by Matthew Quick
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publish Date: 31st May 2016
Title: Every Exquisite Thing
Author: Matthew Quick
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Rating: 4.5 Voodoos
Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hard-working 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 – the 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 sometimes rebellion 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 is a touching and powerful book. I felt as though someone had looked into my soul and asked the questions I have always feared to ask. I found moments of comfort within these pages and also moments that made me feel awkward because it made me really think about my life and whether I don’t question things enough. Am I happy?
Nanette O’Hare comes from a good middle class family. She does well at school and is one of the star players on her soccer team. But she hates it. Why is she so good at something she doesn’t enjoy? She is given a book by her favourite teacher, an out-of-print cult-classic, The Bubblegum Reaper. This book opens her eyes and fills her with questions. In the search for answers, she befriends the author, Booker, and through him meets another lost soul, Alex. Together they discover and discuss literature, music and life. Nanette feels alive for the first time and finally quits the soccer team. But rebellion has consequences and Nanette faces some hard times as she tries to find her own way through her senior year.
I usually avoid books like this because I’m afraid of what discoveries I will make about myself, and yet I’m so glad I read this book. I have always lived with the hope that when I became an adult I would suddenly miraculously know what I want to do with my life, that I would find a higher purpose and become some amazingly person that everyone would be proud of but now I am facing the big 3-0 and I still have no idea. I float through life with what feels like, no direction and at times I fear I have lost my tether too. But what I’ve found within these pages has given me hope. Nanette is like me, she is lost, she is unsure and she finds that adults are the same, no one truly knows whats happening, they bluff, they lie, they make you believe they know what’s happening but they don’t. And that to me was exactly what I needed to know! It brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat, I am not alone! What it makes you realise that there is something exquisite in every thing, you just have to be willing to see it and except it.
Matthew Quick has crafted a myriad of characters and I’m sure everyone will have a different favourite, but for me the highlights were Nanette and Oliver. I felt a connection with both of them and even found myself crying silently when Nanette faced the hardest moments in this book.
I think everyone will take something slightly different from Every Exquisite Thing and that’s the point. Matthew Quick has written this amazing book that makes you see that everyone is different, everyone is dealing with something you can’t see, and everyone needs to discover something different to be happy. I thought it was wonderful how he included literature as part of the story-line. It was weird but it showed how the different characters interpreted the story of The Bubblegum Reaper differently, depending on their outlook on life, their needs and their hopes.
This was my first look at what Matthew Quick has to offer and if his other books are anything like this one, I need them in my life. I hope this one helps other struggling misfits, because it’s definitely helped me.