Reader reviews and comments on All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, plus links to write your own review.

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All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

A Novel

by Bryn Greenwood

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood X
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2016, 352 pages
    Oct 2017, 432 pages


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There are currently 34 reader reviews for All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
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Doris R. (Snellville, GA)

Ugly and wonderful, beautiful and heartbreaking
When I first started this book, I wasn't sure I would finish it. The ugliness this little child was enduring was hard to stomach, but I quickly was taken in by the beauty of her spirit. She is a survivor, and I was buying into her story. I had to know the ending.
Ms. Greenwood has created a story that questions everything you ever thought about relationships. What is appropriate? What is inappropriate? Mother/daughter, husband/wife, teacher/student? Underage girl/older guy? Sister/sister, brother/brother? Evil and good can show up anywhere.
She allows the story to be told through every character's first person experience. That's a style I really enjoy.
Barbara G. (Lisle, IL)

What Is Love?
The characters and this well-written and haunting story will stay with you long after you reach the final paragraph. At the beginning, you may not want to continue reading because the situations are so off-putting. Wavy, the focal character, is nearly mute, speaking monosyllabically, so traumatized by her bi-polar, self-centered and indifferent mother and her physically abusive meth-dealing father with his own harem. The only bright point in her life is Kellen, a giant, tattooed motorcycle mechanic twelve years her senior from his own alcoholic, abusive family. Seeing how she's treated, he steps in to buy her clothes and shoes, pay her school fees and makes sure she gets there, and becomes her friend. There are definite questions of whether their relationship is pedophilia, but the reader will have to decide what constitutes love after getting to know them and the situations in which they find themselves.
Carm D. (Omaha, NE)

All The Ugly And Wonderful Things
Oh my, I thought I was going to dislike this book. I was very wrong, it is very well written, the author knows her subjects very well.

The story line moved so fluidly, I found myself rooting for characters that I had no intention of liking.

The title UGLY and WONDERFUL says it all. I couldn't put it down. The moral..don't rush to judge what you do not know or understand. Can't wait for the movie!
Amy W. (Annapolis, MD)

Just Beautiful
Have you ever read a book that was so beautifully perfectly written that you just had to put it down every once in a while to savor the words? That is this book. I don't want to say too much about the plot because part of the beauty of this book is learning how the story unfolds...

One of the unique aspects of this book that was perfectly done was the narration. It is very difficult to change narration's without breaking the flow in the story but somehow Bryn Greenwood is able to do it in a way that adds to the story.

I highly recommend this book.
Diane H. (Leawood, KS)

Amazing Read
Wow! Greenwood has presented the reader with a truly mesmerizing cast of characters. Her style of writing allows you to feel as if you are inside of the skin of Wavy and Kellen and sharing their experiences.
The book is raw, sensual and touching. I could not put it down.
Julie M. (Maple Grove, MN)

Five Stars!!
This is one of the best books I've read so far this year! The characters are fully drawn and even though the dialog is sparse they all have a lot to say and Greenwood made every word count. This is about family and who that is for us may not be determined by blood, but who makes us feel safe, loved and accepted. Both Wavy and Kellan are living proof that if a person has one other person to love and care about them it can literally save their life no matter what else happens to them. I will not forget this story or these characters for a long time. I had not read this author in the past and can't wait to read her other two novels. I will be recommending All The Ugly and Wonderful Things to everyone!
Power Reviewer
Becky H. (Chicago, IL)

Ugly hope
The Ugly – Strung out, abusive, uncaring parents who also deal drugs and engage in "open" marriage among other things: relatives who are too eager to condemn and not eager to listen: law enforcement that wants to believe the worst: and more.

The Wonderful – sincere friendship: true, faithful love: caring teachers: and more.
Beautifully written with well developed, complex characters and believable, if truly awful situations, Bryn Greenwoods debut book is mesmerizing. Filled with raw language and rawer sex, it still manages to be filled with love and hope. This book is not for everyone, but for those willing to read with an open mind, the love story of Wavy and Kellen follows them from Wavy's eighth year through her college graduation. This is an unusual book that will find its way to book groups eager to be challenged and willing to discuss drugs, law enforcement, child endangerment, felons, desperation, murder, family relationships, perseverance and hope.

5 of 5 stars with reservations for sex, violence and strong language
Jill F. (Blackwood, NJ)

Couldn't put it down
This is one of those books that grabs you on the first page and doesn't let go. What makes a family? Who are we to judge when someone finds love and happiness? This is the story of people born in to the worst of circumstances, judged by society who find one another and build the family they've always longed for. Surrounded by chaos and abuse, severely damaged by past experiences Wavy and Kellen take care of one another. I'll admit to feeling uncomfortable with the turn their relationship takes and the consequences that result but in the end love conquers all, fences are mended and they find the family they longed for. Definitely a book to read if you're looking for a happy ending

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