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All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  30,592 Ratings  ·  5,248 Reviews
New York Times Bestseller
Goodreads Best Fiction of 2016 Runner-Up

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 whe
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published August 9th 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Zuky the BookBum I think this book is very far from horrifying. It's sad, touching and eye opening more than anything. For me, this is the realest love I've read about…moreI think this book is very far from horrifying. It's sad, touching and eye opening more than anything. For me, this is the realest love I've read about in a book for a long, long time.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Lori Hit a nerve, much? Abuse comes in many forms... and love and salvation can be found in unlikely places. Not everything is black and white.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Emily May
May 06, 2016 Emily May rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Emily May by: karen
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.

This book destroyed me. I have never read anything like it. If you know the basic premise - that this is a so-called "love story" between an adult man and a female child - you might be thinking Lolita! But nah, All
Jan 10, 2016 karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grit-lit

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oh, good, i get to be the first reviewer of this book on here. that's not something i usually worry about, but when it's a potentially controvershul book, i get a little leery of being the only target for potential outrage. i had one of the first reviews of Tampa on here, too, and i know i'm gonna get a reputation for being totes pro-pedophilia if i keep being such an early cheerleader for these kinds of books, but i'll
Mar 15, 2017 Kai rated it did not like it
Shelves: owned, 2017
Let's pretend you have a little sister. Say she is 12 or 13. There's this big older guy she's been hanging out with lately, and you know he's at least 26 years old.
You walk into her room and there she is, on a table, completely naked, legs spread wide, he is sitting there, shirt off, pants open, touching her.
What do you do? What do you think? What do you feel?
That's exactly what I'm feeling reading this. It's not even discomfort any longer. It's shock and pure disgust.

Here are some disturbing qu
Val ⚓️ ShamelessBitchySkanky ⚓️ Steamy Reads
4.5 Stars

"She is just as real as I am."

^^^That was my favorite line and moment in a book that was filled with more than a few touching lines and moments.


Before I say anything, let's address the large-trunked mammal who hath set his fat ass in the middle of this ugly and wonderful room.


Unless you live in a faraway goodreads cave (which I am totally not knocking, faraway caves are legit comfy hangouts) you have probably heard that the H/h in this book first...get involved...when they are 13 and
5 stars

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I love out of the box, controversial reads. I love stories that are a bit forbidden and/or on the taboo side. When reviews started coming in for this book I’d never heard of, I knew I had to read it asap. So I picked up the book around 10 pm thinking- I’ll just start it, see how it is. Yeah. I bet you all can guess what happened after that… I stayed up all night reading it. I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to. My eyes were literally burning when I reached 65%, but I carried on. When I f
Wow! This was a spectacular book. I devoured this story. Beginning to end, I was completely lost in this disturbing, yet beautiful, love story.

While I loved the story, I know that this is a story that many people will not enjoy. There are several difficult and highly controversial topics in this book. I'm pretty open-minded, but even I had a hard time with the relationship turning physical between Wavy (13-14 years old) and Kellen (25 or so years old). As a fictitious story, I was able to come t
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This book won’t be for everyone..and I get that:
Palm Springs commercial photography

My thing is: I read a ton of books. After a while I’m begging for something, anything that is fresh and new. This book is that with big brass balls.

Wavy’s story is not a pretty one. We first meet her when she ends up at her Aunt Brenda’s door. Her mom is in prison, no one can take her, she doesn’t really talk, and she hates to be touched. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. Brenda can’t deal with Wavy. She sneaks out at night and wanders and Brend
Lola  Reviewer
I feel emotionally drained.

They could seriously make a telenovela out of this book.

It’s that dramatic. But honestly, it’s a heartfelt type of drama that really reaches your heart and makes you feel all sorts of emotions – happiness, sadness, hope, anger…

The title says it all. This book contains all the ugly and wonderful things that happen to the enigmatic Wavy, from the moment she is sent to her aunt at the age of five with her baby brother.

Many things happen to her. But the denouement to it al
Feb 08, 2017 Mischenko rated it it was amazing
To see this review and others please visit

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is a book that was very challenging for me to read due to the content. The title is nothing short of absolute perfection in describing the book. I went into the book completely blind and didn't read much about it besides liking a few reviews. I had no idea what was in store.

