Review: Hot Mess by Madeline A. Rosenberg

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☆☆➹⁀☆2 stars☆➹⁀☆☆


Anna McCormick seems like a cliché from her basic coffee orders to her relentless drama; however she is more than meets the eye. Join the journey of Anna and Trevor Sullivan through the laughs, tears and heartbreak. Meet the Clairetown crew – each character is more interesting than the next!

Anna McCormick is every girl after a break up- she is vulnerable and seeks attention in the wrong places. She is easy to love and hate at the same time. Trevor Sullivan is almost too good to be true. He seems like he is perfect on the surface, but there is much more to him than meets the eye. Benji Shaw is the “perfect” boy next door. He has a bit of a hero complex and wants to fix everyone’s problems. Tanya Rosen is the quintessential popular girl- everyone thinks she has so much confidence but really she is just as insecure as the next girl.

Goodreads | Amazon


Hot Mess is Madeline Rosenberg’s debut novel. While it is billed as a NA romance, it reads more like YA fiction in terms of the emotional maturity of the characters and the dialogue.

Hot Mess has four main characters: Anna, Benji, Trevor, and Tanya. The characters are each learning their way in life. They are dealing with image, acceptance, and self-esteem. They think of themselves as grown-up but their not quite there. I didn’t find any of them empathetic. Anna is a particularly unpleasant character. She is self-absorbed and selfish.  I found it difficult to accept Anna’s uncaring response to a friend being involved in an accident only to have her become suicidal because of his death. The vacillating emotions came off as unrealistic or affected.

The story is told in short chapters that change focus from one character to another. Rosenberg has incorporated some hard topics into her story: drugs, suicide, death, and infidelity. While the plot premise has potential, it didn’t feel fully explored or developed. There is not cliff -hanger, however, the ending is left open enough for a follow on book.

I was attracted to Hot Mess by the cover, but I found the book just wasn’t the book for me. I thought the book would be more chick lit and fun based on the cover. I imagine the story would have more appeal to readers in their late teens (the content is probably not appropriate for younger teens and ‘tweens).


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