Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book review - Every Exquisite Thing

Title: Every Exquisite Thing
Author: Matthew Quick
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: Looking for Alaska by John Green
                     The Other Way Around by Sashi Kaufman
Not a clone - what a relief

Summary(provided by publisher): 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 Bugglegum 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.

My opinion: Initially I was somewhat annoyed with this book. It can be wearying, reading about determined outsiders all of the time. Books tend to portray teen protagonists as quirky, literature loving, popularity shunning, and perfectly happy with their somewhat-outside-the-mainstream lives. They might get some guff from their popular peers but they are singularly unbothered by that lack of understanding. I was prepared to sigh and roll my eyes throughout the bulk of this book. Then Quick threw a curve ball, taking his characters far outside the norm. They reject most societal conventions, making choices that will have significant impact on the rest of their lives. They're lonely in spite of finding kindred spirits, depressed, and constantly question the choices they are making. Fear drives Nanette back into some semblance of the norm. Her friend, steadfastly following his new path, self destructs. I loved the constant question and re-evaluating. 
It's quirky and not for fans of mainstream fiction. More subversive than John Green, this is a book for the teen who refuses to do something or like something just because "they" say you should.

Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley

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