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 32 reader reviews for All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
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Carole R. (Burlington, WI)

Star Bright
Those who like stories of children surviving terrible childhoods in unthinkable conditions (think The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls) will enjoy this story. The unlikely relationship between Wavy and Kellen seems implausible at first but by book's end I found myself rooting for them. As the title suggests life can have an ugly side that seems alien to many. It wasn't always easy reading this story because of the ugly seam running through it. It seemed long at times but I kept wanting parts fleshed out a little more. Wavy will take you out of your comfort zone and make you wish you knew more about the stars.
Jan B. (Tetonia, ID)

How do families form?
This was a hard yet compelling book to read. I wanted to stop reading it a couple of times, yet, the story is about such a different part of our culture, the part so affected by drugs and poverty and survival, I knew that I wanted to finish it, to hear what the author wanted to convey.

I am glad I did.

This story is about a young girl, who lives in such a dysfunctional system, she rarely speaks, and will not eat with others. She believes herself to be "dirty". It is about a young man, who accepts her as she is, and will do anything to make her life as "normal" as possible. This is about what "trust" looks like. What "love " looks like. And it's about what "family" can mean and look like to those who live on the periphery of love.
This is a brave story to tell. One that brushes up against what most would consider "immoral" and "indecent" behavior.
It was hard to read emotionally, and I am glad I did.
Dorinne D. (Wickenburg, AZ)

Ugly and Wonderful Things Is an Understatement!
I liked this book more than I thought I would. Wavy is a little girl, wise beyond her years. "Not to be trusted" is her byword, as she's learned from abusive parents. This is a raw story about a child who is regarded as "simple" but who is really quite brilliant. Her mother is beaten down but still mean-spirited and her father is a drug dealer and cruel beyond words. Wavy learns to love and trust Kellen, the only adult who treats her well, all the while she is trying to care for and protect her little brother, Donal. The story is well told and poignant in the sordid details of Wavy's life.

I tried hard to finish book. My problem was the subtle hints of attraction b/w child and adult. I realize this was probably resolved in end. I just couldn't get past the "willies" until end. I enjoyed author's prose. Kept my attention but I still found myself saying "gross". Then I skipped ahead...unfortunately I picked the wrong section to keep me reading.
Judith B. (Omaha, NE)

Slightly Disturbing
Told through alternating voices, the flow of the plot is often hard to follow. It's easy to get confused about which sister is narrating the story. The action is mostly "ugly," and the relationship between Wavy and Killen borders on the uncomfortable. I'm not sure this story needed to be told. It is not an appropriate selection for any of my seven book groups.
Barbara C. (Riverside, CA)

I don't see this as truly average in any way. Need a rating "not ratable" From the beginning, one could see tragedy brewing! At the end one could see how this would turn into a real story with real people--Wavy and Kellen are great, finally. The middle part of the book was a salacious story that could have happened. I wanted to stop reading, but I had to see how the author would resolve the story. I am sorry I read this book all the way through. The writing and organizational details were well done. It will probably be a best seller.
Power Reviewer
Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)

More than ugly and not so wonderful
What a difficult book to review. It began promising and was very well written but ultimately I could not get over the inappropriate and overly sexual relationship between a child and a very grown man. Although the book tried to justify their "love", I couldn't buy it and found therefore that the whole premise of the novel was sick. How can you root for a thirteen year old girl and a 25 year old man to get together? Ugh!
Marcia F. (Batavia, IL)

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
Bryn Greenwood is a very good story teller with well developed characters and excellent descriptions.. To me, however, the subject matter in "All the Ugly and Wonderful Things" is very disturbing and not a subject I enjoyed reading about. Because of this, I am sorry, but I cannot recommend this book.

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