All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Book - 2016
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A beautiful and provocative love story between two unlikely people and the hard-won relationship that elevates them above the Midwestern meth lab backdrop of their lives.

As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It's safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.

By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy's family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. A powerful novel you won't soon forget, Bryn Greenwood's All the Ugly and Wonderful Things challenges all we know and believe about love.

Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250074133
Branch Call Number: GREE
Characteristics: 346 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

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Sep 13, 2018

Sex with a child is just wrong.

Aug 16, 2018

This is a story of deep and everlasting love, of making judgments on a person, forgiveness and overcoming hardship as a child and finally marriage to the person of your deepest desire. It was a great read and the only time I wrote and email the author.

Jan 20, 2018

Fantastic book. It's on my short list of favorites.

Apr 11, 2017

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I feel as though I grew with the characters and was deeply invested in their journey. I love the characters of Wavy and Kellen. It definitely made me uncomfortable to read as their relationship developed, but as other reviews have mentioned, I still found myself rooting for them til the end. I will be renting her other novels!

Mar 07, 2017

Excellent book. Would like to read other books by this author.

ArapahoeElena Feb 13, 2017

What I appreciated most about this novel is its nuanced treatment of complicated issues- child welfare, family, addiction, illicit drug manufacture and trade, consent, and safety. The novel leaves space for the reader to form their own conclusions, as opposed to directing the reader on what to think. Beautifully written, and like the characters that narrate each chapter, I found myself watching and holding onto the small moments of tenderness that break through the chaos and confusion.

Feb 10, 2017

This novel is one hell of an emotional roller coaster and is for sure going to be one of those "oh you liked that book? Interesting". No spoilers here, but from most of the descriptions of the book you can figure out why: a romantic relationship between a minor child and a young man. I weirdly found myself rooting for them- like did this actually phase me? Am I all of a sudden in support of pedophilia because that's kind of what it felt like? I think most people will call this a pedophilia book, but it is far from it.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is the story of a young girl, Wavy, who forms an unconventional friendship with Kellen- who is about 15ish years older than her from what I gathered. Over the course of the story, which spans the next decade, Wavy and Kellen become more than just friends in a very ugly and wonderful way. It is ugly because of duh he's an older guy and she's an eight year old girl when we first meet her- but it is also wonderful because he does such wonders for her in her dark childhood. Did we mention her parents are meth dealers?

I may catch crap for loving this story- but I think it really was a nice break from traditional "romances" if you can even really categorize this as such, but I don't know how else to compartmentalize this one. All I can say is this one needs to be read with a pound of salt, empathy, and unconditional love.

Jan 12, 2017

Liked this book until it just became too weird. The gradual introduction of a sexual relationship between an adult man and a very troubled child became very repugnant to me and I could not finish the book. Child sexual exploitation is bad no matter how well written about it is.

ellensix Oct 12, 2016

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is Bryn Greenwood's third novel. Bryn's two previous titles are Last Will (2012) and Lie Lay Lain (2014).

Oct 07, 2016

When I am not with this book, I miss Wavy, Kellen, and their world. It is the kind of book that I can lose myself in. The writing is perfectly fluid. the characters are strong and unique; the author deftly maintaining the distinct integrity of each character, however brutal, as the adults deteriorate and the children grow. A fantastic, one of a kind, beautiful piece of fiction that tugs relentlessly at rigid morality, begging for any safe space for grace, love, and humanity among the desperation and violence.

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Feb 10, 2017

taylorwoods thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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