Summary: Nanette O’Hare has played the quintessential privileged star athlete and straight-A student for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper–a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic–the rebel within Nanette awakens. As the new and outspoken Nanette attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, she learns that rebellion can sometimes come at a high price…and with devastating consequences.
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I loved it. But there were also quite a few things about this story that I didn’t enjoy so much. Every Exquisite Thing, by Matthew Quick the author of The Silver Lining’s Playbook, follows Nanette a successful teen who realises she’s not as happy with her life as she perhaps should be.
My main issue with this book was Nanette. At times I didn’t mind her, I saw a lot of myself in her, someone who’s lonely and looking for answers in life. I didn’t mind that she was selfish occasionally. But sometimes she was overly mean to her family and friends, and especially the people at her school.
Nanette believed she was special and different because she wasn’t into typical, mainstream, ‘girly’ stuff that all the other girls at her school was into. She put down what few friends she had for dating and partying and that just didn’t sit right with me. I’m not into people putting other people down for doing what they want to do, even if it is something I’m not a fan of myself.
The characters in this story were generally unlikable, such as Alex, a guy who Nanette meets through their mutual love for The Bubblegum Reaper (which, by the way, I’d love a proper book for). He was stubborn and seemed to go about fixing his problems in all the wrong, but a part of me couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
“One day you will look for you in the mirror and you’ll no longer be able to identify yourself—you’ll only see everyone else. You’ll know that you did what they wanted you to do. You will have assimilated. And you will hate yourself for it, because it will be too late.”
I loved how this book started by throwing you straight into Nanette’s situation and I was engrossed in what was going on from the start. I thought I knew how this book was going to progress. After Nanette befriended the man who had written the book which had changed everything, I thought the plot was going to go a certain way. But I was completely surprised.
Also, when I started this book, I kinda thought Matthew Quick was trying too hard with his writing to make the story sound deep and meaningful. However in the second half of the book there was an interesting switch from 1st to 3rd person which I found interesting and I think made me enjoy the story more.
This book had a positive look at therapy and tackled the issue of privilege and mental health well. Nanette knew she had everything she could have ever wanted but she wasn’t happy, she felt incomplete and was tired of being pushed into doing things that she didn’t want to do. I liked this as it’s important to remember the mental illness can affect anyone.
I guess what made this book for me was the things I took away from this story. This book had me questioning myself, the things I believe, what I want to do. It’s been awhile since a book has had such a lasting impact on me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I put it down. It had me considering how I’ve lived my life to fit in with others as well as leaving me with so many other questions. And it helped remind me that not every question has an answer.