A Fantastic Mess of Everything by Beck Medina

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Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to review this book! Another YA book that I was pleasantly surprised by! I’ll have to get rid of this bias I have against YA because several authors have shown that they can still make new things with this genre.

This particular book follows Millie, a senior in university, as her life gets messier and messier (the title doesn’t lie!). Here’s a bit more of what it’s about:

Millie Alvarez is a college senior with dreams of being a best selling science fiction writer like her favorite author, sci-fi mastermind Luke Danielson. She fantasizes about dating Rod, her handsome, young writing professor, who has a fan base of his own.
Of course no one knows this but her two best friends, Fran and Mike. In the real world, Millie is anything but a success. She always gets casted in the worst roles in her college’s musical productions, has a single subscriber to her writing blog, and struggles to be with anyone but Fran and Mike. She even avoids meeting Trent, an exchange student from London who matches with her on the dating app Charmed. Sam always wants to hang out with Millie, but he isn’t her type; he’s too skinny and happy and won’t stop asking Millie about all her favorite things.
But things spiral out of Millie’s control when Fran moves out of their dorm room to live with her sister and her estranged dad won’t stop calling her to make amends. To top it all off, the pain inside of Millie’s chest is worsening. Millie must decide if she’s ready to face everything head on. Can she do it? Is she stronger than she thinks she is? All Millie knows is that her life is one big mess that she cannot seem to escape.   

I do feel I was able to relate to the main character better than other YA protagonists because we’re a similar age and I am at the same point in my life where it starts to get really heavy with the question, “what’s next?” so I definitely can sympathize with the stress Millie is going through.

It took a little bit getting into before the characters felt natural but that had more to do with just understanding where each of them, especially our main character, comes from. With Millie in particular, she came off at the beginning as very young so I was surprised when she ended up being a college senior and not a high school freshman. However, once the characters were established better, it was easy to read them as college students and the story flowed really nicely.

The most enjoyable aspect of the book is that the characters and their dialogue is very believable. At some points it is a little awkward, but the characters are awkward so it’s something that is worked in to the story rather than making it stand at odds. The author embraces the awkwardness and that also helps make it that much more realistic!

Based on all these great reads, I’m really going to have to seek out more YA books! I like this trend of YA books for readers on the far end of that spectrum. Do you have any YA recommendations for older audiences?

Leave your suggestions in the comments below or tweet them to @spinesinaline!

Author links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


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