All the Ugly and Wonderful Things – Minus 4,995 existential crisis stars! 18

I’m having an existential crisis and have no idea who I am anymore!

BUT I still know how to do math!

Minus 4,995 stars!!!

About the Book

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

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 when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.











“Wait! Does the blurb really say “love story”???” You may ask. “Didn’t you promise no more romance?? Didn’t you say we were back into the dark side???” You may exclaimed, outraged!

Yes, you may, BUT, my dear reading beasts…  It’s still technically summer in this hemisphere! So, I CAN technically post a review for a romance book, right?

HA! Kidding!

Don’t worry, this is DARK! As in yucky dark. As dark and murky as it gets!

So, why am I having an existential crisis??? Because I was supposed to hate this book but I kinda of fully didn’t it. Or at least not as much as I should have?

I should have DNF and I didn’t!

And I don’t feel very well about myself because of that!

WHY DID I FINISH IT?? Who am I? I don’t know myself anymore!

Please bear with me as I try to find myself again.

So, I read this book nonstop, totally fascinated. I was unable to put it away.

Does it mean is a good book?? Hummm… NOPE. I think it means the premise was morbid enough I couldn’t stop reading it, same way we can’t stop watching horrible scenes in the news.

Why can’t we?? I wonder.

Is it maybe that we want or NEED to understand WHY the people do horrible things???

Yes. I think I read the entire book trying to find a reason WHY.


I guess you want to understand because you want to believe that we live among human beings, not monsters. We want to believe that there HAS to be a good reason for people to commit a hideous acts.

But, sadly, that is not the case. There isn’t always a plausible reason.

Take the videos of helpless people beaten up during riots. You may agree with the fact the protesters have suffered injustices for generations, you may somehow relate to how they feel, even why they are enraged. BUT when you see them channel that rage towards innocent, helpless victims, the sympathy ends. You can’t relate. You can’t understand WHY they crossed the line.

So maybe that’s why we watch until the end, looking for answers. But, does that mean we LIKED what we watched? Do we make copies and send it to everyone we know?Nope. Most of us, don’t.

So, I’m pretty sure that’s why I read this book. I wanted to know why and I wanted to see some justice at the end. BUT, Would I recommend this book to everyone?


It’s a very well written book. The characters couldn’t be more realistic, the story arc couldn’t be more enthralling…  except FOR THAT ONE THING. And now is when I call THE THING what it is…

This book is pedophile’s “love story” in quotes, because… Is there is even such a thing?

Again, in big fat underlined letters, this book is about…


It’s a “love story” between two “broken beings” which could be very touching if it wasn’t because ONE of the beings was 20 something and the other one SEVEN when they met and he got obsessed with her! So, he is…


Yes, Wavy’s parents abuse and neglected her and her little brother. Yes, Kellen is the only one that is kind to them, feeds them, helps them clean the house, take them to school, protects them…




So, he is…


He had a terrible childhood, but he is still…


Their “love story” follows the formula of any good romance book: The main characters are introduced. A damsel in distress and a hero that will save her. Both of them have a horrible life, they are so broken, they have no one. So heartbreaking! So, you are already rooting for them! You want them to be happy!

So, because they are marooned on a beautiful island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean they only have each other to survive, you understand when they fall in love and you understand it’s they only way they can be happy..


NOPE. They are NOT marooned on a beautiful island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean!

They live in the middle of the US surrounded by family and friends! There is child protective services around! Kellen could have call child protective services to take care of Wavy and her brother! And he could have fallen in love with about 50 million of grown up women!

But Bryn does a great job romanticizing the whole thing for you, from the blur! She tells you how Wavy  “finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house” where “Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle” and that’s how they meet and they fall in love. Isn’t that so beautiful?? And aren’t you so moved that you don’t care this is a FELONY and he is…



NOPE. I wasn’t THAT moved!

And don’t get me started about the fairy-tale ending of the book because I don’t want to throw up and I don’t to spoil it for you either! So, I’ll wrap this up, because even even in the middle of an existential crisis I can do math! Here it is… Awesome writing, characterization, story and characters’ arcs, 5 stars. Romanticizing Pedophilia, minus 5,000 stars. Final rating = Minus 4,995 stars!

I’m pretty disgusted now, so I’m not sure if I will ever read another book by this author, even though she is extremely talented.

Here are my Goodreads updates. As you see I started loving the book and then… EWWWW!

What about you? Have you read this book?
What did you think?
Did you have an existential crisis too?

Thank you for visiting!


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18 thoughts on “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things – Minus 4,995 existential crisis stars!

  • Barb (boxermommyreads)

    OK….sounds pretty dark – a pedophile! How awful. I mean, I’m sure it happens – and it’s disgusting no matter the context. Again, a book that proves real life is scarier that most of the horror I read. However, I can’t get over the name Wavy? What does it say about me that I can’t get past that name to even see what the book is about. I admit I can come across pretty insensitive to some subject matter. I investigated child abuse/neglect cases for 14 years and became pretty callous. Either way, because of the name or because of the creep pedophile, this is definitely not the book for me!

  • Amanda @ To Read or Not To Read?

    What? WHAT?! This could not, should not ever be counted as a ‘love story’ to any sane person. That’s disgusting. Holy cow. It’s even worse that the author is so talented, because yeah, how can you ever trust anything else she writes not to be as, how did you say, ‘EWWWW’?
    Sorry you had to read this, Dragonfly. Hopefully your next read will be better!

    • Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

      yes it’s so disturbing because why would someone write such a beautiful love story for such a despicable being? ?? EWWWWW my next reviews are for similar topics but much better handled! So, yes my next reads were much better 🙂 Welcome back Amanda!

    • Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

      SEVEN! I changed that in my review a few times because I couldn’t remember! She was seven when he crashed with his motorcycle and he saw it and “she looked so pretty, like an angel” and just like that he was in love and a love story was written and got many awesome reviews. NO WAY!

  • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    The sad thing is that a good writer can ALMOST convince us to fall in love with any couple. Make us feel for them—root for them even—all while we hate the premise of the story. But there is a real danger here in romanticizing pedophilia. A real-life 20-year-old might feel like maybe horrible thoughts about a child are justified in some situations—if it’s “true love.” Very sad.

  • Cee @ Dora Reads

    This is where I uncomfortably remind everyone that Snow White is 8 years old in the original fairy tale. And the prince is a full-grown dude. As is the huntsman who doesn’t murder her because she’s hot.

    Is that OK? NO FREAKING WAY. But that’s why we have laws. Yes, they’re cultural laws. The age of consent varies around the world. But a long time ago it was decided that we should place limits on these things (albeit, until the 20th Century, the age of consent in the UK was 14 for boys and 12 for girls. Which is BAD.) You love her that freaking bad? Freaking weird, but if it’s true then you can wait ’til she’s old enough to make her own decisions. UNTIL THEN IT’S RAPE. And rape isn’t love. Full stop.

    (Apologies for the random tangent.)

    Also, have you read Let the Right One In? The vampire in that book exploits a paedophile into looking after her. (That book is pretty disturbing.)

    • Drangonfly

      wow I DID NOT know that about the original story! WOW. I tend to roll my eyes less and get less outraged when I read about this issues happening in another places and other times because of that. Different times and cultures have different views on consent age and all. WHICH DOES NOT MAKE IT OK. However, the fact that this book is about 21st century American characters makes it even more disgusting! Yes. Rape is rape. Is not love. FULL STOP. Thanks a lot for this wonderful comment Cee!