HAPPY MESSY SCARY LOVE follows Olivia aka Carrie from her Reddit username over the summer. Olivia is a horror movie fan and dreams of writing and directing them one day. She applied to do a summer program at NYU, but she procrastinated and didn't put forth her best effort leaving her to be rejected. Instead, her mother lines up a job for her at a zipline place- which is especially terrible because Olivia is afraid of heights.
Olivia has been talking to a guy she met on Reddit whom she knows as Elm from his username. They both love horror movies and found out they were the same age. He proposes to swap photos, but when Olivia sees his picture, she panics and winds up eventually sending her BFF Katie's picture. What she doesn't expect is to meet the real Elm later, as Jake. She recognizes him right away, but of course, he does not recognize her.
Things begin to spiral out of control as Olivia doubles down on the lies and keeps the farce going. At the same time, she and Jake are connecting in real life, but we all know this tower of cards will come crumbling down at any moment. The lies keep on getting bigger and bigger.
This was a YA contemporary romance which is based on a catfish-like premise. I loved Jake, and how sweet he is plus his 'dad jokes.' Olivia also experiences a lot of personal growth over the summer, which makes this an overall light-hearted book. I do wish she would have told the truth earlier, but this was a lot of the tension in the book- and teenagers do not always make the smartest choices. However, it was an overall fun romance with loads of cute scenes.