All The Ugly And Wonderful Things: A Novel by Bryn GreenwoodAll The Ugly And Wonderful Things: A Novel by Bryn Greenwood

All The Ugly And Wonderful Things: A Novel

byBryn Greenwood

Hardcover | August 9, 2016

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- 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

Bryn Greenwood is a fourth-generation Kansan, and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She earned an MA from Kansas State University and continues to work in academia as an administrator. She is the author of Last Will and All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The New York Times, Chi...
Title:All The Ugly And Wonderful Things: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.44 × 6.47 × 1.15 inPublished:August 9, 2016Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250074134

ISBN - 13:9781250074133

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favorite The issues in this gem may be hard to read to at times. I have to admit I nearly put it down myself a few times... but the story as a whole is SO WORTH IT!!
Date published: 2017-09-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book Took a while to get into this book! Glad I read it though.
Date published: 2017-08-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Mixed reviews I can see how many people liked this book. It will challenge you to look beyond the first picture. It was actually well written but I just could not get into the story. I struggled with this book,
Date published: 2017-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Book To Challenge You This book is stunning. It's challenging, disturbing, and will make you uncomfortable. Bryn Greenwood creates a relationship that by all practical accounts will make your stomach turn, and flips the table so drastically that you will question everything you know to be right and moral. I found myself struggling with some of the scenes, but also found myself justifying so much of it. I had to ask myself, what defines love? It's 1975 and Wavy is a little girl at 5 years old. Her parents are addicted to drugs, and she is living with her aunt Brenda and her cousins. As a result of her trauma, Wavy doesn't speak, leaving everyone to think she's mentally challenged. Wavy eventually goes on to live with her he grandmother, and finally ends up back with her mother. Living with her mother, Wavy takes care of herself and her younger brother, Donal, cleaning and preparing food. A few years have passed and she is 8 years old when a chance encounter with 19 year old Kellen occurs. Kellen, a criminal who works for Wavy's father, crashes his motorcycle by her house, and Wavy rushes out to see if he is OK. There is clearly a connection between the two, and after her becomes aware of Wavy's living situation, Kellen steps in to help. Kellen cleans the house, buys food for Wavy and Donal, and begins to pay for Wavy's school fees. Over time, Wavy begins to trust Kellen, and the two become inseparable. As the years pass, Wavy and Kellen's relationship evolves from something innocent to something more - there are many moments that gave me pause. Their connection, however, is something hard to define, something more than love. Is Kellen a pedophile? Is he taking advantage of Wavy in her disadvantaged situation? There is no sexual attraction between Wavy and Kellen initially. Kellen states "that’s not the only thing love means. You just got your mind in the gutter". Told from multiple points of view, we gain other character's perspectives on their relationship. Naturally, many characters are horrified by their bond and work to keep them apart. Greenwood herself is the " daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer", and has stated that this book was partially inspired by her relationship with an older man when she was 13 years old. Greenwood has created a world in which this relationship feels right, regardless of how inappropriate much of it is. As a mother and a fierce protector of children, I'm blown away by her feat. Only a skilled writer can craft a story like this and have you rooting for the couple. I'm looking forward to more from Greenwood, and may have to check out her backlist.
Date published: 2017-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A different book but a good book It was a little hard for me to wrap my head around this book while reading it, but I'm glad I started and finished it!
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from haunting This book presented a moral dilemma that will stay with me for a long, long time.
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Uncomfortable This book was well written and was an easy read. However, the topic got very uncomfortable. I also found that it went on too long. The ending was a bit of a disappointment. Considering how complicated everyone's life was, the ending didn't seem to fit. Not everything has to be wrapped up with a nice bow.
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This is an outstanding book - wonderfully developed and complex characters, a shifting POV that was not cumbersome, a deftly woven plot and plenty of rawness and grit. It is uncomfortable at time but the author handles such scenes with honesty and elegance. I would recommend it to any avid reader, and it will certainly be a cornerstone in the southern grit genre. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-04-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just okay My mediocre rating is not due to the controversial subject matter, but more because I got kinda bored. This story is incredibly compelling at first. Our main character Wavy starts out as a very young child, as the novel spans 15 years, growing up in a really shitty household. Her parents are drug addicts, drug dealers, neglectful and abusive. She doesn't communicate or connect with anyone until Kellan enters her life - a tattood, grown man on a motorcycle, with an unhappy life of his own. He looks out for her, enrolls her in school and takes care of her over the years, as they become unlikely companions. It's a well written narrative, told from many different perspectives that vary from first and third person, with a lot of different opinions and views being shared; I came to understand everyone's motives and perspectives, and empathized with a lot of them. This book definitely made me feel a lot of things; it's is a love story that starts out with an 8 year old and a 25 year old- it's sad and disturbing, but filled with a tenderness that can make you feel conflicted as a reader. The author did a great job of staying non-committal; as the story plays out you're allowed to take what you will from it and form your own opinion on the character's relationship. I definitely plan to read more from this author in the future, but for me this novel started to drag and I found myself caring less and less about the characters and skimming once I hit the half way point.
