Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
Published by Headline 2016 (Hardback)
272 Pages

Thank you to Headline for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Didn’t you ever just simply want to…stop?

Star athlete and straight-A student Nanette O’Hare has played the role of dutiful daughter for as long as she can remember. But one day, a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper—a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic—and the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As the new and outspoken Nanette attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, she befriends the reclusive author and falls in love with a young, troubled poet. Forced to make some hard choices that bring devastating consequences, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion can sometimes come at a high price.


I love coming of age stories and love reading about teenagers growing up and realising things that are quite important to them, as I feel like I can relate. When I found out Matthew Quick had written a coming of age novel I knew I had to read it. I hadn’t read any of his work apart from The Silver Linings Playbook, which I really did love. So I had high hopes for Every Exquisite Thing.

Every Exquisite Thing is the story of Nanette O’Hare, a high school senior who is just plodding along with life. She gets good grades, is the top player on her soccer team and tries all she can to please her parents. However, this all changes when her favourite teacher gives her a copy of The Bubblegum Reaper – a cult classic. After reading the book, a rebellion sparks inside of Nanette and soon enough she is making friends with the reclusive author, falling for a troubled poet and starting the journey to self realisation, which has bumps along the way. 

I feel like this book would certainly awaken the rebel in all of us, but it also spoke to me and I felt like I could relate. As someone who was somewhat of an outsider when I was at school I felt like I could specifically relate to Nanette and the problems she was facing. I feel like Matthew Quick is perfect at writing about misfits and this definitely shone through and had me thinking a lot after each chapter. I feel that he has real talent for it. 

The first half of the story I found to be quite light and at times quite heartwarming. I really rooted for Nanette and Alex and thought at the time that they were the perfect couple. I loved reading about their passion for The Bubblegum Reaper and their theories about it. It’s something that many book lovers could relate too. I mean who hasn’t thought up theories about their favourite books? However, the second half turns quite dark and we see Nanette develop depression and go to therapy. Which isn’t nice at all, but it is a fact that some people have to deal with and it added some realism into the story. 

Each character throughout each had their own problems to battle and in my opinion they were all diamonds in the rough. I found the character of Booker to be sort of a grandfather figure to Nanette and despite everything they went through together that bond shone throughout. With regards to Alex, I loved his character at the start, but after a while I found him to be somewhat reckless with no regards to the people around him. It did rather annoy me as he was a character that I was rooting for and it was slightly disappointing. 

Every Exquisite Thing was a rather enjoyable novel about coming of age and how the choices we make affect the people around us. Although it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read I still feel like I have taken something from it. This is mainly down to relatable characters, the realistic storyline and the rebellion within it. 


Author Bio

Matthew Quick is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which was made into an Oscar-winning film. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Matthew lives with his wife, novelist/pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s