YVO’S SHORTIES #92 – Every Exquisite Thing & Tell The Wolves I’m Home

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two YA reads I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while… Neither managed to blow me away, but I did enjoy Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt better than Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick.


Title: Every Exquisite Thing
Author: Matthew Quick

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 10th 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: March 24th 2019
Pages: 272

“Reading that poem was like putting on the proper prescription glasses after bumping into walls for my entire life.”

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I actually picked up this title on a whim when I was browsing for a contemporary read and I realized it would fit my Author ABC challenge perfectly. I’ve read his work in the past and I especially enjoyed meeting Leonard Peacock, so I was hoping to have a similar experience with Every Exquisite Thing. Unfortunately it just wasn’t ment to be… I love my quirky, flawed and unique characters, and I can appreciate an original writing style. There was just something about both characters and writing that failed to convince me in this story though. I know I’m in the minority here since most people seem to love this story, but it is what it is I guess. While I can say this was a superfast read, the tone and writing style of Every Exquisite Thing really started to get on my nerves and made the reading experience less enjoyable than expected. I also had problems with the main characters… While I like that they are flawed and unique and especially Nanette evolves over time as the story progresses, there was also something about them that really annoyed me and I wasn’t able to connect to them in general. I did love the fact that this story is build around a book called The Bubblegum Reaper, where we see both the influence of the writing on its reader and learn more about the author himself. I also loved the poetry references and the incorporation of Alex’ poetry into the story. Then again, I always love bookish references! This was definitely one of the strongest aspects of the story and you will see influences of The Bubblegum Reaper throughout Every Exquisite Thing. I wasn’t sure about the ending and the characters and writing style weren’t for me, but there is no doubt that this is quite an original coming of age story. If you are able to connect to writing and characters, you will have a great time reading it.


Title: Tell The Wolves I’m Home
Author: Carol Rifka Brunt

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: June 19th 2012
Publisher: The Dial Press
Finished reading: March 27th 2019
Pages: 367

“And until then I don’t think I really understood the meaning of gone.”


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I’ve been meaning to pick up Tell The Wolves I’m Home for ages now, but there was always something that made me pospone it just a little while longer… I’m glad my TBR jar pick thought it was about time I did something about that. I somehow had it in my head that this was a magical realism read, but it turns out I totally misremembered that. Instead, Tell The Wolves I’m Home is a (recent) historical fiction slash contemporary story with a focus on family, AIDS and death. Tough themes that are very tricky to get right and sometimes not that easy to talk about, but the 1987 setting made for a very interesting backdrop for this story. We learn more about prejudices, just how little information about AIDS was available back then and the consequences… While also focusing on family, relationships and dealing with the death of someone close to you. I can’t put my finger on the why, but while I did find the Tell The Wolves I’m Home a very interesting read, there was also something about it that didn’t work for me. Part of this might have to do with the main characters; especially Greta is very frustrating and felt quite cliche. I liked Finn and Toby though, and June was interesting enough as well. I liked the art element in this story and the meaning of the painting of the two sisters. I also liked how we saw the wolves being incorporated into the plot. I could have done without the teenage/high school drama, jealousy and there were other elements that irked me as well. But overall I’m still glad I finally read it.


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BOOK REVIEW: Love May Fail – by Matthew Quick

Title: Love May Fail
Author: Matthew Quick

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
First published: June 4th 2015
Publisher: Harper
Finished reading: July 31st 2017
Pages: 419

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.”

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I liked Matthew Quick‘s unconventional writing style and characters in Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, so when I was desperately looking for something different I turned to his work again. I found a copy of Love May Fail on my shelves and decided to pick it up; and I definitely got what I was looking for. This book is by no means conventional! I’m still not sure what to make of this book even days after finishing it. There were things/elements I liked or appreciated and there were others I wasn’t so sure about, but what is true that Love May Fail is different. Both the writing style and tone are very unconventional, blunt, brutally honest but also refreshing. That said, there was also a lot of swearing and negativity involved… So this unique feel can go both ways. The same thing goes for the characters. Most of them earn points for brutal honesty, uniqueness and having that ‘spark’, but I don’t think I actually liked them. Portia had all those elements (she definitely has balls), but somehow I never actually warmed up to her. It is true though that at least she was able to provoke strong emotions, even if those were mostly negative. I couldn’t stand Mr. Vernon though. What is true though is that important themes as mental illness, depression, suicide, midlife crisis and hoarding play an important role in the story and seems to be portrayed quite realistically. Matthew Quick isn’t afraid to step on a few toes and says things as they are in a blunt and brutally honest way. And I don’t think I have ever read about a hoarder before! In short I can applaude the diversity. I also liked the novel writing bits and insight in the publishing world. Still, I can’t say I actually loved reading Love May Fail. It won’t make it to my favorites list, but there is no doubt there is something about this story.

A little warning: don’t read Love May Fail if you are sensitive to darker themes, adult content and swearing.

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After Portia Kane finds her pornographer husband cheating on her with a girl half her age, she decides she has had enough. She is having a meltdown; escapes her fabulous life in Florida and then returns to her mother’s house in South Jersey. There she realizes things in her hometown haven’t changed all that much and she will have to face the memories of her unhappy childhood. Her mother is still a hoarder and Portia doesn’t know how to help her get better… So when she finds out what happened to her favorite English teacher, she decides to do something to help him instead. But how to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped in the first place?

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If you are looking for something different, there is no doubt that Love May Fail will deliver. There is nothing conventional about this story and I guess it is kind of refreshing. Love May Fail won’t be for everyone since it has a lot of trigger warnings for darker themes, adult content and swearing, but I’m sure the right person will appreciate the brutal honesty and blunt, raw and ‘out there’ feel of it all. I personally ended up having mixed thoughts about this one, but I do believe this book can go either way.


