Review: A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
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.

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 school student. She loves her best friends, she finds her step brother infuriating, and she hopes that the boy she's just meet likes her as much as she likes him....normal, right? What's not normal, however, is the pain she's been feeling...the pain that turns out to be none other than a rare form of cancer.

I found Ellie's voice to be raw, fresh, and captivating. There was just something so utterly real about her, and that's what broke my heart even more when she received her diagnosis. Here's this girl that's never done anything wrong - just done her best to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student - but's been handed one of the worst cards in life possible. However, unlike most people, Ellie's never lets it get her down too much. Sure, she has moments where she cries her eyes out, but Ellie also never once stops living. I admired that greatly about her. I admired the fact that she got right on those crutches and made them work, that she allowed herself to still open up to the boy she liked, and that she even began to rely on and put trust in the person she never thought she would - her annoying yet weirdly sweet step brother. She may have been given a horrible diagnose, but it also gave her the right push to "grow up" and have a memorable coming-of-age.

A Messy, Beautiful Live tackles a lot - the many meanings the word 'family' can have, the high that comes from falling in love for the first time, learning to deal with the hard stuff in life, and having a hobby that is so completely your thing. While some books can't always handle such a high array of topics, A Messy, Beautiful Life managed to do the impossible - make the topics well developed and unique. One of my favorite topics of this book was family....over the course of A Messy, Beautiful Life, Ellie takes on an interesting family dynamic, as her mother, step-brother, and friends form her support group while her dad and step-mom are often no where to be found. While her dad's involvement angered me at times, I liked that Sara showed that a family doesn't have to be blood - that sometimes the people who aren't blood related are the ones who will stick up for you the most, no matter the cost. I especially loved the relationship that formed between Ellie and her step-brother. It included the typical sibling love/hate thing, but it worked so well for the book.

The one area of this book, though, that brought it down a few steps in my eyes was the romance. Okay, Jason was a great guy, especially when he would drop everything to be by Ellie's side...but sometimes he was just TOO PERFECT. Honestly, I don't think this guy had one breakdown/freakout the entire book, and while part of me would live to live in an ideal world like that, it's hard to accept that a boy, especially someone who's new to Ellie's, live would be so willing to be so utterly charming and perfect when life is just so messy.

Regardless, A Messy, Beautiful Life is well worth a read....Sara Jade Alan does a beautiful job of capturing the many facets that encompass a 'beautiful' and 'messy' life while introducing a cast of characters you can't help but adore.

Grade: B 

A Messy, Beautiful Life is now out!

Source: eARC provide by publisher - thanks EntangledTeen!

Buy Links:

Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks 

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