Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Interview with Leah Konen for Happy Messy Scary Love

Happy Messy Scary Love

by Leah Konen
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: May 14th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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As 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.

Can you briefly describe Happy Messy Scary Love and their main characters?

Happy Messy Scary Love follows Olivia and Jake, aka Reddit nicknames “Carrie” and “Elm,” as they navigate the sometimes-crazy world of social media, Reddit, and real-life romance—with a dose of horror-movie obsession and mistaken identity thrown in. 

The two teens meet in an anonymous Reddit community for horror-movie lovers, often spending hours a day trading movie recs. All goes well until Elm asks Carrie for a photo—in a moment of low self-esteem, she freaks and sends a pic of her best friend—of course, things only get messier when she ends up meeting him—and falling for him—in real life. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why?

Olivia/”Carrie” is truly a girl after my own heart. She’s a budding screenwriter and horror-movie addict. Her ultimate goal is to make horror movies, but she needs to learn to trust herself and her own creativity before she can take even the first step down her path. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere?

In addition to horror movies, I’m a huge fan of 90s rom-coms, particularly the work of Nora Ephron. Happy Messy Scary Love is my ode to You’ve Got Mail and Cyrano de Bergerac, as well as all my favorite horror flicks. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

I’ll give you a whole soundtrack! The score to Twin Peaks by Angelo Badalamenti. I listened to it nonstop while writing. 

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

I think Kiernan Shipka would make a perfect Olivia. 

Since it is still cold outside, what hot drink do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

Given that Happy Messy Scary Love is all about horror movies and set at a zip-line camp in the woods, I would have to go with some hot apple cider. Although it takes place in the summer, I think you can still sip on cider at night around the campfire. 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish Happy Messy Scary Love?

I’m a huge fan of anything by Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han. I think they both understand teen romance like no one else.

What’s next for you?

Some big changes for me! My next book will actually be for adults. It’s a thriller set in upstate New York, called Broken People. It follows a 28-year-old woman who reluctantly agrees to help the couple next door fake the husband’s death—but when he turns up dead for real, she realizes she’s the prime suspect in his murder.

Leah Konen is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and creative writing. She’s the author of the forthcoming HAPPY MESSY SCARY LOVE, LOVE AND OTHER TRAIN WRECKS, THE ROMANTICS, THE LAST TIME WE WERE US and THE AFTER GIRLS. She lives in Brooklyn and Saugerties, NY, with her husband and their dog, Farley.


  1. This is going to be so much fun to read this summer! I love to read YA contemporary and this one has an excellent setting too!

  2. This story sounds so cute, I'll definitely be adding it to my TBR! I love the YA contemporary romance genre, it's my favorite!