- A New York Times and USA Today bestseller
- Book of the Month Club 2016 Book of the Year
- Second Place Goodreads Best Fiction of 2016
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.
31 Books Bringing the Heat this Summer —Bustle
Top Ten Hottest Reads of 2016 —New York Daily News
Best Books of 2016 —St. Louis Post Dispatch
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Bryn Greenwood’s defiant debut is an unorthodox––and often uncomfortable––love story. Wavy Quinn, the abused daughter of Kansas meth dealers, is only eight when she meets Jesse Joe Kellen, a kindly twentysomething biker in her father’s employ. As their relationship escalates from ad hoc guardianship to true romance, their 13-year age gap is scrutinized by various characters, whose reactions range from curiosity to disgust. Despite the provocative, occasionally histrionic plot, Greenwood finds genuine tenderness between two tragically neglected people as she tries to make sense of life on the margins. She challenges readers to do the same.
Greenwood's strong debut, set throughout the United States, is about a young girl's triumph over the sordid life she might have led as the daughter of drug addicts, one of whom is a meth dealer. The author skillfully creates widely varied and original voices, as the story unfolds from a variety of characters' viewpoints, whether it's Wavy, the main character, whom we see growing from a six-year-old to a young adult; Wavy's grandmother, who takes care of her for a time before succumbing to cancer; or the loving Kellen, whose street smarts makes up for his lack of education. The relationship at the heart of the novel is between Wavy and Kellen, a drug runner for her father who changes her life. In Wavy, Greenwood has fashioned a resilient girl who doesn't speak much, hiding a fierce intelligence and strong will that enables her to take care of herself and her infant brother despite her parents' drug habits. This is a memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love under the most improbable circumstances.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
A subject hard to read about, but pretty sure it happens. In bygone days 13 was not too young to marry, but these days I understand why it seems shocking. What an environment Wavy and Donal were forced to live in, pretty sure again, that there are children that live in that same environment today. I believed Kellan did his best to control his feelings for Wavy, to protect her from himself. Wavy was always the aggressor , she was old beyond her years. I felt sympathy for some of these dysfunctional characters.
Well written but went too far
This was a book that was easy to get get hooked on and read in a few days - no doubt the author is a good storyteller. But left me with a feeling of yuck...sensitive subject and assuming you embrace the ending, would have set better without so many graphical details of the inappropriate relationship. I waited a few days to write this review hoping the bad scenes would wash away from memory to no avail.
Stop - don’t read anymore reviews. Just read the book. It’s that good.