I really like to sleep. It is a rare book that keeps me up past midnight to finish, but All The Ugly and Wonderful Things was one of them. (It's on par with the other book that did that to me this year, Me Before You. That should tell you something about this one).
I loved this book right from the start. We start off with the protagonist, Wavy, being introduced to us by her cousin Amy. Wavy is the daughter of a drug dealer and a germ phobic drug addict and has had a lot of hardships in her life. The author does not mince words and the reader gets to see exactly the struggle that Wavy has gone through. She is the only one in her family who is capable of caring for her baby brother and she has been forced to grow up quickly. She is intelligent and quirky, but rarely speaks and does not like to be touched. Until she meets Kellen. Kellen works for Wavy's dad in the drug world and has had his own share of heartbreak. He is quite a bit older than Wavy (in his 20s to Wavy's 8), but the two meet and instantly connect. Kellen is the first person to care for her, and they seem to just "get" each other. As Wavy gets older, their relationship develops into more... which will make some readers uncomfortable.
Despite the difficult topics, this book was done in a very tasteful and thoughtful way. There were alternating viewpoints but the author is very talented, so it did not disrupt the flow. The book is a slow burn and there plenty of twists that kept me turning the pages. If you stay with it, the payoff is so worth it. This is a dark and complex story that is likely not for everyone, but it made me feel happy, uncomfortable, uneasy, and kept me engaged. Life is not always black and white, and this novel was a powerful reminder of that.
Rating- 5 out of 5. One of the best books I've read!