Thank you NetGalley and Little and Brown for providing an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: May 31st, 2016
Synopsis: 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.nBut 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 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.
Despite having loved Silver Linings Playbook, I’ve never gotten around to reading Matthew Quick’s other novels, so I was quite excited to be afforded the opportunity to read and review his latest. After finishing it though I’m left with mixed feelings, mainly because I was unable to fully connect to the main character, Nanette. In the beginning, she’s the quintessential misfit despite her upper middle-class upbringing . She knows she should be grateful for the privileged life she has, yet she’s not happy and knows she wants more than what lies before her. Feeling completely trapped, it isn’t until Nanette reads The Bubblegum Reaper that she begins to realize she may have different options than what’s been available to her. In some ways I enjoyed reading about her journey of self-discovery and appreciated her personal growth throughout the story, but for some reason I remained emotionally detached right up until the end. Maybe because while I recognize she suffers from undiagnosed depression, because of the choices she makes I found her to be inherently selfish. She knows full well she’s behaving in a deceitful and manipulative manner yet continues with her social experiment anyway. I may not have cared for her friends/classmates, but no one deserves to be treated like pawns on a chessboard. This part of the story just left a bad taste in my mouth and kept me from fully enjoying the rest of the book. While I was a bit disappointed in it, I think many of Matthew Quick’s fans will love Every Exquisite Thing, especially teens who will identify with Nanette’s struggle with being herself as opposed to living up to other people’s expectations. It’s a coming-of-age story that’s a quick read and regardless of how you feel about the main characters, I think it will lend itself to some interesting discussion.