All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (Bryn Greenwood)


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 don’t think this book is what all of the negative reviews say it is. This book might tackle a “tough” subject but to me it is about comfort, safety, love, nurture, trust and all of the words that describe someone’s happiness. I think it’s uncomfortable and out of everybody’s “norm” so they have a hard time embracing the real message that this book portrays. And to me, that’s okay.


In all of the ugly things in the world, you can have a beautiful. A beautiful, wonderful thing. And that’s exactly what the book is about.

The differing POV’s was just brilliant. I enjoyed going through Wavy’s life through the eyes of her peers and friends and family. You never had to worry what was going through a certain persons mind in any of the situations that occurred in this book because the author made sure to draw everything out for you as you read each chapter.


There was a downside, unfortunately. The book was very repetitive. The first 30% I flew through, I honestly couldn’t put it down at all. But about a third of the way through I lost interest and got disconnected. It took a while for me to get fully connected and invested all over again which is a total bummer.

Another down side for me was how the author portrayed Kellan. Not only the author but the characters too. It was like the author tried to force us to be turned away from him. Did you want us to just think he was this giant, fat, ugly monster? Why? Just stop. I get it, you don’t want him to be attractive!


The main thing about this book to me wasn’t the plot, the characters, or the prose. It was the authors writing. How she didn’t have to manipulate readers into thoughts. We got to develop our own. To me, what was going on was acceptable (in a sense) because Kellan wasn’t driven by sexual fantasies. He wanted to protect Wavy from the day to day things she encountered. People grow up. People explore feelings. They’re vulnerable to what they’re comfortable with. He was her safe place.

So, although the book may be uncomfortable and “gross” you feel so emotionally confused because your empathy for Wavy is off the charts. Your yearning for her is so indescribable. I can understand how this book would be a huge hit or miss. You’re either going to love it or hate it. You won’t find a middle ground on it.


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