Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick


Publisher: Hachette Books
Release date: May 31, 2016
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 272
Goodreads || Book Depository

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.


45 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How do I even begin to describe this book and my reading experience? It was important and inspiring, but in the most unassuming way. It’s the kind of story that slowly burrows its way into the depths of your heart and, before you know it, it’s the only thing you can think about. It was relatable and honest… and one of the best coming-of-age stories that I’ve read so far this year (and I’ve read a lot of beautiful coming-of-age stories this year).

“You can’t live for someone else. At some point you just explode, which is probably why you began spouting curse words like a Roman candle.”

But I don’t think I can adequately tell you what this book is about. We follow 18 year old, Nanette O’Hare, a soccer champion and straight-A student who’s always done what she’s been told to do. Living in the suburbs of New Jersey, she’s always conformed with what everyone else has done but when her English teacher gives her an out-of-print book to read, the fire and rebellion in her is brought to life… I think that’s probably all you should know. It was really the reading experience and the deep connection that I had with Nanette that made me love this book as much as I did. I really felt like I was there with her, experiencing her highs and lows, her confusions and reservations, her imperfections… And it was just impossible not to understand what she was going through because I’ve been through the same thing.

The characters were fantastic and I loved, loved, loved Nanette. She’s determined, strong, and has a good sense of morality. I loved her acts of rebellion, which were more acts of putting herself first than acts of rebellion. I loved that she didn’t know who she was or who she wanted to be but that it was okay. Her journey of self-discovery was just so relatable and interesting, despite sometimes being tragic and dramatic, and (I’m repeating myself a lot here) but I loved it so much. I also really liked the side characters and the role that they played in Nanette’s life. They each had an impact on her growth and I was constantly rooting for them too. I enjoyed and appreciated the role of Nanette’s parents and how they treated Nanette as she was discovering herself. They were supportive, rational andΒ present, and I liked them a lot.

“It’s okay to love people who aren’t perfect. People who still have work to do on themselves.”

This novel is full of beautiful writing. There are so many quotable passages and I just felt so connected to the story, the characters and the messages through the powerful writing of Matthew Quick. It had beautiful flow and was extremely easy to read. There was also a lot of beautiful poetry in this book that really touched and moved me. I just really enjoyed it and finished the book in two short sittings.

If you’re looking for a short but poignant coming-of-age story, I highly recommend this one because it has a beautiful story, beautiful characters and beautiful writing.


20 thoughts on “Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

  1. Ara | The Bookish Agenda says:

    Wow, this seems like a really great book. And the name Matthew Quick seems so familiar… I will definitely add this to my TBR! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Matthew Quick has written lots of really highly acclaimed books that have been adapted into movies so maybe that’s why his name rings a bell? He wrote Silver Linings Playbook and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. I haven’t read any other books by him yet but based on my experience with this one, I’m definitely keen to check out more.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lydia Tewkesbury says:

    This review has got me so excited! I need this book in my life. I adore Matthew Quick. He expresses himself so beautifully. I actually read Silver Linings Playbook ‘by accident’ a few years before the movie came out because it was sitting on a offer table in my local book shop. It was definitely one of the best impulse purchases I’ve ever made.

    Clearly I need this one too. Did you read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock? I really loved it, but in a way that also made me heart really hurt. Also whenever I told people what I was reading they looked at me weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I haven’t read anything else by Matthew Quick yet. This was my first experience. But I’m so keen to pick up some more of his stuff because this was beautiful in the most unassuming and genuine way. I’ve had my eye on Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock for a while so I might try that one next. I’m sure it’ll make my heart hurt a little as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lois says:

    Yet another book has been added to my tbr list thank to your wonderful review. This sounds like just the right book for me especially since I’ve spent a lot of this year trying to put myself first. I can definitely see myself relating to Nanette. I will definitely be grabbing this book as soon as I can. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  4. MyBookJacket says:

    Finally a great review, I’ve been reading a lot of not so great reviews today and it’s been sad. This sounds like a wonderful book Jenna.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Valerie says:

    I have never read anything by Matthew Quick, just heard of his name a lot. So I’m glad you loved this one! (Oh I see he wrote Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. I still need to read that one too!). I really feel like I would connect with Nanette, she sounds like how I was in high school (or I guess life in general). I don’t think I have had any huge acts of rebellion, maybe small ones. I like the idea of rebelling though hahaha.

    Awesome review Jenna. I’m definitely more excited to read this now πŸ™‚ I actually haven’t read many reviews for it.


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