Crazy Messy Beautiful
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Summary: When your namesake is Pablo Neruda—the greatest love poet of all time—finding “the one” should be easy. After all, sixteen-year-old aspiring artist Neruda Diaz has been in love many times before. So it’s only a matter of time before someone loves him back.
Callie could be that someone. She’s creative and edgy, and nothing like the girls Neruda typically falls for, so when a school assignment brings them together, he is pleasantly surprised to learn they have a lot in common. With his true love in reach and his artistic ambitions on track, everything is finally coming together.
But as Neruda begins to fall faster and harder than ever before, he is blindsided by the complicated nature of love—and art—in more ways than one. And when the relationships he’s looked to for guidance threaten to implode, Neruda must confront the reality that love is crazier, messier, and more beautiful than he ever realized—and riskier, too, than simply saying the words.
My Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique take on love and puts an emphasis on friendship!
Highly recommend this novel if your looking for one that focuses on friendship while also discussing the complexities of love! Crazy Messy Beautiful is YA Contemporary that delivered a unique plot that had me surprised with each page!
Written through 1st Person POV, we follow Pablo Neruda who is an artist at heart. When he discovers his long-time crush Autumn (crush #8) doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, he is heartbroken.
Then in English, the entire class gets assigned a research project on a randomly chosen partner. He gets paired with Callie Leibowitz. Though both have sat at the same group table together for months, they’ve never really talked.
He had his preconceived ideas about her, however over the course of the novel they both learn much more about each other and develop an incredible friendship.
Arcos really brings the main character Pablo to life and I felt he was given such depth and I really understood his character over the course of the story.
Callie and Pablo bond over a number of different things like movies and art! They encourage each other to pursue their passions and really get to better understand each other!
Pablo learns more about Callie’s passion for makeup & makeup design and Callie learns more about Pablo’s passion for art (sketching, painting, etc.)
However conflict arises when Pablo realizes he may be falling in love with Callie. Regardless, they really get to know each other and the friendship forged between the two was truly the highlight of this novel!
Arcos also delivers the novel through a thought-provoking + at times poetic writing-style where you really get to understand these characters, especially Pablo!
The plot itself is very character-driven and overall was very unique comparing to other contemporaries I’ve read recently! It went in directions I did not see coming!
When Pablo discovers some family secrets and comes to terms with his feelings for Callie, he learns more about love and its complications over the course of this story, while also coming to terms with his perceptions and concepts of love.
Arcos focuses this novel on Pablo and his development, while making friendship and family central parts of the story!
Additionally, I loved that there were diverse Main + Side characters! (Chilean + Mexican Representation!)
There were some moments when the pacing was rather slow and I felt Pablo’s feelings for Callie came rather quickly. Additionally there were plot points that felt not only incomplete, but unnecessary (b/c they were never really expanded upon)
Overall Arcos delivers an engaging YA Contemporary that focuses on friendship and family, while also delivering a unique take on love!
EDIT/UPDATE: *Perhaps I just misread/misunderstood this line, however after finishing, this line has still stuck in my mind. This line personally just left me uneasy b/c I’m surprised the MC would just assume that to begin with!! Just to be sure, I wanted feedback from fellow reviewers.*
Background: Ezra is a pen-pal that Neruda mentions he had when a class of his assigned students to inmates to write letters back & forth, and now is acquainted with Ezra who’s now out of prison, they still talk and hang out.
“Over the years I’ve teased out bits and pieces of his story. From what I can tell, he was trying to help his brother,Rafa, and ended up going with him to rob a house. I think Ezra was trying to stop him from doing it. The house was supposed to be empty, but it wasn’t. Rafa was shot and killed and Ezra was sent to prison. He was eighteen at the time and served ten years for an armed robbery conviction. But as soon as I got to know Ezra I immediately doubted his guilt. He just didn’t seem like the typical stereotype of a Mexican guy in jail, the one you see portrayed on TV shows and movies-shaved head, arms covered in tats, maybe even one circling his neck or a teardrop close to his eye…” (page 24-25)