Matthew Quick's latest book, Every Exquisite Thing, is a YA read.
I've enjoyed Quick's quirky characters, plots and thoughts in his previous books, especially The Silver Linings Playbook and The Good Luck of Right Now.
When a beloved teacher gives Nannette O'Hare an out of print, cult classic novel called The Bubblegum Reaper, she is entranced, enthralled and consumed with it. She hunts down the author and meets Alex, another teen just as fascinated with the book, its origins and the meaning behind the words.
Quick has created characters I wanted to be drawn to, that I wanted to care about. But I never really warmed up to Nanette. I felt like more of a dispassionate observer, rather than becoming immersed in her path. She herself employs a detached look at her own life, pretending to be someone she's not in the latter part of the book. I enjoyed the the supporting characters a bit more - I liked Alex and Oliver, but again was disappointed with how Quick dealt with Alex. Without revealing the plot line, I was angered by the way his story went - and how it was dealt with by the adults in his life. Booker, the author of The Bubblegum Reaper, kinda creeped me out a little bit. I found his involvement with these teens troublesome.
But, Quick had me just as curious about the book and what the answers might be. I was engrossed in the story until he had the main character talking about herself in the third person. Hated it. A little bit would have been okay, but it just became annoying and irritating. And I finished off reading with that irked feeling.
Every Exquisite Thing is a coming of age tale. Quick does bring in events, thoughts and situations that are part of a teen's search for self. The end message is good, but I just didn't enjoy the journey to the revelations as much as I had hoped to. Quick is a talented wordsmith and an author I will absolutely read again - this one just wasn't a hit with me. Read an excerpt of Every Exquisite Thing.
The title? It's a quote from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray - "Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic."