Thursday, 9 June 2016

Book Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick*

In the summer of 2013, I was lucky enough to get a job teaching English in Milan, Italy, for a period of 4 months. Whilst I was there, I read a number of different books, all influencing me and reminding me of different aspects of my time there. One of the books I read was The Silver Lining’s Playbook by Matthew Quick. When I received a copy of Every Exquisite Thing in the post, I was quickly drawn to it and put it straight to the top of my to-read pile. I’m a fiend for a good YA book and this is most definitely one of those.

I finally got to finishing this book this gone bank holiday weekend after finishing my university course forever! I got stuck straight into it after my celebrations had subsided on Sunday morning, albeit with a bit of a heavy head. I’d heard quite a bit of praise about this book so I had high expectations and I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint me. I was a little bit confused throughout the story as to where it was eventually headed, but I think as a whole it was a very beautiful, thought-provoking and poignant story. It had funny parts, it had happy points and of course, it had sad parts. I got through it incredibly quickly, which I definitely think says a lot about the book.

The story centres around Nanette O’Hare, a young girl who receives an old copy of The Bubblegum Reaper from her teacher. Like many before her, she becomes obsessed with the novel and the loose ends that it provides to its audience. She arranges a coffee date with the author and from then on forms an unusual relationship with him and one of his other fans, a boy of her age named Alex. Over the course of the novel, Nanette and Alex form a friendship, a relationship and attempt to solve the mystery behind the real story of the Bubblegum Reaper. I thought Nanette was an interesting character on the whole, a tad whiney at times but otherwise I really liked what she presented to the audience. I particularly loved her relationship with Booker and the one she went on to form with Oliver as the novel progressed. I also enjoyed how the novel, through Nanette, tackled different social issues and did so excellently and with the upmost of care. I found the major event of the novel incredibly moving and I feel as though Quick dealt with the theme surrounding this event particularly well, particularly considering the stigma attached to it. I won’t say much more than that as you honestly really do need to give this book a read, but it was poignant and thoughtful and I hold this particular representation in high esteem.

I think this is one of those books that you need to read to truly appreciate so I really encourage anyone reading this review to pick up a copy of this and give it a whirl. I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to read this beautiful book, thank you once again to the team at Headline Books for my advanced copy. Every Exquisite Thing was published 31st May and can be purchased in all the usual places.


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