All the Ugly and Wonderful Things Review


First off, when I picked up this book, I didn’t expect it to go in the direction that it did at all. I only purchased it because it won a GR award.

With that said, Greenwood writes a fantastic novel, delving into a topic widely considered taboo. Without fetishizing her main protagonist, she crafts a story that doesn’t fall on the black/white scale of good and evil many societies have installed. It’s grey, all grey.

Greenwood employees fantastic psychology in showing us how her protagonist ends up falling in love at such a young age, and to her being taken advantage of. Yes, it’s wrong by all societal and moral standards, but at the same time Greenwood pushes this issue in our face. We can easily see where Wavy is coming from! Good grief, would we not have chosen the same options she did? And Kellen, my goodness, yes he allowed things to go to far but as readers, we can completely empathize with him. For something so controversial, here we are looking at the scale of where it falls within morality.

I will admit that yes, this novel made me uncomfortable, but not to the point where I chose to put it down. Greenwood goes just far enough in my opinion. And there’s nothing nasty about the book. It dives into sex and relationships without apology. Her descriptions are raw and provoking, but it never got gross. It was what it was and Greenwood makes no effort into tying a neat bow around it.

I appreciated Wavy’s character. Her lack of words, her eating disorder, how she found herself despite her circumstances. The fact that she studies astrophysics. It’s beautiful. She’s resilient, she’s determined, she takes charge, she knows what she wants.

All of the characters Greenwood gives us are very much their own. Kellen is a strong character, even Brenda. For those who want to hate Kellen, maybe even Brenda, Greenwood constantly redeems them. They are doing things by their own philosophy and morality code; they are both good and bad as no one falls entirely on one end of the spectrum. The switching viewpoints brings out the characterizations even more which is lovely, and not something I’m usually a fan of, but it works!

Give it a go if you really want to think long and hard about ethics, morality, and philosophy (imo). It favors strands of White Oleander and some of White is for Witching although I would say the first is a better comparison to the book when dealing with mature subjects.

4/5 stars from me.

My book from the US is complete and I’m 1/197 countries!

review on GR


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