ARC Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

9 Aug 2016

Book Title: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
Author: Bryn Greenwood
Series: Standalone
Release Date: August 9th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things was one of those books I went into almost completely blind. A friend had recommended this book, her too taking a chance on a debut author. I could tell from very early on that this book would be something different but in a special way. The plot is trickle fed over years and has many different points of view, almost as if it's everyone's accounts of "how the life of Wavy" played out. Usually multiple points of view beyond the two main characters gets confusing, but here, it flowed seamlessly. Again, as if everyone was telling the story from their eyes...

Wavonna Quinn (aka Wavy) grew up in hard times to say the least... a psychologically disturbed mother, parents with drug addiction, outlaws, you name it. And even as a young child she hasn't risen from those ashes unscathed. She's got issues of her own but there's one person, clear back from the age of 7 or 8 that she connected with- Jesse Joe Kellen. A coworker of her father's- a big man, a mentally simple man, and to her, a GOOD man. The only person to cut through her shell. Fast friends they became, albeit unconventional.

That's all I'm going to venture into as far as plot. The characters are all fairly complex, scarred, and flawed but there's this underlining connection between the two main MCs that is palpable and sweet. This book requires the reader to keep an open mind and heart and to not judge what happens along the 15-year journey this author takes us on. I found it so bittersweet and emotional. Two people so unfit, different, and yet so perfect for each other's emotional needs. I sincerely look forward to more writings from this author. She has a gift that's refreshing, poignant in its execution, and has all the elements to become truly successful with her pen.


Advanced review copy received by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan, and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. Her debut novel, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, is coming from Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's in August 2016. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas. 

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