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Thought-Provoking | Book Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Every Exquisite Thing is a really different YA novel…

Book Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

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every exquisite thing matthew quick

Title & Author: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Release Date: May 31, 2016

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

How I Got the Book: ARC via the 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 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.”

Book Inception

Every Exquisite Thing was not what I was expecting. It’s darker and more serious that I thought it would be. Which isn’t a bad thing, but expectations can affect my perception of a book, though.

It’s a book about a book, which I thought was amazing and very book-ception-y. Nanette is a teen who reads a book that literally changes her life. The book is called The Bubblegum Reaper, and Nannette meets the author, Nigel Booker, who sort of opens her eyes to a different way of thinking.

I really liked how Every Exquisite Thing explored ideas – how you can “quit things,” i.e. stop doing things that are expected of you if you don’t really want to do them. It’s sort of like the teen version of sticking it to the man.

What Nannette and her new friend Alex discover with this philosophy has it’s own consequences, which play out through the rest of the book.

While I wanted to deeply like this book, I felt like I was seeing a train wreck happen. I couldn’t look away, but I could see how painful it was from afar.

Then the book took a really dark turn. Characters start to do very negative things that have HUGE consequences for their life. Many of them made me super uncomfortable, so it was hard to enjoy the middle to end part of the story.

These bits add up to make a point…sort of…but, for me, it wasn’t enough to create closure or any sort satisfying resolution. I was disappointed but understand the perspective that was being shown.

Almost all of the characters were hard to like at some point. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but it was hard to relate when I felt like one person did something worse than the next. Like one-upping each other’s awfulness.

I can’t say i enjoyed this book, but I did appreciate its purpose and intent. Every Exquisite Thing has a very different type of voice and is definitely adding something new to the genre.


This is the type of book you’ll either get or you won’t. The story offers subtle themes and huge consequences play out in dark and unexpected ways. Every Exquisite Thing is not your run of the mill YA book, and it will absolutely make you think.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • hmmm interesting review. I get what you are saying. I have read books I didn’t really enjoy but thought the content was well done and had good value to them but just wasn’t for me.

  • I absolutely need this book now. One of the author’s other books is my all-time favourite, so I’ve been eyeing this for so long. I really like dark contemporary YA books, especially if they’ve got philosophical messages! I’m sorry you couldn’t enjoy this one, but I’m glad you thought it was written well 😀

    Denise | The Bibliolater

  • Eva

    Great review! I just loved this one but I completely agree with you re: this not necessarily being for everyone.

    my review