There were a few times in the book I wanted to stop reading. What supported me finishing the book was
✨    jamieson   ✨
Apr 04, 2017 ✨ jamieson ✨ marked it as no-thanks
stop s
stop se
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stop sexualising children
stop sexualising children
stop sexualising children
stop sexualising children
• stop sexualising children
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Jennifer Masterson
Jan 19, 2016 Jennifer Masterson rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio
This is emotionally draining and disturbing. I'm sorry. DNF. I think the audio made it feel all that more real. The writing is good. I almost feel like this book is going to put me into a slump. It truly freaked me out. The relationship between Wavy and Kellen is wrong. I don't care how good of a guy he is. I don't care how screwed up her mother is.

I'm sorry for initially saying that the novel is being marketed as YA. I think I'm wrong on that one.

Don't troll me for hating it, please.
May 28, 2016 Deanna rated it it was amazing
WOW! I don't even know where to start!! As others have said this book is NOT for everyone. But I was hooked from the moment I started reading.

This book made my head hurt at times as it made me question so many different things. Parts of this book made me very uncomfortable. I honestly felt many different emotions while reading it. Emotional actually doesn't even begin to describe how this book make me feel but it's the first word that comes to mind.

The story and the characters got in my head and
Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
I have a feeling this is gonna be one of those books.

Holy crap on a saltine cracker!

I was right, it was one of those books. It had me in sad tears, in anger, in Omg moments and in happy tears.

Where do I even start people?

I am so in love with Wavy, Donal and Kellen. Yeah, there were some things that made me cringe with Kellen but it wasn't the way that it seemed. Living the kind of life Wavy and her brother Donal had to live, there is not anything normal and they only had one savior, Kellen.

Kelly (and the Book Boar)

Find all of my reviews at:

“I loved her the first time I saw her and I still do.”

“Love at first sight, huh? How old was she?”


“That’s creepy.”
Anna's Ramblings ツ

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

God, this must be one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever written.

This book is one of the most gripping, absorbing and addicting books I’ve read this year, maybe even ever. I read it in one sitting holding my breath every time I turned a page. Out of more than a thousand books on my shelves this one sticks out the most. I’ll never forget it.

The writing is phenomenal and so real that I forgot for a while that I was reading a book. The plot is
Feb 19, 2017 Jen rated it it was amazing
There is a whole lot of ugly going on in this novel. It made me feel uncomfortable and squirmy as I read it. But....

Wavy is the daughter of meth addicts. Parents who often ignore her and abuse her. She's silent most of the time, preferring not to speak and not to be touched as she has been taught by her mom it's dirty. She is; her body is; her mouth is.
The wonderful is her quandary of a relationship with a man, Kellen, whom she met when she was 8 and has allowed into her heart. He is her protec
Jul 09, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing
I have read a lot of good books lately, but this one I just loved!! I keep reading the things that some people mention about feeling uncomfortable at certain things in the book, I never did, I truly just saw the love and compassion right away. Some people go through so much in their lives from early on that they become wise and more mature very early and that's what happened to Wavy..that's my opinion..I loved the short chapters with the voices of all the different cast of characters
I was very i
Jan 04, 2017 Norma rated it it was amazing
Sister Read Review by Norma & Brenda
One word.....AWESOME!!

If we could give this more than five stars we most definitely would. But, since we can't this gets another five ***** sparkly stars from me! My sister, Brenda and I decided to do another sister read and this time around we chose ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS by BRYN GREENWOOD. What an extremely good choice we made in reading this one together. This is by far the best book we have read in quite some time and we have read some prett
I debated with myself whether to read this book or not but my curiosity won out. The trepidation, the sense of foreboding, the confusion I felt at times??!!! My heart is heavy with emotions. A book that will stay with me for years to come.
Eve Recinella (Between The Bookends)

WOW, so I don't think I can write a review that would do this book an ounce of justice, but I'll give it my best shot...


Originally I was going to give this one a pass. The ages of the two main characters , and the subject matter just didn't sit right with me as a mother of a 14 and 11 year old. I just didn't think I could go into this with an open mind. That said, I kept seeing all these 4 and 5 star reviews, and I'll admit, my curiosity got the better of me. And man am I glad it did.

This was on
May 17, 2016 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
***Discussion a plus!!!!!

