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Crazy Messy Beautiful
     

Crazy Messy Beautiful

by Carrie Arcos
 

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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

Overview

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

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/28/2016
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. Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Rostan. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
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 

Kirkus Reviews
2016-11-02
Neruda Diaz carries around his legendary namesake's poems, but they haven't helped him find the love he desperately seeks. Latino 16-year-old Neruda Diaz was named in tribute to his Chilean father and grandfather's favorite poet, Pablo Neruda. A talented portrait artist, Neruda is determined to achieve the kind of overwhelming love "The Poet" captured, but so far he's "unluckiest in love" and has fallen unrequitedly for eight different girls. When his English teacher assigns a biography project, Neruda ends up partnered with aloof, white classmate Callie Leibowitz, who turns out to love volleyball, classic movies, and makeup art. Their blossoming friendship makes Neruda wonder if Callie could be the one, but his concept of love begins to waver as he uncovers a family betrayal. Though less of an issues book than the author's previous titles (There Will Come a Time, 2014; Out of Reach, 2012), there's still plenty of thought-provoking substance to Arcos' third. The focus on the power of friendship (Neruda's best friend, Mexican-American Ezra, is a recently released ex-con ready to restart his life), art (visual, literary, even makeup), and family relationships makes this considerably more layered than the typical high school romance. Neruda is a great example of the sort of thoughtful and artistic male protagonist teen literature really needs. This satisfying and unconventional love story explores the various meanings of the word. (Fiction. 13-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399175534
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
02/07/2017
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
312,203
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

the infinite ache

Her name was Ella. She had no other name. Ella was first, middle, and last, readily on my tongue and mind. She was older than me and a good head taller, but that didn’t matter. She was my world from eight a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.
 
During class, Ella pulled me, as if with an invisible string, from stuffed animals to picture books to swings to a small sandbox. I killed dragons. I rescued cats. I held babies and played house. I was the prince to her princess. We celebrated with feasts of crackers, both goldfish and graham. We shared cut-up apples and slices of oranges like they were candy. We visited outer space on secret missions. We explored uncharted lands. The truth was I would have traveled with her anywhere.
 
My Ella.
 
I can still see her—straight shoulder-length black hair, bangs like freshly cut grass across her forehead, her brown arm in a cast during those last months, wide smile with two missing front bottom teeth. Her blue flowered dress dirty from playing. Her knees red and skinned from falling off her scooter. Broken scabs scattered across to reveal smooth white scars underneath.
 
Like all tragic love stories, she left me . . . for kindergarten at a different school. On our last day together, Ella gave me a kiss on my cheek. I was embarrassed and ran and hid from her, refusing to come out and say good-bye.
 
I never saw her again.
 
I blame Ella. She was the one who first showed me what a terribly beautiful and cruel thing love could be. I also blame The Poet. He gave words to my anguish and made me acutely aware of this infinite ache, a deep soul longing that came sometimes in the dark and lingered in the light. His words picked at a wound I didn’t even know was there until I read them. Now it’s impossible to close.
 
But Ella . . . Ella opened my heart and then broke it. Maybe I’ve been trying to fix it ever since.

Meet the Author

Carrie Arcos (carriearcos.com) was born in Albany, New York, and still mourns the day her family left for the West Coast. She earned an MA in creative writing and English literature and writes young-adult fiction. She has taught English—both high school and college. Carrie lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children. She is also the author of National Book Award finalist Out of Reach, and There Will Come a Time. You can follow her on Twitter @carriearcos.

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