Angsty Teenagers and The Bubblegum Reaper (Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick [ARC])

Every Exquisite ThingNanette is a typical high school girl. She’s co-captain of the soccer team, goes shopping with her mother on the weekends, and sometimes enjoys school. When her favorite teacher, Mr. Graves, gives her an out-of-print cult classic for Christmas, everything changes for Nanette. She develops a friendship with the quirky and reclusive author and starts to rethink all of the choices that she’s made in her life. Soon Nanette has quit the soccer team (with much cursing and bird flipping) and starts talking in the third person (as suggested by her therapist). As Nanette continues to reread The Bubblegum Reaper she will try to figure out what, exactly, she’s supposed to do with the rest of her life.

I’ll admit, I’m surprised that I requested this book on NetGalley as I don’t really feel like it’s my kind of book. But then The NOVL sent me a copy in the mail too and so I had to read it. I thought this book had a lot of really great ideas in it. The whole book within a book is very meta and it added an interesting layer to the overall story. I liked the “quotes” that the characters would mention because you think about them in the  context of what’s happening in the story, but then you also start thinking about them in general too.

The characters were really lacking to me. They all just seemed a little too much–too extreme. I don’t think there were any characters that were just normal. Having a “normal” character isn’t a necessity, but when all of the other characters are so extreme, the “normal” character gives readers the opportunity to catch their breath a bit. All of the relationships in this book were very strange to me too but that might also be due to my overall dislike for the characters.

The plot was okay. I felt like it was really supposed to be reflective of the plot from The Bubblegum Reaper but then at times it was really different. In the end, it really just felt like nothing had happened. Sure, Nanette grew as a character, but not as much as I think she should have.

Overall, I’m not sure how this book compares to his other books. The writing was quirky and had a distinct tone, but everything else about the book was just okay for me. I get the feeling, though, that if you generally like this author, you’ll probably like this book too.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Heavy
Violence: Moderate. A couple characters are physically bullied.
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Heavy. Talked about a lot, but no really explicit descriptions.

Note: I received this book free from both NetGalley and The NOVL Newsletter in exchange for an honest review.

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