Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul // Rich and Powerful

Monday, 22 February 2016
Underneath Everything, by Marcy Beller Paul
Publication: October 27, 2015, by Balzer and Bray
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: BEA/Publisher

Mattie shouldn’t be at the bonfire. She should be finding new maps for her collection, hanging out with Kris, and steering clear of almost everyone else, especially Jolene. After all, Mattie and Kris dropped off the social scene the summer after sophomore year for a reason.
But now Mattie is a senior, and she’s sick of missing things. So here she is.

And there’s Jolene: Beautiful. Captivating. Just like the stories she wove. Mattie would know; she used to star in them. She and Jolene were best friends. Mattie has the scar on her palm to prove it, and Jolene has everything else, including Hudson.
But when Mattie runs into Hudson and gets a glimpse of what could have been, she decides to take it all back: the boyfriend, the friends, the life she was supposed to live. Problem is, Mattie can’t figure out where Jolene ends and she begins.
Because there’s something Mattie hasn’t told anyone—she walked away from Jolene over a year ago, but she never really left.

Poignant and provocative, Marcy Beller Paul’s debut novel tells the story of an intoxicating—and toxic—relationship that blurs the boundary between reality and fantasy, love and loyalty, friendship and obsession.

My Thoughts:

Underneath Everything began with a boom and surely ended with one, too. I kept this book at school, only reading it during my amazing English class when we were required to every morning, but when the weekend arose, I decided I could not wait until Monday to read it again and just finished it in one more sitting. This novel was fabulous, the story was memorable, and I just cannot get enough of everything that the author included in this story to make it intriguing and surprising. Make sure you do take note of the suspense and plot twists that will shove at your face. This one is a wild ride that you cannot figure out until you're basically, like Mattie, underneath everything, essentially.

Like the summary that first caught my eye noted, this one is about an intoxicating/toxic relationship. You cannot pick or point at one of the two. There are points that surround themselves to both ideas. From the start of the novel, readers are torn between a bunch of characters who we do not really expect to make a big comeback in the story. We have Mattie, who is our torn protagonist, definitely going through a bunch of problems and overcoming her demons in the story. Jolene is the rebellious, carefree secondary character who the story really is about, in a way. Mattie cannot discuss her feelings with herself, everything is inward. Readers could not even discuss this because we did not know at all, whether this was the real thing or not.

"There was a story: she said the first line, I said the next. The ending changed, but the beginning was always the same. It was our lullabye." (10)

That quote above made so much sense when Marcy Beller Paul revealed the truth to us in the end. It seemed like she did not even know what would come out of this, and I imagine this great author planning as she wrote. And seriously? Sometimes books should be written like that to stir confusion in readers, but obviously in that good, normal way that will not cause us to rate this one star. There is a difference between quality, in this case. Everything you read in the first few chapters will jump back at you. In a way, this book was written so psychologically that I could admit that I have never dealt with anything similar. Contemporaries lately have broken my heart so many times. I love it. I am seriously addicted to these kinds of books.

Readers could easily feel connected to the characters. Marcy Beller Paul writes from the perfect perspective of a teenager; we are selfish, careless and we never know what we want. Mattie is innocent, but her character really develops towards the end. That is my perfect definition of a teenager—we come of age, we realize what we want and we mature. She switches between her obsessions, being with Hudson, taking new stands in their relationship and figuring out what her friendship with Jolene would eventually turn into. 

Mattie and Hudson were not meant to be. I did not see anything with them other than lust and desire. It is interesting to see later on what their relationship really was for Mattie, what she thought of Hudson and why she made that mistake. This is not your average contemporary story, as you can tell. It certainly was quite more than that, and all of the puzzle pieces fit together afterwards to create a rich and powerful story that only this author can conquer wonderfully.

"Being high makes me superaware of where I end and everything else begins—what separates things. Drawn lines. Soft skin. It's like being inside one of my maps. Everything is contained in its rightful place. Safe." (30)

Underneath Everything contains all of the juicy stuff: secrets, toxic relationships, friendship, mystery and betrayal. Sara Shepard would certainly approve of the plot of this novel and if you are a PLL lover, this is perfect, but much more darker in that sexy way. It is definitely unique and satisfies my tingly jittery feels. 

What are the best dark-friendship novels? What do you think of a friendship in a book that goes in the most unexpected direction? *talks about LGBT*

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