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WWW Wednesdays #148 – August 2nd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently flying through Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard. The writing style makes it a very readable story even though the plot itself hasn’t blown me away yet… It’s not a bad read at all, just nothing I haven’t seen before in a YA contemporary. Suzanne’s character is quite interesting, although I could have done without the high school cliches and jealousy (even though it’s only in small doses thankfully). I also picked up The Ask And The Answer by Patrick Ness, but I haven’t gotten around rereading my review of book one to properly start it. Those who will have read The Knife Of Never Letting Go will probably understand why I wouldn’t want to relive certain scene, so I’ve decided not to do a full reread. I also managed to read another chapter in Dutch of Sister by Rosamund Lupton … One chapter is better than no progress at all right? 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Americosis Vol 4 by Haydn Wilks (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
No cover displayed since it’s basically a swearword… It might just have been I wasn’t in the right mood when I read Americosis Volume 4 and that’s why I rated it slightly lower than the previous three… But I did feel the excessive swearing and graphic scenes started to get out of control. It does read like a train and is basically an explosion of action and absurdness right in the middle of a dystopian America. The right person will probably love Americosis, but it is without doubt an acquired taste. The storyline set in the future was fascinating though!

2. The Lost Book Of The Grail by Charlie Lovett (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW
I really wanted to like The Lost Book Of The Grail and there were certain elements I did enjoy very much. The history of Barchester and its secrets is fascinating and I’m sure many will appreciate the bookish quotes and references. The pace is incredibly slow though and the plot feels both a bit chaotic and lacks action. I also had problems connecting to the characters and felt they lacked character development or at least originality. Such a shame!

3. The Girls In The Water by Victoria Jenkins (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/08
I wanted to read this one as soon as I saw the cover and this story definitely didn’t disappoint. Both the writing style and pace made it really easy to read this serial killer thriller and the case itself was intriguing. Lots of plot twists and potential suspects to keep you guessing and I always like that! I wasn’t completely charmed by the characters, but that would be my only complaint. Looking forward to book two!

4. Love May Fail by Matthew Quick (3/5 stars) REVIEW 04/08
I picked this up looking for something different and I definitely got what I wanted. I’m still not sure what to make of this book, as there were things I did and didn’t like… The writing style and tone are very unconventional, blunt, brutally honest but also refreshing. There was a lot of swearing involved though… I’m not sure I actually liked the characters, but I could appreciate the well incorporated themes such as mental illness, depression, suicide, midlife crisis and hoarding. I think it’s the first story I’ve read with a hoarder as one of the characters!

5. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/08
I have been wanting to read one of her books for ages and was actually going to pick up one of her other titles first, but decided to tackle The Lying Game first due to mixed reviews. I started with caution, but soon found myself hooked due to the writing style. Even though this story isn’t as fast-paced as I would have liked, it was the writing style that still made me thoroughly enjoy this story and the mystery around what happened all those years ago and what the friends are hiding. I can’t say I liked the character (actually despise Isa for how she treats her baby daughter), but the story itself was intriguing. I can’t wait to read her other books now!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to pick up Hide And Seek by Richard Parker as soon as I finish Beautiful Broken Things, most likely later today, since I’ve been in the mood for a thriller and I liked how intense his other book was. I also want to read Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan… And A Different Blue by Amy Harmon is high on my list as well. I’ve been eying her other book The Bird And The Sword as well, but decided to read this one first since it’s a stand-alone. I also have a new TBR jar pick! Number 35 since I started using it: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. I’ve been wanting to read this title for ages so I saw it as a sign it was about time I did when I opened the paper. Looking forward to be reading it soon!


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BOOK REVIEW: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – by Matthew Quick

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Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
First published: August 13th 2013
Finished reading: July 24th 2015
Pages: 273
Rating 4

“DO ANYTHING! SOMETHING! Because you start a revolution one decision at a time, with every breath you take.”

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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was recommended to me various times over the past two months, so I thought it was about time to read it. The story sure didn’t disappoint. Matthew Quick created with Leonard Peacock a very disturbed character that will make you want to keep on reading to find out if he really ends up doing what he has been planning: kill his former best friend and then himself with his grandfather’s gun. This might make you feel a bit uncomfortable, but Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is brilliantly written and shows how various actions drove Leonard to form this disturbing plan in his head. The prose is more than good and I especially loved the letters from the future that are to help Leonard convince himself to not kill himself. This novel has some heavy themes that might not be for everyone, but I think it’s definitely worth it. It really gives you an insight in how seemingly normal kids end up with a gun in their hands and how a disaster possibly can be prevented by an act of kindness like that of Herr Silverman.

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Leonard Peacock turned 18 today, but nobody seems to realize it. He is tired of this life and decides to give four people a goodbye gift before he gives himself his own birthday present: killing his former best friend with his grandfather’s gun and afterwards end his own life. The four people that are most important in his life don’t realize what he is up to… His neighbor and Borgart fan Walt suspects something is wrong, but he doesn’t insist. His classmate Baback doesn’t trust his gift and leaves Leonard alone with his thoughts… And a Christian girl named Lauren doesn’t really appreciate his gift either. Will Her Silverman, the last person and the teacher of his class on the Holocaust, be able to save Leonard from his fate? Or can Leonard save himself before it’s too late?

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This is not your typical topic when it comes to YA contemporary novels, but it makes Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock that much more interesting. Sure, in a way it’s disturbing to read about a teenager who is planning to kill someone and then commit suicide, but it is something that can happen if someone is desperate enough. The prose is brilliant and with a fast pace it is quite a quick read that will leave you wondering what could have happened. I would definitely recommend reading it if you like YA contemporary and don’t mind a ‘heavy’ read!