Since Ava lost Kelly, things haven't been going so well. Even before she gets thrown out of school for shouting at the principal, there's the simmering rage and all the weird destructive choices. The only thing going right for Ava is her job at Magic Kebab. Which is where she meets Gideon. Skinny, shy, anxious Gideon.
A mad poet and collector of vinyl records with an aversion to social media. He lives in his head. She lives in her grief. The only people who can help them move on with their lives are each other.
Having had the pleasure of meeting Claire at the Text Award Night this year, I was very keen to read her book. It was the winner of the Text Award last year, which automatically guarantees it will be published, emphasising why it is such a great award for up and coming authors.
Beautiful Mess is a truly touching story of broken and damaged young people trying to navigate their way through real problems. The two main characters are the essence of the story - Ava, whose best friend has committed suicide, and Gideon, who has severe anxiety and self esteem issues, as well as many scars from previous self harm episodes.
I can't give away too much of the plot but suffice to say you will love it! They are amazing characters with obvious flaws while still being very real and raw. By slowly finding each other they are able to begin the healing process.
Gideon's poetry is a real highlight, and the whole story is fantastic. And although the story has a happy ending, it isn’t quite the one I expected, which is refreshing.
I highly recommend this novel, and congratulate Claire for her great debut. I hope to read many more of her stories in the years to come.
Beautiful Mess is best suited to those 14+.
Reviewed by Rob