Great Character Driven Story: Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos

Great Character Driven Story: Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie ArcosCrazy Messy Beautiful
by Carrie Arcos
Release Date: February 7th 2017
Published by Philomel Books
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Michael Crouch
Length: 7 hrs and 5 mins
Pages: 320
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From National Book Award finalist Carrie Arcos–a fresh take on happily ever after, and friendship, that is anything but a love story.

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.

in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Add this to the list of books Nereyda read simply because she likes the narrator. That’s a good enough reason to get me to read a book I would normally have no interest, especially if I hadn’t heard of it. To be fair, I haven’t been up to date on all things YA lately, but when I saw this one was being narrated by one of my favorite male narrators, Michael Crouch, that was enough for me to be interested in the book.

Although I was hoping this book would be more romance driven, I had a feeling that probably wouldn’t be the case after reading the summary. I still enjoyed this one quite a bit because it was very character driven, even if it felt a little slow at times. We follow Neruda Diaz, a half Chilean teenage boy who is also an aspiring artist. When you’re named after someone who is famous for love and soulmates, it can be a weighing thing on you and form this sort of pressure on yourself to find that for yourself. That was Neruda’s case. He admits to being in love many times, unfortunately none of his love interests have returned the favor. I thought that none of those times were actually love, more like Neruda desperately trying to live up to his namesake.

When he’s paired up with Callie for a class assignment, he doesn’t expect nothing from it since Callie is not his type at all. Their first interactions are stiff and a bit uncomfortable, but soon they start feeling more comfortable with each other and the more they work on their assignment, the more they start to realize that they actually make pretty great friends. Nadura, poor guy, starts falling for Callie and can’t for the life of him figure out if she likes him too, or if she’s just happy being friends.

I really enjoyed Neruda, even though he was a bit of a lovesick fool at times. He was definitely flawed and made his mistakes, but I liked learning about him and his family and kudos for his diverse background. Callie was also a great character but I was never quite sure if I liked her as a love interest for Nerudo or just as friends. Since this is a character driven story, this is one of those cases where not much happens plot wise, but it was still a good book. I really enjoyed the audio and like always, Michael Crouch delivers a great performance.

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Nereyda is a 31 year-old mother of two girls with addiction to Friends, fashion, books, Pinterest, Netflix, the color black and a little bit of everything else. Also, the world's worst texter...
  • kindlemom1

    Love when you can find a favorite anything and still like a book that you might not have otherwise. Glad this was still a good read for you even if it was lacking at times and wasn’t as romance driven as you would have liked.

  • Ah Michael Crouch is a great narrator and I totally would have picked up the audio because of him too!! Great review!

  • i do enjoy character driven books, great review glad this worked for you

  • Character driven stories are my favourites, but I don’t know how I feel about a lovesick narrator. I do love books about art, though!