Every Exquisite ThingThe Blurb

From Matthew Quick, bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, comes a heartfelt, unconventional and moving novel for readers who love John Green and Annabel Pitcher.

Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hard-working student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper – the mysterious, out-of-print cult-classic – the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young but troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that sometimes rebellion comes at a high price.

A celebration of the self and the formidable power of story, Every Exquisite Thing is Matthew Quick at his finest.

The Review

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick has kind of left me speechless – and using the passive voice, apparently.

I guess I should give writing about it a try.

It is a wonderfully quirky story of a young girl, Nanette O’Hare whose life is changed when she reads a cult classic. She goes from socially accepted school girl on the football team to social pariah within days. She starts to make decisions about her life that are beyond the cookie-cutter print of expectation.

In breaking the mould Nanette has to pick up the pieces but will it be at a cost to who she is meant to be?

I thought Every Exquisite Thing was brilliant. It perfectly summed up the confusion of teenage life. It reminds us, as adult readers, how scary and how much pressure being a teenager can be. We too often look back at it through rose tinted glasses – the lack of bills and responsibilities – but remember that this is a time when we are expected to know what we want for the future, be planning for it and be so sure of ourselves whilst being a walking, talking hormone. I’m thirty-two and I still don’t know the answer to all of these things but like hell could you pay me to go back to being a teenager.

I think that is what this book does. It allows the older reader be reminded that teenage life isn’t that easy and the young adult reader to feel comforted in knowing that self same thing: life isn’t easy.

Every Exquisite Thing is a must read for fans of Matthew Quick. I would go so far as to say that this is his best work to date.

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick is available from 31st May 2016.

Follow Matthew Quick (@MatthewQuick21) on Twitter.

4 Stars

The Blurb

Portia Kane is having a meltdown. After escaping her cheating husband and their posh Florida life, she finds herself transported back home and back to square one. In need of saving herself, she sets out to find and resurrect a beloved high-school English teacher who has retired after a violent incident in the classroom. But she quickly learns that it’s not a one-woman job. Luckily she meets a few people on her journey. Can Chuck, the handsome brother of Portia’s old school friend, together with a sassy nun and a metal-head little boy, help Portia’s chances in her bid for renewed hope in the human race? It’s going to be quite a ride. Moving and funny, Love May Fail is about the heartache and daring choices it takes to become the person you know deep down you are meant to be.

The Review

I would like to start this review with the following exclamation. OH. MY. WOW!

I’m sorry for the dramatic outburst but Love May Fail by Matthew Quick has floored me. I am currently having what the cool kids call a “book hangover”. It was just so damn good. I’m finding hard to actually express my feelings about Love May Fail in a coherent and concise way because it was just so damn beautiful.

The multi-narrative tale is told from four perspectives – Portia, Mr Vernon, Mr Vernon’s mother Maeve and Chuck Bass (not to be confused with the Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl) and their lives are all intrinsically linked. Each of these characters has a cross to bear and they are all struggling to find meaning or a connection. Yet they all help each other – sometimes on purpose and other times accidentally. It is through the theme of loss that they can all relate to each other.

This sounds very simplistic but I genuinely do not want to give too much away. Ideally, I would like those of you reading this review to run to your nearest bookshop and buy Love May Fail.

Having read all but one of Matthew Quick’s previous novels, I can say with conviction that Love May Fail is his finest work to date.

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick is available now.

Follow Matthew Quick (@MatthewQuick21) on Twitter.

Love May Fail

Synopsis

When Finlay’s basketball coach asks him for a favour, little does Finlay know that his whole world will be turned upside down by what lies ahead. Finlay has spent the summer in training to be the best basketball player on his team. He and his seasonal girlfriend, Erin, have worked hard pushing themselves to get the best results from their body. For them, basketball may be a way out of the town where they live; a town that is damaged through gang and drug crime.

However, when the coach asks Finlay to take new boy Russ under his wing, Finlay’s spot on the team becomes questionable. To make matters worse, Finlay has to protect Russ, the boy taking his position from the rest of the school. Russ, who is suffering from PTSD after the death of his parents likes to be referred to as Boy21 and believes his father is going to come from outer space and remove him from the planet Earth. This is a lot more than Finlay bargained for in hs final year of high school

Review

Having read all but one of Matthew Quick’s books (Sorta Like A Rockstar is on my TBR pile) I have to say that so far Boy21 has been my favourite. I loved the balance of real world problems with teen angst and drama. The linking to the cosmos and space made you see how small some of the problems actually were.

I think that Quick has a knack for finding a voice for contentious issues and displays them so well in his narratives. Finlay’s love of basketball versus the love he has for Erin; that Finlay wants to do right by Russ even though he knows that eventually it will cost him his spot on the basketball team.

Quick appeals to your emotional side, making you want to root for Finlay whilst seeing the bigger picture. He weaves a social setting which is fraught with drama yet does not seem unrealistic. He uses sports to show how it can help you, not only with your peer but by giving you something to focus on and root for. Quick has created a cast of characters and a story that leaves you thinking for a long time afterwards.

Boy21 by Matthew Quick is available now.

Boy21