Happy Messy Scary Love by Leah Konen [review] It’s a Fluffy Contemporary Summer Anonymous Romance!!

This may not be public knowledge (why would it be?) but I’m a freaking sucker for anonymous romances.

By anonymous romances, I mean ones where the main character and love interest communicate in some way but while communicating, don’t know who the other one is. Basically, inspired by You’ve Got Mail or The Shop Around the Corner, I guess.

Examples are Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Alex, Approximately. And… this one. (wow nice transition, julianna)

I really, really, really loved the plot of this one because anonymous texting + meeting in real life by coincidence?? I FREAKING LOVE IT.

And also, I’m a huge fan of that cover? I don’t like how the words slowly get bigger (I wish they were the same size) but I TOTALLY DIG THAT CLOUD PHOTO IN THE BACKGROUND and I don’t know why. I just have a thing for pink clouds, I guess.

This is a spoiler free review, as always!

Anyways, thank you so much to Abrams / Amulet books for sending me this to review! All opinions are my own, of course. 

Also, I will be using a affiliate links for the purchase links down below wherein if you purchase from there, I’d get a small & helpful sum of money.

synopsis 2

Happy Messy Scary Love by Leah Konen

release date: May 14th, 2019

goodreads / book depository / indiebound

41104159As everyone at her Brooklyn high school announces their summer adventures, Olivia harbors a dirty secret: Her plan is to binge-watch horror movies and chat with her online friend, Elm.

Olivia and Elm have never shared personal details, apart from their ages and the fact that Elm’s aunt is a low-budget horror filmmaker. Then Elm pushes Olivia to share her identity and sends her a selfie of his own. Olivia is shocked by how cute he is! In a moment of panic, assuming she and Elm will never meet in real life, she sends a photo of her gorgeous friend Katie. But things are about to get even more complicated when Olivia’s parents send her to the Catskills, and she runs into the one person she never thought she would see. This sweet and funny summertime romance is perfect for fans of Love and Gelato and The Unexpected Everything.

review 2


The book is actually pretty short (only 270 pages) and I totally found myself zipping through the second half. Especially when the romance started ~happening~.

Also, even though the book was so short, I still found myself being convinced by the romance between Olivia and Jake (Elm). 

I saw this tweet that said that insta-love isn’t a trope, it’s just a case of where the author fails to convince you that there’s actual chemistry between the characters!! And honestly… that has given me a whole new perspective on romance within books.

So, yes, I was convinced by their chemistry in person, even though they didn’t even have that many encounters.

The texting-online case was a little different than what I expected, though? I felt like there could’ve been a little more room for them developing a relationship through their chats on Reddit, and I felt like when they met in person, they weren’t exactly already close friends. They just talked, like, two times about horror movies.



I’m here to warn you that yes… this book has the “the main character is so beautiful but she doesn’t know it!” trope but it didn’t feel as annoying as it usually did.

Yes, it was slightly cringy when her friend was like “You’re gorgeous!!” but I think that it wasn’t a case of her being oblivious as her just kind of… lacking a lot of self-love and having a low self-esteem. And I interpreted it more as girl-love instead!

Also, the main character compares herself to her beautiful and charismatic best friend, Katie, but I think that this book did a pretty good job of subverting that “”rivalry”” by humanizing Katie in the end! I did feel myself getting frustrated at times by the huge pedestal that Olivia tended to put Katie on, but… honestly?

Olivia’s thoughts were pretty relatable, and I’ve often had to check myself and remember that everyone else’s lives aren’t picture-perfect.



Basically, the main character is trying to write a screenplay for a horror movie that subverts the tropes used within the genre— but she keeps on procrastinating writing.

For example, in one scene, Olivia procrastinates by taping up posters in her room and texting Elm instead of actually writing her screenplay and I was like “DAMN. That’s the most relatable thing I’ve ever seen for writers.”

She eventually ekes out a first draft that’s around 90 pages and I was so proud of her. Here I am… and I can’t even write two sentences in my google doc.

Image result for can't relate gif
me @ Olivia actually successfully writing

Anyways, horror movies were really present within the book and there were lots of discussions about horror itself as a genre, which I loved reading about. I’m not a huge fan of horror: I only started watching in the last two years and I’ve watched maybe 7 movies so far,* and I feel like someone who actually loves horror films would really enjoy reading this? Like, it wasn’t as if they only mentioned mainstream films and that was it. There were a ton of films mentioned! (And I actually kind of want to check all of them out.)

*In case you were wondering what the movies I watched were, they are: Insidious: The Last Key; Hereditary; The Nun; Happy Death Day 2U (this is technically slasher but still); and Us. div3


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This has the horror-movie elements and cheesiness from From Twinkle, With Love and the film-bonding elements via texting from Alex, Approximately and the bonding with new people at a workplace from Dumplin’.

tell me your thoughts 2

Have you read this book & if so, what did you think? Do you love anonymous romances? How do you feel about the typography on the cover? Do you like pink clouds?



  1. I loooove You’ve Got Mail type books and haven’t heard of this one!! It sounds cute! Have you read PS I Love You by Kasie West? That one is my fave. I’ve only recently become a horror fan myself even though I’m still terrified lol. If you liked The Nun you have to watch the rest of the Conjuring universe- it’s so well done! The Conjuring and Annabelle: Creation are the best. The new It movie was super good too, but terrifying lol. And The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah!! I’m always looking for You’ve Got Mail books tbh, and I used to be obsessed with them when I found Alex Approximately. Oooh yes, I’ve read PS I Love You and it was so cute!!

      Omg, I really want to watch The Haunting of Hill House and it looks so creepy. Also, I’m too scared to watch the It movie but I’ll try lol, and I’ll check out the other movies you listed!! ❤️


  2. pink clouds are so aesthetic. they give off those vibes you know what im saying? that like it’s a summer evening, light outside and the sky is pink and freedom is in the wind in our hair…idk im trying to be poetic but its failing. moving on, this sounds very cute!!! i need to read more romance books (read: if’m being honest) because so many new releases sound so cute. the only anonymous romance i read was simon vs and it was ok i guess?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i get what ur saying ☁️ ☁️ the cover makes me feel some type of way!! OK I WILL READ IF IM BEING HONEST it actually sounds so good and really similar to another old favorite of mine (How to Break a Boy which you should! read!)

      wow pls don’t roast simon vs in front of me like that


  3. Omg consider this book added to my TBR, Simon & Alex, Approximately are 2 of my fave books of all time – I’m also a sucker for the whole anonymous romance plot as well 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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