All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood REVIEW

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All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood REVIEW

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. Kellen may not be innocent, but he is the fixed point in Wavy and Donal’s chaotic universe. Instead of playing it safe, Wavy has to learn to fight for Kellen, for her brother, and for herself.


Sometimes a book comes along that will push the boundaries and make you really think about things in a different light. This was one of those books, and despite its controversial subject matter, I found it to be a beautiful and meaningful book about two people who just loved each other so completely.

Wavy is a troubled girl who has been forced to grow up way too fast by her despicable parents, but is also very bright and has a lot of love to give, even though she doesn’t show it in ways that a normal person would.

Kellan is a young biker who befriends the little girl, and makes sure she is safe and fed and schooled, they form a beautiful friendship that escalates quite quickly once Wavy hits puberty.

As the mother of a young daughter, it was often hard to stomach what could have been considered the grooming of a vulnerable girl that just wanted to be loved by someone who understood her, but the character of Kellen, a man in his twenties, was written so well that I was able to just put my judgements aside and really understand that sometimes, love is just love, and unless boundaries are crossed, then there is nothing wrong with falling for someone so wholly.

“In the meadow, I had Kellen all to myself. He smelled good. Sweat and motorcycle and wintergreen. No stinking weed smoke. No perfume. No sadness.
He smelled like love.”

Don’t get me wrong, boundaries were crossed that shouldn’t have been, but it was such a layered and complex story that I was completely taken with it, and I was rooting for them to have their HEA.

Told in multiple POV’s, I felt I got to experience the story by hearing from the many characters that were involved in Wavy’s life, from the age of 5 in 1975 – up until adulthood. I would have loved a longer epilogue, but that really is my only complaint.

An unconventional romance, that is shocking and ugly, but also very beautiful. I recommend this story to people who are not afraid to think outside the box, and that are looking for something a bit different to the norm.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is a contemporary taboo romance, told in multiple POV’s

ARC gratefully received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Images featured in this review were created by me using stock images either purchased from deposit photo or from free stock sites.

About the Author

Bryn Greenwood

BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan, and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. Her debut novel, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, is coming from Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s in August 2016. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

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