Beautiful Mess won this years Text Prize and is a beautiful young adult offering – I mean just take a look at the cover. The novel centres of two lost teens. Ava is struggling, her best friend Kelly died and she finds herself throw out of school and in a strange relationships with Kelly’s brother Lincoln. Entertaining herself outside of school she finds herself working in a kebab shop where she meets Gideon. Shy, sweet Gideon who is a slam poet and shuns social media (what teenager doesn’t have a mobile phone these days? Gideon, that’s who).
I fell a little bit in love with this novel. The characters are all great. Memorable and fun but I do have to say there is a special place in my heart for dear Gideon. I adored the throwback to handwritten letters, growing up I loved hand-written letters and regularly wrote to a few pen-pals. In fact, I really feel this needs a comeback, any one want to write letters? I loved the back and forth narration from both Ava and Gideon’s point of views. It isn’t often you get the consistent back and forth and I loved navigating the innocence of first love between the two characters.
The portrayal of mental health in this was particularly important. It was realistic and truthful. Beautiful Mess deals with the honesty of being young adults in our society, in particular relationships and all they entail. I loved that the ending was not sentimental, it was raw and honest. Novels like this are important for the teens of today and Beautiful Mess is a great example of a relatable novel.
What topped it off even more was all the little aussie-isms, I mean they worked in a kebab shop? and words like “tizzy” you just don’t read anywhere else. I love that there has been such a strong movement for Australian YA as the little connections you find within the pages, such as words like “tizzy” are what make the book all the more memorable. This books was beautiful and touching and I would highly recommend it to fans of YA who want a realistic and truthful experience of what it is like to be young and in love.