Raw-to-the-bone..... Compassionate-to-the-heart

Things that are wonderful:
.....The book cover
.....The title is perfect
..... Absorbing, riveting, masterfully written novel
..... Memorable characters....(the good -the bad -and the ugly)
.....Brave - insightful - wise - controversial subject matter
.....Wavy is a wonderful 'star' character...from her name...her idiosyncrasies...her purity & innocence ....her uniqueness....her aloofness..... Stubbornness....h
Jan 19, 2016 Delee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So...this is the first of my way overdue reviews...I have been putting them off long enough. Sorry- First Reads...Sorry NetGalley. I am your worst nightmare, I know.

A lot of people have DNF this book on the grounds that it is icky. I am just going to say I don't get it. I don't normally do romance...I don't usually get all teary-eyed over teen angst. I weep over books that are misunderstood- and this for me is one of them. If you stopped reading this for the "Ew gross" factor...I challenge you t
Nov 29, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it
This book was crazy, therefore I must express my feelings with GIFs. If you don't like GIFy reviews - too bad!

So this book started and it was pretty good. The main characters live a difficult life and everything is quite sketchy:

Then some of the relationships get a little bit questionable:

Then, the you know what hits the you know what:

From there on out, I just wasn't sure what to think anymore:

I enjoyed the writing and was enthralled with the story, but man oh man - the subject matter was tough!


Wow. What an aptly titled story. This one had me feeling so many things, and even shedding a few many tears. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is a controversial, no holds barred story - as the title suggest, there is plenty of ugly found within the pages of Wavy's story, but there are wonderful, beautiful things as well. I don't want to delve into to the plot too much, because this is simply one of those stories a reader should experience, and I'm sure each reader will reach the end with a wide
Ninoska Goris
Dec 07, 2016 Ninoska Goris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leido-2017, favoritos
Esta historia no es bonita. La verdad es que no es para todo el mundo. Es la historia de Wavy y Kellan, dos personas con hogares difíciles y abusos infantiles. Si, es una historia de amor, pero no en el inicio.

Wavy es la hija de un hombre violento, mujeriego y traficante de drogas, y de una madre drogadicta y con profundos problemas emocionales, existenciales y psicológicos, que le transmite a su hija sus temores con relación a la comida y los gérmenes.

Kellan es grande y con sobrepeso, motoris
Jennifer Kyle
Jun 11, 2016 Jennifer Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs


This is my first read by this author and I thought it was an extremely well written story. The author gives the feelings of the characters, the facts and situations, masterfully. All the while never manipulating the story or over romanticizing it. For this mother of two daughters the relationship passed lines that should never be crossed and left me outside of my comfort zone. However, I think the author would be just fine hearing that sort of feedback from a reader when releasing this t
All of the stars for this uniquely disturbing love story....

I can certainly understand how All the Ugly and Wonderful Things came in a close second for the GRCA for fiction! I had read many reviews from GR friends and the community overall and couldn't decide whether to take the plunge or not.

Why not? You go into the book knowing that the protagonist, Wavy, is a neglected daughter of an abusive and neglectful mother who is married to a meth dealer. Wavy, as a small child, fended for herself
Jan 19, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I love you all the way.”

Never in my life have I read a book that made me feel as uncomfortable as this one managed to. Gritty, raw and wrong on so many levels; it brought up feelings I wasn’t prepared for.

There were so many times, I wanted to hate this book; to throw it across the room and somehow forget about everything I’d read. Riddled with emotion and a level of constant moral questioning, this story toes the line of pedophilia and begs for acceptance. It’s the story of a little girl and
Suzanne Leopold
Jun 15, 2016 Suzanne Leopold rated it really liked it
I questioned whether to recommend this book because the subject matter is controversial, and made me feel uncomfortable. With excellent execution and sensitive maneuvering the author deserves her review.

Neglectful and abusive meth addicts raise the main character Wavy. The ranch she lives on is also meth-cooking lab. Wavy basically fends for herself and is forced to grow up quickly while tending to her younger brother. One of her father’s associates, Kellen, takes notice of her disgusting livin
May 22, 2016 Dem rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-for-me
DNF..............For me this was a case of Know when to hold'em and know when to fold'em

I am certainly not singing with the choir on this one but I have to say how the book affected me regardless.

The Description on NetGalley begins with the following" 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.
Personally I didn't find the relationship between a thirteen year old child
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BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She is the author of the novels All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Last Will, and Lie Lay Lain. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

More about Bryn Greenwood...

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“I liked learning things. How numbers worked together to explain the stars. How molecules made the world. All the ugly and wonderful things people had done in the last two thousand years.” 48 likes
“Most days I was impossible. Like a unicorn.” 23 likes
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