Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Posted August 28, 2016 by Francesca in Reviews / 13 Comments

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

4.5 Stars

BOOK INFO


Released: August 9th 2016
Published by Thomas Dunne Books
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook
 

Recommended Read!

“It was powerful, compelling, intense, wrong and …. beautiful, in a world that had nothing but ugly in it.”
~ Under the Covers

First things first.  I don’t shy away from a dark/forbidden read.  But also, it takes a great author to pull it off in a way that consumes me.  So when I first saw all the hype around this book and the subject matter, I’ll admit it only put me off because I didn’t want to go in with high expectations only to be disappointed.  But it kept calling to me, and I took the plunge.

To say that this book is very different is an understatement.  I waited a few days to write this review to process my feelings and I’m still conflicted.  At the heart of it, yes, it’s a story about love.  But it’s about so much more than that.  When you meet these characters, you’ll see why.  And when we talk about taboo, this book went at it with balls of steel.  I have to commend the author for going places with this story that couldn’t have been easy and certainly were risky decisions.  Brave and ugly ones.  They were also the ones that had my emotions going haywire, fighting how I felt with what my mind was telling me I should.  The author evoked that so well.  I can also understand how some people won’t read it because they feel it’ll be pushing the envelope too much for them.  If you’re on the fence though, then I think you should give it a try.

As the blurb for this book suggests, this is a Wavy’s story.  A little girl we meet when she’s a very young girl.  Her father is a meth dealer, her mom is a junkie and has even more problems, and she’s never known a normal home or an ounce of love.  My heart broke for Wavy and how she had to grow up.  When she meets Kellen, he’s the anti of everything I think of in a hero.  Not attractive, a thug working for her father, the age difference is considerable and he has so little care for himself, others, his appearance or anything.  Except he cares for Wavy.  And the bond and relationship that forms between them from a very young age should have made me turn the other way.  But, somehow, it didn’t.  It was powerful, compelling, intense, wrong and …. beautiful, in a world that had nothing but ugly in it.

This is by no means an easy story to read because it’ll make you uncomfortable and question how you feel.  And what made me uncomfortable the most, was the fact that I wasn’t having the expected feelings I should’ve.  My heart ached for these two broken people to put each others pieces together.  This book drew out so many emotions from me.  And all of this had NOTHING to do with anything sexual.  Their connection runs so much deeper than that could ever be.  Ultimately, I think that’s what had the most impact.

I think a big part of why this story works is the writing itself.  Flawless.  There’s different POVs, not just from Kellen and Wavy, and I think that gives us such perspective into the situation.  Most importantly, in that detachment from the main characters emotions I found it allowed me to experience their story from my own POV and come to terms with how I really felt about it.  It really was like watching a movie.

I hope that you give it a chance and take on the emotional rollercoaster.  It’s not all tears, I promise.  It’ll just push you out of your comfort zone and will only leave a real, gritty, unconventional and raw story that will stay with you for a long time.

Favorite quotes:

“I do love you,” he’d said, his voice rumbling through the floor.
“I love you all the way.”
Not the sort of thing a family friend says to a thirteen-year-old girl.

“I was selfish to wish for you.”

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About Bryn Greenwood

BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan, and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She earned a MA in Creative Writing from Kansas State University and continues to work in academia as an administrator. Her short fiction has appeared in Chiron Review, Karamu, The Battered Suitcase, and Menda City Review. She is the author of the novels All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Last Will, and Lie Lay Lain. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

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Francesca

Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
I’m a 30 something sun lover living in the Big Apple (read New York).I’m a book and coffee addict and lover of all things elephants.

I get easily distracted by pictures of sexy guys and have tons of book boyfriends.I keep all my alpha males chained to my basement and guard them fiercely.*Back off bitches*I like to see Jason Momoa as a lot of those boyfriends, because ….. mmmmmmm JASON.MOMOA!

I’m a part time graphic designer (yes, everything you see on UTC has been done by me), run my husband's business from home and on a good day I’m a self appointed superwoman (she who can do it all).I love blogging with my girls and I couldn’t do it any other way!My first love is everything paranormal, but in the past few years I’ve re-learned to love contemporary romance.Every once in a while I like to mix things up with a historical romance, a steampunk or an LGBT book.Because I need variety to avoid book slumps.I don’t always need an HEA although I prefer one, and I love authors that can rip my heart out and make me ugly cry.
Francesca
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Angela
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Angela

Fantastic review! I loved this book!
I also struggled with feeling how “I thought I should” and how the book was making me feel.
I was so impressed with how the author presented 16 POVs without confusion and that stayed true throughout.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

So good to hear you loved it. I think that’s exactly why this is so powerful, it’s written in a way that even though you know you should be repulsed, you just can’t help but root for them.
I completely agree with the POV thing. Really amazing writing.

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

wow…this sounds compelling…thanks

Under the Covers Book Blog
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Under the Covers Book Blog

let me know what you think if you read it

Melanie Jayne
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Melanie Jayne

Hmmm- I’m going to read it. I have a push-pull thing with books that push me to examine boundaries.

So Here I Go….

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Let me know what you thought after

Bube
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Bube

Plan to read this book 🙂
Thank you for the great review Francesca 🙂

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Hope you enjoy it!

Timitra
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Timitra

Great review Francesca you definitely have me itching to read it

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

😉 my job here is done

Darynda
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Darynda

This sounds so good! It’s on my Kindle. Can’t wait to get to it! Thanks for the review!

Under the Covers Book Blog
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Under the Covers Book Blog

Eeeekkkk can’t wait to see what you think!

Amy R
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Amy R

I’ve been debating about reading but I’m adding to my wishlist now.