My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: May 31st 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st & 3rd Person
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age, Romance, Life, Society, Individualism
Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bugglegum Reaper–a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic–the rebel within Nanette awakens.
As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.
”Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it.”
I am now going to say something I seldom, rarely—almost never— say, though I wish I did: this book spoke to me.
It spoke to me in a way that unsettled my state of mind. It spoke to me and I was tempted to respond. I did respond. I spent the day wandering in my own mind, thinking about life, thinking about others and thinking about my place on this earth.
Conclusion? I am glad I rarely read books such as this one, because I would not be able to go on with my current life if I did.
”I’d rather smash open my skull with a solid-gold Bible than endure the slow poison of a fake friend!”
Every Exquisite Thing is a lyrically-written little masterpiece. It’s a story within a story, within a story, within a story. At first glance, you may think it’s a book about books and our reaction to them. But it’s not. It’s so much more.
Matthew Quick’s new novel explores the meanings of being an introverted individual in a world perfectly shaped for the extroverted kind. As an introverted myself, I was bound to be powerfully affected by this scaring story.
It’s scaring because it’s true. It doesn’t censure itself. It tells the truth, and you know how ugly the truth can be. It’s also terrifying because it makes you question what you’ve always been used to and simply ‘accepted’ as it is, without giving it too much thought.
”There is no such thing as fiction.”
Now you will. This novel will make you question yourself, your future, society, who your friends are… what makes you an individual. Are you a sheep? Are you a shepherd? Are you a horse when everyone around you is a sheep? What makes you you?
Are you a ‘you’ or a version purely fabricated by society, the media, your friends and family or your entourage?
Nanette—the lovely main character—is astoundingly easy to connect with, if you’re also an introverted person. This is a coming-of-age story and, for this reason, Nanette will go through a lot and experience changes in her life. Her character development will show.
You don’t need to know what the outline of the plot is. I went in completely blind and, in fact, I think I would have regretted knowing beforehand what the main series of events are, because, this way, every new page was uncharted, surprising ground.
You will meet characters in this book that you will never forget. Some you’ll want to adopt, others you’ll want to befriend and the rest you’ll simply want to crush under your foot. Whatever the reaction that will apply to you, the characters won’t leave you emotionless.
The author’s evocative writing won’t go unnoticed. He manages to bring to life characters and events and broach sensitive subjects with intelligence and candidness.
”Far too often, people are woefully predictable. And I know many things. It’s a curse. Here’s something else I know: You are not doomed to be your parents. You can break the cycle. You can be whomever you want to be. But you will pay a price. Your parents and everyone else will punish you if you choose to be you and not them. That’s the price of your freedom. The cage is unlocked, but everyone is too scared to walk out because they whack you when you try, and they whack you hard. They want you to be scared, too. They want you to stay in the cage. But once you are a few steps beyond the trap door, they can’t reach you anymore, so the whacking stops. That’s another secret: They’re too afraid to follow. They adore their own cages.”
Off to read The Silver Linings Playbook now.