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

All the Ugly

BOOK REVIEW

Title: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
Author: @bryngreenwood
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Rating: 5 stars

shorties-approved

Synopsis

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.

Grace Review

It takes a special kind of writer, to put words to a page that inherently are wrong, yet build a story where what may seem wrong to most, is actually very right.  This is a story you need to read with an open mind.  If you go in with judgments, you won’t fully grasp the beauty of this story.  Because this is the story centers on a relationship that is considered illegal under the eyes of the law.

Wavy is far from your normal heroine.  From an early age, she is shaped by a toxic home life with two drug dependent parents.  On top of that, she is physically hindered by the words her mother spewed over the years.  All those words made her a shell of a child.  Afraid to be touched.  Afraid to talk.  Afraid to eat.  She is constantly misunderstood because no one truly gets to know her, until Kellen.

Wavy meets Kellen in a meadow, saving him from possible death.  For whatever reason, the two form a bond over the years.  Despite their age difference, they truly seem to understand each other.  At first, Kellen serves a fatherly role for Wavy, since her parents don’t seem to care.  He doesn’t judge her quirks, and is the first person to not only understand them, but to get past them.

In theory, I should be disgusted by Kellen.  There are moments where Wavy is trying to get close, that were concerning.  But the author did such a great job in building their characters, it was clear to see his struggle.  How he understood what he was doing was wrong, but couldn’t deny the connection he felt with Wavy.  The first girl to accept him completely.

You see, Kellen isn’t some buff BBF who had all of the ladies drooling.  He’s described often as fat and stupid.  Whether that was completely true is unknown.  However, its clear Wavy saw him in a completely different way.  That was refreshing, because it showed a love based on more than a physical attraction.

This story is gritty.  There is no true good guy.  Kellen is far from a stand-up guy, despite doing what he can to protect Wavy.   Aside from the multitude of crimes and horrible parental role models, Wavy and Kellen also have to contend with outside family who try to step in and make things right, at that absolute worst time.  It’s at this time, if not before, where I was convinced about the depth of love between Wavy and Kellen.

I went into this story knowing that Wavy and Kellen’s relationship, at least in her youth, was wrong.  Yet cheering for them to find a way to make things right.  If you connect with the story like I did, you will cheer for them too.

Told from multiple POVs, this story is raw and honest.  It is not glorified with beautiful characters, wealth, and success.  This is simply a story of two souls who were meant to be together, and fight the judgments of others and laws set to protect, in order to get their chance for a HEA.

As the saying goes, there is beauty in simplicity.  That is what this author has delivered with this story.   This story exceeded my expectations, which were already high going in.  And in case you were wondering, in my opinion, it is worth the high price.

“I love you all the way.”

– Grace

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