Date published: 2017-04-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Its good but uncomfortable I really liked how the story was told but the topic was a bit uncomfortable. but its a page turner
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Uncomfortable topic, will make you think. A very interesting read, the topic is slightly uncomfortable at times however the Author does a brilliant job of combining narratives and making you think about the situation differently with each perspective. An impressive first novel!
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read! This book will evoke so many emotions! Great read.
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Raw, Emotional and Wonderful. This book won't be for everyone however, I could not put this one down! I loved the rawness of the book - the characters were unique and it really pulled you in from the very first page. There was nothing predictable about this love story. Highly recommend!!
Date published: 2017-03-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disturbing.... This book made me feel quite uncomfortable. I would not recommend it to people with children.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GREAT Book - So honest Blew through this book, just couldn't put it down. At times it forced me to re-think where I stand on quite a few topics, but the way it unfolded was just too beautiful. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I could not put this book down! It's been a really long time since I finished a book in one sitting. It blows my mind how much i enjoyed All the ugly and beautiful Things. It's DEFINITELY a controversial read. oh boy - it's really really good though. Such a heartbreaking and unsettling story.
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Its telling truth about all the ugly and wonderful things in life. All I can say this is an amazing book. It talks about the reality of what most kids are going through with abusive parents. I recommend this book. The writing is amazing I think Bryn has done amazing job. I also liked that the book was told for everyones point of view and she would tell us who the point of views were from, which made the story more easier to follow through.
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hauntingly Beauitful This book will definitely stay with you after you read it. The characters were so complex and intriguing, and the writing was beautiful. Must read!
Date published: 2017-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All the Ugly and Wonderful things This book is so different and unique to read. It's hard to put down. I absolutely love Wavy. You will think about this book long after finishing it. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite book of 2016! Very few books that I have read in my life really stick with me. There are some I remember and others that are a distant memory. Those that I can't get through are promptly forgotten and some are abandoned. Then there are those that are a shining memory, ones I cannot get out of my head, the ones that I think about and remember how much they broke me, gutted me. One of those books is Lullabies For Little Criminals. After reading that book I thought to myself there's no way another book could ever come close to this. Friends, welcome to All The Ugly & Wonderful Things. This book has surpassed my love for Lullabies for Little Criminals, just a tad, and has landed itself 5 stars and a spot on my favourites shelf. As I write this I am still shaky (since I literally just put the book down and ran to write this review) and so in love with Bryn Greenwood's writing. My initial thought when I read about this book on the day of its release was "will I be able to get through this book?" I wasn't sure I would like it and I knew it would need to be written very well for me to devote myself to it. After a few friends posted their reviews, one being Jen from BluestockingBookshelf, I knew I had to pick it up. I devoured this in 2 days. It was like being sucked into a funnel of beauty found in the most uncommon places. The characters were so raw and full of emotions. I fell in love with all of them. Bryn I don't know how you did it, but you managed to make me feel differently for each character! I wanted to give each of them a giant hug (even broken Val). I also loved how when it came down to it age had no reason to exist in the relationship. I have no idea how you did it but you did it, you tore my heart out and stitched it back together. I have never before read a book where I felt every emotion possible. I loved this book so much. I hope that I can recommend this to people but part of me is scared to do so because it's such a complicated book that I'm terrified someone will view it incorrectly. I see how some people might be horrified or be uncomfortable but to me it was beautiful even when uncomfortable. Some books are told to us while others are shown to us. That is exactly how I feel about All The Ugly & Wonderful Things, I was unexpectedly touched by it. I would also like to mention that the title of this book is so perfect for the story, nailed it!
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down! MUST-READ! I'm not sure what I expected when I started reading this book, but it surely wasn't what I got. This book is insanely amazing, dramatic and emotional. So wrong and so right all at the same time. It really brings to light alternate realities some people may live and make question you question right and wrong. It's a MUST-READ!
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book of 2016 I loved this novel. One of the best books I have read in a long time.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow I read this a month ago and still have not been able to wrap my head around everything that happened. This was beautifully written. The author has this way with words that makes the reader feel like they are in the same room as the characters, witnessing everything first hand instead of being told what was happening. It was more "storyshowing" instead of storytelling, which was wonderful! And the story was unlike anything I had ever read. I never lost interest. Talk about emotional turbulence! I don't want to say much about the actual plot but please read this!! It!
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I can't believe this novel does not have more reviews. It is heartbreaking, uncomfortable, engrossing and difficult. I went through so many emotions reading this book, and the main character Wavy has stayed with me ever since it finished. This isn't your typical novel, it is so unlike anything else I have read. But it is raw, and real. Definitely give it a chance!
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing read! I read this on a whim since it's not my usual pick and I was not disapointed!
Date published: 2016-11-05

