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.
Praise for Crazy Messy Beautiful:
"This satisfying and unconventional love story explores the various meanings of the word." --Kirkus Reviews
"Arcos has written a classic story of a budding artist finding out the reality behind the artifice, and does sowhile keeping a wonderful sense of humor." --Booklist
"Arcos capably probes the mysterious without attempting to solve it as Neruda discovers the difference between crushing on someone he doesn’t know and loving someone he does, learning that friendship, too, is a kind of love." --Publishers Weekly
"With readily relatable characters who, nonetheless, surprise readers as they tackle life’s many challenges and gifts, Crazy Messy Beautiful . . . explores the complexities of human emotions, aspirations, creativity, and relationships. This eminently readable book will appeal to male and female readers alike." --VOYA
"The thematic thread of love as work between flawed people is woven through both language and situations, its subtlety affording different readings; romantics like Neruda will empathize with his frustration and failures, while more pragmatic readers may feel wryly superior and even slightly amused at the ways his heightened expectations butt up against modern high school life and characters."--BCCB
For 16-year-old Neruda Diaz, love is a mystery, maybe the mystery. He comes by his fixation honestly: he's named after Chilean love poet Pablo Neruda, his parents are still in love, and he thinks that beautiful Autumn Cho might be the one for him. Then mystery turns tragic: Neruda's parents' marriage is less stable than he thought, and like her predecessors Autumn isn't interested. Neruda gets to paint a mural at school, but has to work with a guy he hates, and he and a girl he barely knows have to interview each other for a class assignment. Arcos (There Will Come a Time) makes Neruda thoughtful and real, and Callie Leibowitz, that near stranger from school, is tough, funny, and interesting. Neruda is half Chilean, his Los Angeles is realistically diverse, and he's a reflective, engaging protagonist. Arcos capably probes the mysterious without attempting to solve it as Neruda discovers the difference between crushing on someone he doesn't know and loving someone he does, learning that friendship, too, is a kind of love. Ages 12 up.