All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood



”Right up until that moment it was sweet and funny. Odd couple that they were, they had a real connection. Then he tugged her boot off and kissed the bottom of her bare foot. I could see him doing that kind of thing to his own kid, but she wasn’t. She was somebody else’s little girl.” 

I am an emotional wreck. How has this book set my moral compass so askew? How could I have possibly been crying over a relationship between a grown man and a minor? I was distraught kinda crying, not a horrified or disgusted kinda crying either! I know I’m being a sheep when I say this but wow, this is amazing! I was so worried I’d dislike this book because it was so hyped up but it did not disappoint, not even a little bit.

You’ll be amazed at how well Greenwood has reinvented the adult-male-child-female relationship that we see all too often in novels and films. She’s managed to completely turn the disgusting, abusive image on its head. The love between Kellen and Wavy is the truest and realist love I’ve seen in a book for a seriously long time. There is absolutely no comparison between Kellen and Wavy with Humbert and Lolita, it’s not that sort of book. There are some people who, undoubtedly, are not going to like this book or the message it’s putting across, but you have to know that there is nothing evil in this age gap relationship as you would first guess there to be.

I can almost understand why Kellen and Wavy fall in love so quickly and so passionately. Wavy has had such a horrible existence, with her abusive, drug addicted father and her horrible mother who doesn’t care for anyone but herself. Wavy is her own person, even from the beginning of this story, she may only be 8 years old but she’s already a woman, she’s had to live her life looking after herself and her baby brother, she already knows what it is to be an adult, so it’s no surprise she springs into adulthood at such a full force. And then there is Kellen, he’s lonely and undesirable (apparently) and he’s also bullied by the people around him he calls “friends”. So when Wavy comes along and looks at him and treats him like he’s the most wonderful person in the world, it’s not really a surprise that a strong bond grows between them almost instantly.

I believe that at the beginning of their relationship there is no sexual desire, I honestly think their relationship is one of friendship and love in a more uncle and niece kind of way, but inevitably these feelings become something more. Kellen, although he does desire sexual gratification, knows his feelings are misplaced and so there is nothing dark and evil about his feeling towards Wavy, and for me, this makes him one of the best male character I’ve read about in a long time, no matter if he’s a paedophile or not.

This book is a serious roller coaster of emotions and had me blubbering like a baby for the last 10%, or more, of the book. I am in love with this book, so thank you very much Bryn Greenwood for this amazing novel and giving me the chance to read it before publication! I’ve already recommended this to friends and family and I can’t wait to read more of Greenwood’s writing.

Buy it here!

Thanks to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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