This young adult contemporary romance was a quick, enjoyable read—and I’m looking forward to checking out other books by this author.
Don’t miss my playlist inspired by the book + the giveaway at the end of this post!
Happy Messy Scary Love by Leah Konen
Publisher: Amulet Books Release Date: May 14, 2019 Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
As everyone at her Brooklyn high school announces their summer adventures, Olivia harbors a dirty secret: Her plan is to binge-watch horror movies and chat with her online friend, Elm. Olivia and Elm have never shared personal details, apart from their ages and the fact that Elm’s aunt is a low-budget horror filmmaker. Then Elm pushes Olivia to share her identity and sends her a selfie of his own. Olivia is shocked by how cute he is! In a moment of panic, assuming she and Elm will never meet in real life, she sends a photo of her gorgeous friend Katie. But things are about to get even more complicated when Olivia’s parents send her to the Catskills, and she runs into the one person she never thought she would see. This sweet and funny summertime romance is perfect for fans of Love and Gelato and The Unexpected Everything.
About the Author
Leah Konen is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and creative writing. She’s the author of the forthcoming Happy Messy Scary Love, Love and Other Train Wrecks, The Romantics, The Last Time We Were Us, and The After Girls. She lives in Brooklyn and Saugerties, NY with her husband and their dog, Farley.
This book gave me what I came for: sweet first love, horror film enthusiasts, romantic tension, and a hint of adventure.
However, I never suspended my sense of disbelief about the plot. I found the chance meet up too unrealistic, which the writing and build up could have amended. Though I enjoyed the book overall, I didn’t enjoy the characters. For those reasons, I gave the book 3 stars.
I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a quick summer read! ☀️
Okay, reader friends. I’m so excited to share this post—another book’s blog tour! 😆
I was sent The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena in exchange for an honest review in collaboration with the Fantastic Flying Book Club, and let me just say: I honestly loved this book.
I feel so lucky that I’m a part of this tour because I don’t know if I would otherwise have picked up this book. Now I can’t wait to tell everyone to pick it up! 🖤
Plus, my partner Kelvin also chose this book for me to read this spring in a recent video on my BookTube channel, MY LOVE CHOOSES MY SPRING TBR. One book down, four more to go.👍🏻
Also, don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post!
The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux ReleaseDate: February 26, 2019 Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Susan is the new girl—she’s
sharp and driven, and strives to meet her parents’ expectations of
excellence. Malcolm is the bad boy—he started raising hell at age fifteen,
after his mom died of cancer, and has had a reputation ever since.
Susan’s parents are on the
verge of divorce. Malcolm’s dad is a known adulterer.
Susan hasn’t told anyone,
but she wants to be an artist. Malcolm doesn’t know what he wants—until he
Love is messy and families
are messier, but in spite of their burdens, Susan and Malcolm fall for each
other. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to
family, culture, and being true to who you are.
About the Author
Tanaz Bhathena was born in India and raised in Saudi Arabia and Canada. Her critically acclaimed novel A Girl Like That was nominated for the 2019 OLA White Pine Award and named a Best Book of 2018 by The Globe and Mail, CBC, Quill & Quire, Seventeen, PopSugar, and The Times of India among others. Her second novel The Beauty of the Moment releases on Feb 26 2019. Her short stories have appeared in various journals including Blackbird, Witness and Room.
A wanderer at heart, Tanaz can often be found travelling to different countries, learning bits and pieces of a foreign language, and taking way too many photographs. She loves slapstick comedies and any kind of music that makes her dance. She lives in the Toronto area with her family.
So I read this book in a day. I fell for our main characters Susan and Malcolm, their struggles, their messy and complicated relationships with their family and friends, their hopes. Ugh. It all felt real and brought me back to my own high school experiences.
Still, though I may have been nervous to drive and fought with my parents and not had many friends and fell in love in high school, Susan Thomas’ life experience is so different from my own.
Susan immigrates from Saudi Arabia to Canada, and I still live in the same small town I grew up in. I never changed schools growing up let alone changed the country on my address.
But I was with Susan as she started her new school. I was with her when she talked to her first crush. I was with her when her friend Alisha back home began to grow distant in their calls. I was with her when her parents didn’t understand or support her dream of going to art school. Her heartbreak, her disappointments, her successes, her breakthroughs—I was with Susan every page of this book. I empathized for her, worried for her, cheered for her. Susan was such a likeable, endearing main character. 🖤
Through the course of the novel, Susan works through adjusting to a new culture while confronting stereotypes, ignorance, and her own loneliness. I especially appreciated the following passages:
“He talks about becoming Canadian like it’s a destination: a utopia of privilege that comes with a first world citizenship, a house instead of an apartment, two cars, and a dog in the backyard.”
“We didn’t go to school on camels, if that’s what you’re wondering…I always get that look from people when I tell them I lived there. Like I was living in some primitive magic-carpet land and not a cosmopolitan city with beaches and highways and malls a population of nearly three million.
“It does not matter that Malcolm and I share skin tones. Everything about him screams Canadian, from the way he speaks to the way he dresses to the self-assurance with which he walks. Malcolm belongs here as much as I don’t and probably never will.”
“I have been called too Saudi for India even though I don’t have a passport from the Kingdom, and too Indian for Saudi Arabia even though in my birth country I am treated like a foreigner. For the longest time, I thought I didn’t fit in anywhere. Even at Qala Academy, among other kids straddling lines between two different cultures, there were times I felt like an alien. But here, in this moment, I wonder if fitting in is important after all.”
Like Susan, I rooted for our other main character and love interest Malcolm. Both he and Susan have difficult home lives for different reasons. Malcom is still working through the death of his mother and the abuse of his father, and he is trying to change his reputation after turning to drugs and alcohol his junior year.
He and Susan were such different characters, and both highlighted the other—the other’s best qualities and their worst. They challenged each other. And I loved it.
I could go on and on about Susan and Malcolm. And don’t get me started about the side characters. Basically, the character development in this novel was phenomenal.
And. The. THEMES. FEMINISM. RELIGION. IMMIGRATION. THE REPRESENTATION. The attention to the Syrian refugee crisis. 🖤🖤🖤
I wouldn’t change a thing about this book.
More people need to know about this book. More people need to read this book. Please enter the giveaway at the end of this post, but regardless if you win, read this book. Spread the word. 🖤
🖤 “Wounds only fester if you let them, I remind myself. If you let yourself like someone way more than they’ll ever like you.”
🖤 “The line between love and hate can be as thin as a paper’s edge.”
🖤 “I want to say something. Put words to the horror I’m feeling right now. But everything tastes inadequate. Sour like bile at the back of my tongue.”
🖤 “No one gets to pick what is right or wrong for anyone else. It’s always going to be your decision, Susan. Nothing that’s truly meant for you can be taken away.”
🖤 “But love isn’t easy…You just need to decide if it’s worth the trouble.”
🖤 “Nothing that’s worth having comes easy.”
🖤 “People always find ways to embarrass you if they can…You can’t control that, but you can control your reaction.”
🖤 “I’m a mess…” “So am I.”
I created a Spotify playlist inspired by The Beauty of the Moment! It even includes songs from artists mentioned in the book. 👌🏻
The playlist also includes Susan’s (“Here” by Alessia Cara) and Malcolm’s (“Something Just Like This” by Coldplay and The Chainsmokers) theme songs, which the author Tanaz Bhathena shared on the first stop of this book tour with The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club.