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Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

December 22, 2016


Things aren’t easy for Wavy and her younger brother Donal – their father is a drug dealer who lives with someone else most of the time and their mother is mentally ill.  Wavy is damaged and fragile – she keeps her own counsel – and does all she can to take care of Donal.  When Kellen, an associate of Wavy’s father, is in a motorcycle accident outside her home, Wavy runs to help him and the two begin a relationship that will eventually become love.

When Wavy’s family falls apart, she’s sent to live with her aunt and her family.  The relationship Wavy thinks is so wonderful doesn’t look so good to her aunt who does everything she can to keep Wavy and Kellen apart.

It’s best not to know too much about ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS by Bryn Greenwood before you read it.  It’s a sad story with sweet moments that I found very compelling.  It’s gritty and disturbing and probably all too realistic.  The story is told from multiple points of view, including Wavy’s, Kellen’s, Wavy’s cousin, and Wavy’s college roommate, giving readers a complete picture of Wavy’s situation.  Greenwood’s writing is so good, she convinces readers this relationship that feels so inappropriate might not be so bad.  I went back and forth as I read the book and wanted to talk about all that was going on so I think this book would make an outstanding book club selection.  I’m not sure that I loved the book but I’ve thought about it a lot since I read it and I think Wavy will stick with me for quite a while.  Pick this up when you’re in the mood for a thought provoking story.

The audio version of ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS is narrated by Jorjeana Marie who has quickly become one of my favorites.  As I expected, she did a terrific job!

I am an Indiebound Affliate.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. December 22, 2016 6:59 am

    I’ve heard good things about this novel and am adding the audio to my wishlist.

    Have a Merry Christmas, Kathy!

  2. sarahsbookshelvesblog permalink
    December 22, 2016 7:12 am

    I think we felt the same way about this one 🙂 and I agree it would be a great book club selection!

  3. December 22, 2016 8:19 am

    Wow! This sounds like a must read! I’m definitely kindling it ASAP. Great post!

  4. December 22, 2016 8:36 am

    I’ve heard good things about this, too… adding to my list.

  5. December 22, 2016 11:04 am

    I’m a fan of stories told from multiple viewpoints. This sounds good to me.

  6. December 22, 2016 11:21 am

    I loved it, which surprised me, as I had encountered many people in my caseloads who resembled these characters…and would never have imagined how much I would be rooting for Wavy and Kellen! The author reeled me in and made me care so much that I, too, want to read more from this author.

  7. December 22, 2016 12:06 pm

    Yep. This one is on my list. I wanted to pitch it to my book club but if a book is too sad or gritty it doesn’t seem to go over well with them.

  8. December 22, 2016 3:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this book. I will consider it for my book club.

  9. December 22, 2016 3:29 pm

    I don’t usually like gritty, or at least, try to avoid it!

  10. December 22, 2016 4:21 pm

    It seems to be a story to listen to

  11. December 22, 2016 4:40 pm

    I like the sound of this, and am interested in reading another of her books, Last Will.

  12. December 22, 2016 5:14 pm

    It does sound gritty but I’ll keep the audiobook in mind!

  13. December 22, 2016 7:02 pm

    This sounds like a gritty and compelling story, Kathy. Excellent review!

  14. Patty permalink
    December 22, 2016 8:31 pm

    I hesitated over this one and kind of lost it!

  15. December 23, 2016 2:14 pm

    I had not heard of this one.

  16. December 24, 2016 11:36 am

    I keep seeing this one around and it looks good. Maybe I’ll get to it next year if I have the time.

  17. The Cue Card permalink
    January 1, 2017 4:57 pm

    This one sounds gritty but I’ve heard good things about it from various bloggers so I’m interested.

  18. January 1, 2017 4:59 pm

    Something about this book has intrigued me and now that you have said possibly book club I’m sold. I like knowing the least about a book going into it too. Always makes it better.

  19. January 1, 2017 5:24 pm

    I was reading a best of list that had this book on it but after reading the description thought it would probably be realistic and sad. I imagine this one would make a great book club selection and lead to all kinds of discussion.

  20. bookingmama permalink
    January 3, 2017 7:43 am

    I’m reserving this one at the library right this minute! I was looking at this book last week and you just sealed it for me!

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