Monday, May 6, 2019

Happy Messy Scary Love by Leah Konen-- Cute, Fun, but Done Before

Happy Messy Scary Love

Olivia spends her spare time watching horror movies and talking about them on Reddit.  She's even formed a friendship (and maybe a crush?) on a fellow horror-fan there.  Although, in a panic she's sent him a picture of her best friend instead of one of herself.

When her summer plans fall through, this indoor girl ends up in the Catskills working at an outdoors job.  And on her first day, guess who happens to be working there too??  None other than her Reddit friend, Elm aka Jake!!  He doesn't recognize her (due to the picture switch), so Olivia decides to not say anything about it either.

She works and flirts with Jake by day as Olivia: "girl who hates horror", and talks about movies with him by night as Carrie: "future horror screenplay writer".  This isn't going to turn into a shit-spiral.... no way!!

I want to start by saying Happy Messy Scary Love was an adorable book and I really enjoyed reading it.  It was written in a way that brought me in and got me invested in the story, however unbelievable that story was...

If I didn't stop and actively think about it, it was easy to just fall in with the characters and the inevitable downfall of Olivia's "plan".  I'm a thinker though, so I did eventually pause and note the fact that this scenario was pretty far-fetched.  We're supposed to believe that Olivia, who lives in Brooklyn, meets a guy from North Carolina on Reddit-- and they both coincidentally end up in the Catskills working at the same outdoor zip-line tour company, without either of them knowing beforehand.  The world is not that small.

Also, instead of just TELLING Jake that she is the girl he's been chatting with (which is what EVERYONE ON PLANET EARTH WOULD DO), she pretends she doesn't know him and starts pretending to be someone different in real life in order to differentiate herself from her online self.  It was just head-shaking behavior.

Putting that out of my head, the romance was cute.  Olivia and Jake had real chemistry (online and in real life), and I loved how aware Olivia was of it.  She was self-conscious, obviously, but she wasn't one of those people who have zero awareness about a connection they are making with someone.

The thing is, I've read this book before.  And yeah, I like reading books like these every now and again-- but I want the story to be different in some sort of way from the other stories.  I didn't find that here.  That also takes the surprise-factor out of it, because I knew how this was going to go.

By the time the best friend, Katie, shows up to help push along the big blow-up, I was thinking it was time to wrap this book up.  It kind of goes on a little too long where the characters go on and on about horror movies (sometimes out loud and sometimes in their heads) because they literally have nothing else to do but wait for this lie to come out.  Speaking of BFF Katie-- I HATED her.  Maybe it's just me, but OMFG this girl was awful and the book kept telling me she was wonderful.  Just no.

Maybe if they were working somewhere that pertained to horror movies, the coincidence would make sense.  Maybe if Olivia didn't try to pretend she didn't like horror and be a different person, I would've been more on board with the lie.  Maybe if the story was somehow different from all the other "You've Got Mail" retellings.  I have a lot of maybes here, but somehow I still really enjoyed reading this book?!?!?

OVERALL: It's cute, it's light, it's fun.  It's been done before.  I've read this exact book before with different characters and settings.  Luckily it was written in a way that allowed me to fall into it without being too bored or annoyed, but I still don't think that makes up for an unbelievable/unoriginal story.  I do recommend it due to it being completely readable and fun, but if you're into YA Contemporary Romance, be ready for déjà vu.

Date Published: 5/14/2019
How I got this book: Thank you to ABRAMS for sending me a finished copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Amulet Books

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Character: Olivia Knight
Book: There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

  • I think Stephanie Perkins tried to play with the horror genre by combining Horror with Contemporary Romance-- and I think this is right up Olivia's alley.


  1. I liked this a little more than you did. I never have trouble suspending belief, when I read a book. I loved Jake, both the Brooklyn and Catskill setting (since I grew up living in/visiting both areas), and Konen pulled in a lot of classic horror, which I thought was great. The story was cute and fun, and I liked the characters, so it was a good read for me.

  2. I enjoyed Leah Konen's previous book, so I hoped this one would be as enjoyable. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one, but I'm a thinker too and the scenario does feel too far fetched. I'm not sure I will like this one as much as I hoped, so thank you for sharing! :)

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

  3. It’s an interesting book, but sometimes it seemed to me that something was wrong with Jake. As if he went to took a pill from there and did not calculate the dose.
    But the book is good, and you can read it.

  4. A romantic and fascinating story. I read books like this from time to time. This creates a light mood. You can empathize with the heroes. Great review. Thank.

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