Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

26114135All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: August 9th, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 15+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Adult, Contemporary, Forbidden Love, Family Drama

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As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.


I feel emotionally drained.

They could seriously make a telenovela out of this book.

It’s that dramatic. But honestly, it’s a heartfelt type of drama that really reaches your heart and makes you feel all sorts of emotions – happiness, sadness, hope, anger…

The title says it all. This book contains all the ugly and wonderful things that happen to the enigmatic Wavy, from the moment she is sent to her aunt at the age of five with her baby brother.

Many things happen to her. But the denouement to it all is her meeting Kellen… and falling in love with him.

It’s a forbidden love story. She is a minor and he is way, way older. Yes, their love story is unconventional, to say the least, but not one scene between them made me feel disgust.

They are good together and there is no denying that Kellen is the best thing that happened to Wavy.

We follow her (and plenty of other characters) from the age of five to twenty-one. Every single important event of her life is recorded in this book.

I loved Wavy from the moment I met her. Not only is she mysterious and broken, but there’s that good vibe about her – although countless cruel things happen to her and the people in her life, she remains good. Almost angelically good.

I have to confess that I didn’t want to read this book. I thought the taboo subject would make me feel weird inside and give me a stomach ache… But, firstly, none of that happened and, secondly, I regret even thinking this book could have provoked those reactions inside of me.

Read this if you want to witness one of the most intriguing and unconventional love stories unfold before your eyes.

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16 thoughts on “Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

  1. aahhh, an emotional book. and a forbidden love that involves age-gap? never read anything like it. This sounds like a good read. Nice to know you enjoyed it 🙂


  2. I saw a review from this a while back that intrigued me, but I was a bit unsure as to the taboo nature of the story. But you’ve convinced me to give this one a go – I’m excited to read it! I’m all for unconventional stories, and ones that are sensitively told;.


  3. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get the positive reviews for this book. Normally, I can shrug it off or I can see something about the story that could make others like it. But I just can’t do that here. I used to counsel sex offenders and it’s so hard to get them to admit when they have done something wrong. I was molested myself as a child. This guy was a child molester. I could not root for this couple at ALL. This was not a romance. This was a grown man taking advantage of a child. I am glad you enjoyed it. I just don’t get it.


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