Beautiful Mess, written by Claire Christian, is indeed a beautiful story. Ava is grieving the suicide of her best friend and world, Kelly. Her anger and complete loss of everything plays out throughout the story as she gets asked to leave school, works at the kebab shop, sleeps with inappropriate people to keep the link to Kelly and her family and meets the lovely Gideon.
Gideon is a teenage goth – anxious, into poetry, a loner, has a therapist and some fabulous self harming scars. Gideon and Ava meet at the kebab shop where they both work and develop a complex, co-dependant teenage relationship where they both learn about themselves and develop skills in living with their grief, anger and feelings.
Beautiful Mess is a young adult book and focuses on the needs of teenagers – the need to be heard, understood, independent but supported. Depression, suicide, self harm, anxiety, family relationships, sex and identity are all explored. The characters – Ava and Gideon are very different to each other and well developed, and the book explores the same needs that exist within us all – to be accepted and loved and to understand the world around us.