Editorial Reviews

"If you're looking for a dangerous, shocking, and unexpectedly touching story, this is it...This is a book that will shake you to the core." -Bustle "31 Books Bringing the Heat this Summer""Captivating and smartly written from the first page, Greenwood's work is instantly absorbing. Pithy characters saunter, charge or stumble into each scene via raw, gripping narrative. Greenwood slow-drips descriptions, never giving away everything at once. Rather, she tells her story as if lifting a cloth thread by thread, revealing heartbreaking landscapes and riveting dialogue in perfect timing. This book won't pull at heartstrings but instead yank out the entire organ and shake it about before lodging it back in an unfamiliar position." -Christina Ledbetter, The Associated Press"This book destroyed me. I have never read anything like it. I came to the end of the novel with my mind-reeling, my emotions scattered, and completely unsure exactly what I did feel about it...but one thing is certain: I felt. Oh hell, I felt. I don't think I'll ever get these characters off my mind." -Emily May, #1 Worldwide most popular reviewer, Goodreads"The title says it all. You will hold your little heart in your hands and keep blowing on it to make sure it's alive." -The Top Ten Hottest Reads of 2016, New York Daily News"This is one of those books whose story, if you heard about it on the news or glimpsed some sensationalist headline, would be horrifying, but in THIS book, with THESE characters, where you are privy to interior monologues and backstories and a hundred examples of what defines them as people, it makes sense. It's two damaged people finding something in the other that answers a need, and it's unexpectedly touching. It's so, so impressive. Vibrant. Heartbreaking. Sympathetic. Her writing is astonishing." -Karen, #1 US most popular reviewer, Goodreads"The stirring Bryn Greenwood's All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, so freakishly good and dangerous that it should come with a warning label... the writing is direct and muscular, a snake with all the slithery danger of a coiled rattler on a hot rock. VERDICT Greenwood (from Kansas, daughter of a "mostly reformed drug dealer") astounds in creating a world where assorted murderers, felons, and thieves are sympathetic. Alternating narrators à la The Sound and the Fury create a dynamic where Lolita meets a dissonance of values/taboo romance like East of Eden, Damage, or The Little Mermaid." -Library Journal"Bryn Greenwood has handed readers a strange - but strangely grabbing - tale." -Harry Levins, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Best of 2016"Greenwood's haunting a story that will stay with readers long after the book is finished." -Lisa McLendon, The Wichita Eagle"[A] powerful, provocative debut...intelligent, honest, and unsentimental." -Kirkus Reviews (STARRED)"An emotionally resonant novel with an unlikely cast of characters you won't soon forget. Bryn Greenwood's unique voice and her understanding of human nature offer an amazing tale of family, loss, and love that's as unpredictable and inspiring as love itself." -Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader"Written in lyrical and searingly honest prose, Bryn Greenwood tells a powerful story of love and resilience against the bleakest of backdrops. Like the best fiction, this is a novel that means to disturb and challenge as it forces us to look with compassion on every last one of its flawed, memorable characters. I was captivated from the first page to the last." -Patry Francis, three time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and author of The Orphans of Race Point"Gritty and dark and tough and uncomfortable, but it's brilliantly constructed...Greenwood develops an incredible and resilient character in Wavy. It's an outstanding debut novel and I am itching for Greenwood's next book." -Kelly Jensen, Book Riot"Greenwood is a gifted writer, and Wavy's story will stick to your bones long after you put this book down. These characters will fast become friends, and you will find yourself reluctant to leave their ugly and wonderful little world." -Madeline Lemieux, Creative Loafing Charlotte"Incredible book alert...Another true page turner as Greenwood takes her reader on an emotional bungee jump that requires you to decide for yourself what you can and can not accept given the grimmest of circumstances." (5 out of 5 stars) -Erin Woodward, The Girly Book Club"All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is just that: ugly and wonderful all at the same time. An epic love story...This book will be the birth of a vibrant debate about the law and societal norms as your book club members will truly be divided by the actions of our male lead. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for this one!" -InStyle UK"Achingly raw and beautifully written, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is both a hypnotic coming-of-age story and a heartbreaking tragedy. Greenwood's emotional prose and her well-drawn characters immediately drew me in and kept me captivated. I'm still thinking about Wavy, and her ugly and wonderful world, long after I've turned the last page." -Jillian Cantor, author of Margot and The Hours Count"Bryn Greenwood is so good it hurts. Her writing is lean, precise, elegant and dripping with the telling detail-the understated bit of dialogue that reveals everything." -Robert Ferrigno, New York Times bestselling author of Monkey Boyz, Horse Latitudes, the Prayer for the Assassin trilogy and other novels"The author skillfully creates widely varied and original voices... a memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love under the most improbable circumstances." -Publishers Weekly