Review ~ All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Posted November 14, 2016 by Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog in Reviews / 42 Comments

Review ~ All the Ugly and Wonderful ThingsAll the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on August 9th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: ebook
Source: Library
5 Stars

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.


This is one of those times I picked up a book because it was everywhere and trusted blogging buddies loved it but I didn’t really pay attention to what it was about. Well, color me shocked when it is about a young girl and a grown man falling slowly in love with each other. There is obviously a lot more to the story but that is the main focus. And man is that not what I was expecting. Worse – I didn’t think I would wind up loving this story despite how uncomfortable and hard it was at points.

The story follows Wavy who has an incredibly tough life. She has bounced around between family a bit and lands back with her parents who just happen to cook meth and completely ignore her and her little brother. She is an eight-year-old who has to be grown up. Clearly, she has issues based on her situation and her parents. Things change when Kellan, who works for her father, crashes his motorcycle in front of her. From there the two help each other out and a relationship starts to grow slowly.

The book spans a fairly large chunk of time and is told in parts. We also see lots of different POVs from Wavy to Kellan to Wavy’s grandma and cousin to her teachers and friend. I really liked seeing all the different people’s perspective on Wavy, her life and her and Kellan.

This book was totally engrossing for me. I could not put it down and had to know what would happen with Wavy. I was rooting for her to just be ok. She had such a hard life that I wanted the best for her. That is where it got tough because I didn’t want to root for a young child and a grown man to be together (and I never really did for that matter.) I just wanted them all to be ok and be happy and as normal as possible. So because of that, this book was tough because it was hard to accept everything going on and the feelings it brought up.

So pretty much it made me feel uncomfortable and weird but had me so invested I could not stop reading. The writing was done so well and I think the only way a story like this could be pulled off. Not only pulled off but be exceptional. This is probably going to be one of if not my top book of the year. It won’t be for everyone clearly but if you can go in with an open mind and be ready for a hard read I would highly recommend.

Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog

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42 responses to “Review ~ All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

  1. I appreciate how hard it must’ve been to write this review, but I confess I don’t know what to make of the book itself. The relationship between Wavy and a grown man just doesn’t sit well with me. I’m genuinely trying to figure out how itd’ work.

  2. Such a great review!! It’s hard to describe how uncomfortable it is to read this book, yet still love it – but you did a great job! I’m thrilled you gave it a chance and ended up enjoying it. I was so blown away by this author’s writing. How she could pull me in like that, especially with the subject matter. Such a fantastic read!
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  3. As a Mother of an 8 year old daughter, this honestly does not sound like something that I could handle. I am glad that you ended up being really engrossed by it.

  4. When I read your review (and when I read Christy’s) the relationship immediately brought to memory the movie “The Professional” (which they’ve since renamed “Leon: The Professional” but I refuse to call it that b/c it was called the other name when I originally saw it). If you haven’t seen it, it’s a very good movie. Besides that point, the relationship in that movie teeters on that line that this book has obviously gone way over. So I have no problem with seeing a relationship coming from a shared past of a bad time, if that’s what happened. With the parents not watching, who else is going to watch out for her, right?

    This sounds like the story would have to span many years and you’d HAVE to know how it ends!!!! I’m glad you stuck with it – squirmy and all 😀
    Kristin recently posted…Review: This Is Our Story by Ashley ElstonMy Profile

  5. OMG, I agree! This book is everywhere! Like you, I didn’t really have any idea what it was about. I only knew I had to read it, haha But wow I really didn’t know it was a young girl and a grown man. I feel like I would be uncomfortable, but at the same time, I really want to know what goes on in the story so I’ll probably pick it up in the future. Great review!
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  6. Why do I feel like I’ve been waiting for this review for a while? I think I have but I turned 36 this weekend so I’m old. I forget things. Ha! Great review for a book that I’m curious about but also very wary about starting. I have a thing about teachers and students but this isn’t one of those so hmm…I think I’m in. Putting it on my wish list. Thanks for the review!
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  7. I confess I didn’t know what to make of the book. I’ve seen it around a whole bunch of times. It sounds interesting but it’s so taboo!! It’s definitely not something I would ever think of reading. But man your review has me on the edge of my seat. I really want to know the how, when and where it happened but most of all how it ends.
    I will most definitely check it out from the library. Thanks so much for such a hard and honest review. Happy reading xoxo

  8. Oh man, I can’t wait to read this! I really love tough books. Even when they make me uncomfortable. I have a copy of this book on my shelf and now I really can’t wait to read it soon. Awesome review!

    ps. Have you read Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma? Your description of this book kind of reminded me of it. It’s such a hard book about a *super* uncomfortable relationship. But the writing is so amazing that you almost forget about the ick.
    Lori recently posted…Audiobook Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa TahirMy Profile

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