All the Ugly and Wonderful Things couldn’t have a more accurate and fitting title as it does.
It is a painful and difficult read, and I lost count of how many times I wanted to rage quite it, but I had intentionally spoiled myself about the ending, which made me go on, and I am so glad it did!
Going into the story, I was quite wary, but it has turned out that the number one reason for that was not at all justified, because of all the horrifying and frustrating things in All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, the one thing that never disgusted me was the relationship between Wavy and Kellen.
Of course, objectively and on principle, I wouldn't condone a relationship between real people their age. However, in their particular circumstances as described in this book I can’t judge them – not even Kellen – at all.
Because of all the terrible things in Wavy’s life – from her drug-addicted and neglectful parents to poverty and the general, mostly non-understanding, atmosphere of her time and environment – Kellen was not only the least terrible, but the best thing of only few good things in her life.
Bryn Greenwood does an astonishing job with her unique story-telling style with multiple POVs (I especially loved the ‘growth’ of Wavy’s voice) which enable the reader to grasp the full picture, making it obvious how Wavy and Kellen's love must have looked to outsiders and thus make their reactions perfectly understandable. But she also provides what we don’t get in real life: an unobstructed insight in the protagonists’ minds and hearts that made it impossible for me not to root for the pair.
Therefore, as much as All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is heart-wrenchingly poignant, its pay-off is also heart-warming, and I couldn’t but end up loving this book.