Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: A Messy, Beautiful Life - Sara Jade Alan

A Messy, Beautiful Life
by Sara Jade Alan
Published: October 2nd 2017 by Entangled TEEN
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

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 Ellie, because once I start, I might not stop.
4 Stars

I picked up A Messy, Beautiful Life after I had one of those weeks that weighs on you. I wasn't in the mood for anything, but I was down about some things in my life and wanted to live in someone else's. A Messy, Beautiful Life not only made me take a look at my own life, but it made me both laugh and cry. It's a novel full of emotions, about the struggling of accepting what life hands you and seeing it as a gift, even if that gift isn't exactly what you had hoped for expected. Ellie's life has handed her cancer, a boy who's been through it before with her family, and a group of friends that can cheer anyone up.

"My whole body was light and bubbly. And his lips felt amazing, more amazing than anything I could have imagined."

Sara Jade Alan took me on a journey, one that made me laugh, made me reminisce about my youth,
made me cry (a lot), and made me so thankful for this life we've been given. She tackles the emotions of high school, of first love, and that first big challenge so perfectly. I felt like I was Ellie at times, struggling to accept the prognosis I'd been given, and at other times I felt like her friends, trying so hard to make my friend feel some sort of happiness. On top of all that is the little world that Sara Jade Alan created. A Messy, Beautiful Life takes place during Ellie's senior year of high school. She's not typical though, she's awkward with boys, very smart, and her hobby is improv. I never expected to enjoy a novel about improv, something I usually don't understand, so much. I laughed so hard envisioning a bunch of teens acting out the silly things the characters did. It felt just like high school, that time when the world seems so big and your future is ripe for the picking. It also made the story come to life, it took it from a sad novel about overcoming cancer to a story about the friends and family that help you through the hard stuff in any way they can.

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

A Messy, Beautiful Life is one of those books that I just needed to read and it was right there when I needed it to be. From the very beginning I was hooked, loving just how cute that first spark of a crush was described. Sara Jade Alan can write, the story flowed just right, and every single subplot in the novel was executed perfectly. I was so in tune with my own feelings as I read and found myself being lifted up by the spirited friends Ellie had in her childhood friends, her new friends, her crush, her mom, and even her surprisingly amazing stepbrother. A Messy, Beautiful life tackles all the bad parts of the book with so much good and really, it is quite a beautiful read. I suggest this one to readers of all ages.

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