Beautiful Mess is a book I wish I had when I was a teenager. Claire Christian’s novel is both moving and touching. This isn’t a romance novel, it’s a story that reflects on hard-hitting emotions and topics, including mental illness, grief, bullying and feeling out of place in the world.
Beautiful Mess is presented in rotating perspectives. The first is Ava, who is dealing with the loss of her best friend — who ended her life — and the loneliness she feels since losing her. She fills the void by hooking up with her friend's older brother, drinking and smoking cigarettes — until Gideon enters her life. The second perspective is Gideon, who is a slam poet and a shy year twelve student. Gideon is also receiving treatment for anxiety; poetry is the outlet he uses to express his fears, emotions and feelings. Ava and Gideon’s lives intertwine and their connection not only allows them to get to know each other, but they also learn a lot about themselves in the process.
One of the best things about the novel (side note: there are so many great things!) is how real it felt. Many adolescents and young adults can relate to the perseverance of both Ava and Gideon, as well as Lincoln. There were many moments where my emotions got the better of me and I cried, which is a testament to the author’s exquisite writing. She also writes about heavy topics such as mental illness and grief with sensitivity and avoids clichés, which is also a reflection of her talent as a writer.
Another element that I loved was the use of humour, especially in the dialogue. Humour allows the reader to connect with the characters on another level. Along with the tears, I mentioned earlier, some of the banter between Ava and Gideon gave me a laugh.
Beautiful Mess is an enchanting novel that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. If you’re looking for a novel that discusses mental illness with sensitivity, look no further than Claire Christian’s debut.
Release date: August 28th 2017 by Text Publishing