SHENANIGANS" and Gideon is all "A GIRL LOOKED AT ME AND I DIDN'T DIE WOW". They're so adorkable and gorgeous. I just adjfkaldsa.

We gotcha feels. I wouldn't call it feels breaking or anything, but it definitely made me feel happy AND sad.

It said some really brutally beautiful true things. Which is nice.
I don't think any of us are normal. We've all got shit going on, but we're all trying to convince each other that we're normal. I think it's fucked. I think it would be so much better if we were all just more honest and said when things were bad, or that we weren't okay or we were sick or we were happy or whatever.

There are LISTS!! Gideon functions in 74% lists and I think that's adorable and relatable. And I did love their letters too! Although they petered out as the book went on? But it's super cute writing to people, especially if you have anxiety because it can literally be the difference between making a friend and not -- because writing it's so much easier to get your true thoughts out. BLESS THIS BOOK FOR KNOWING WHAT ANXIETY IS LIKE.

D I S L I K E S:

•I'm a little tired of the "best friend just died" trope. Mostly because it's like in 80% of YA contemporaries these days? It's hard to connect and care about the death of a character when you don't know them at all??? Or maybe I'm an insensitive turnip.

Like I said, that ending??? EHhhhhh. It felt really predictable almost, except Gideon acted WAY out of character. And then the book just left me feeling unsatisfied. Like this could totally just be ME, wanting something specific and not getting it. But it definitely and wholly knocked it down a star for me. SADNESS. (view spoiler)
I was also confused at how Gideon had so many friends? Maybe I'm just being nit-picky or a cold hearted turnip again, but like he's SO AWKWARD and acts friendless and anxious and he's not in a bad place, but he's not particularly great??? But yet he has this huge group of friends so I just don't really understand how that worked without him freaking out about them. And for an introvert he didn't REALLY introvert very often. But ok.

ALL IN ALL: This is definitely a beautiful (har har TITLE PUN) book with such important words to say about mental health, love, and brokenness. It was bittersweet and funny and absolutely ADORABLE AND CUTE at times. The slowburn romance was my faaaavourite. Gideon made me laugh/cry simultaneously which is a feat, like well done Mr Gideon. I AM SO PLEASED THIS BOOK EXISTS and I shall smile at it fondly before my bookshelf swallows it. Aussie YA is just fairly amazing ok? OKAY.
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Reading Progress

September 1, 2017 – Shelved
September 1, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
September 3, 2017 – Started Reading
September 3, 2017 –
page 88
30.77% "that awkward moment when you want to read ALL THE THINGS but you are secretly a grandma and your eyes start burning before 10pm

September 3, 2017 –
page 188
65.73% "I get extremely and entirely excited when I read a book about mental illness and nO ONE IS BEING CURED BY LOVE."
September 3, 2017 – Shelved as: aussie-authors
September 3, 2017 – Shelved as: contemporary
September 3, 2017 – Shelved as: mental-illness
September 3, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
September 3, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 3, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Candice (new)

Candice This has had such good reviews but Ive got so any books on my TBR ... the synopsis just doesn't grab me looking forward to your review :)

C.G. Drews @Candice: It's really really good!! One of the best mental health books I've read lately. :')

Marianne Great review Cait

C.G. Drews @Marianne: thanks!

Jeanette (Latte and a Book) Can't wait to get my hands on this!

message 6: by Aisha (new) - added it

Aisha I staryed reading this and the description i had was it was a hot mess that was beginning to drag my feelings

Saskia I went out and bought this today because of your review! I'm super excited to read it for myself. :)

message 8: by Libby (new)

Libby Ooh this sounds really good! And the cover is a definite bonus. Great review Cait!

message 9: by Tiarna (new)

Tiarna Georghiou Great review! I also must say, I cannot wait to read ‘A Thousand Perfect Notes’ when it comes out !! I received a super proof as I review books for a bookshop and a few chapters of your book was in it and I am already in love!

message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Tiarna: Aww thank you! That means a lot to me. 💖

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