YA Book Review: Perfectly Messy (Effortless With You Book 2) by Lizzy Charles


From Amazon:

“Popularity isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Justin Marshall knows this better than most. For the captain of the basketball team, small business owner, and son of Minnesota’s next governor, life can get pretty overwhelming. But Justin can handle anything as long as he has Lucy, the girl who fell for the man he’s trying to be.

But for Justin and Lucy, finding time together proves challenging. Stolen kisses and whispered promises just aren’t enough. That is, until scandalous photos of the couple are leaked to a press intent on creating a juicy scandal during Justin’s dad’s gubernatorial campaign. And when Lucy becomes fair play for the tabloids and gossip pages, Justin does the only thing he can to protect her: he breaks her heart.

For Lucy, junior year is everything she hoped it would be: new friends, second chances, and a boyfriend she can’t stop kissing. That is, until the boy she’s pretty sure she loves chooses the life his family wants for him, over her.

Now it’s up to Lucy to teach him what it really means to have everything. Because for Justin, being who everyone needs him to be just might cost him the one person he can’t live without.”


I finished the first book, Effortless With You, in one night. In fact, it was so good I stayed up until 3 am, even though I knew I had morning classes the next day. You can read my review here.

Unfortunately, the sequel was very disappointing. While there were a few things that worked, there were so many that didn’t work for me. Let’s start with Lucy and Justin’s relationship. Although it’s very, very sweet, it was also wayy too mushy for my taste. It felt like a thirteen year old girl’s idea of the perfect relationship rather than what real relationships are like. I think there’s something to be said for caring about someone without constantly complimenting them or pulling out cliches.

If I’m being honest, being inside Justin’s head also kind of ruined him for me. I liked him a lot in the first book, but being allowed to read his thoughts made me like him a whole lot less. I understand that people are flawed–including boys in YA novels. But his reasoning for many of the decisions he made… that was just ridiculous. A lot of his conflict felt very forced–like it was only there to drive the plot forward.

I also liked Lucy a lot better in the first book. I get it, she’s a nice girl now that cares about everyone and always does nice things. But I like my leading ladies to have a little more in them than just nice. Much of the spunk and fierceness she had in the first book was gone. Honestly, I found her to be pretty boring. Just another super sweet girl who’s super into her boyfriend and doesn’t have much of a personality.

While there were things that I did like, like how Lucy realized she couldn’t let Justin define her, the bad outweighed the good. There were other things that worked, but bringing them up could spoil it for you so I won’t.

In a Few Words:


If you loved the first book, you’ll probably want to read it. I wouldn’t recommend it, as I feel like reading this kind of ruined the first one for me. However, it’s not all bad and there are some things that work!


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