I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
Also by this author: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, Love May Fail, The Good Luck Of Right Now
on May 31st 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Social Themes, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship
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Nanette O'Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper--a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic--the rebel within Nanette awakens.
As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young but troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.
A celebration of the self and the formidable power of story, Every Exquisite Thing is Matthew Quick at his finest.
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick is one of those books that I was SO EXCITED TO READ and in deep anticipation of, because Matthew Quick is one of my favorite authors ever. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is one of my favorite YA books of all time, for the record. To say I was pumped up for Every Exquisite Thing is a wee bit of an understatement. Y’all, I have to say that while my expectations were kind of high, this book managed to live up to them and to be one those deep and thought provoking reads that I absolutely LOVE.
Every Exquisite Thing is told from the point of view of high school senior Nanette O’Hare. Nanette leads an ordinary sort of privileged life. She’s one of the best players on her soccer team. However, despite having a friend, Nanette is a lonely sort. One of her favorite teachers, Mr. Graves whom she often eats lunch with, gives her this out of print book called The Bubblegum Reaper. The book changes Nanette’s life and she connects deeply with the story of a boy named Wrigley who is also a lonely sort and who just sort of quits. Nanette decides she needs to just quit too and begins a rebellious streak. I mean, the sort of rebellion that manifests with going against the tide, not you know spray painting and vandalizing and riding a motorcycle. Along the way, she meets and falls for a young poet. Unfortunately, her happiness can’t last and tragedy strikes. Essentially, this book and the plotting is quite an exquisite thing.
It is a bit hard to relate to Nanette at first. I don’t really think she is the kind of character who is really meant to be an everygirl. I thought her characterization was really strong – I mean, she strikes me as someone who is wholly original. She reminds me a bit of those main characters in the existentialist books you read senior year in high school. I did not always agree with her choices, but I got why she made those choices or felt the way she did. I liked how when she decides to rebel and be different, she has to pay a price and there are consequences. I felt like that was true to real life. Also, I thought she really represented just how fed up youths can get – to the point of questioning everything and quitting. I don’t know, I guess now that I am older and conformist, I do think differently. High school me would have related more to Nanette.
Okay, so I did allude to there being romance in Every Exquisite Thing. There is. However, it isn’t the main focus. And I wouldn’t so much say that it is romance, so much as it is very strong mutual feelings and the recognition of similar feelings of rebellion in each other. Sure, Alex, the guy she falls for writes poetry. However, he’s impulsive and just doesn’t quite have a sharp grip on those impulses. This is not at all the kind of book that inspires shipping. Despite the lack of shipping, what is presented is raw and real and painful. I liked how authentic it felt – both to the storyline and to real life.
Like all Matthew Quick books, Every Exquisite Thing is wonderfully written and weaves together these recurring motifs in a way that makes you feel super genius once you GET IT. It’s hard for me to articulate why I love the writing so much. Like, in all the Quick books I’ve read, there’s been mental illness as part of the characterization of at least one person and it’s presented in a very non-demonizing way. ALSO! Another book that positively portrays therapy, so all the hearts and stars for this book. Beyond that, I think this book is incredibly intelligent and does not underestimate its readers and I cannot wait for whatever Quick comes out with next.
Other reviews of Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick:
Reading Rants – “a fresh, smart take on the tolls of teen angst”
Once Upon A Twilight – “All in all I am now a Matthew Quick fan”
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