Monday, November 2, 2015

Review: Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul


Underneath Everything is a seductive, gorgeously written debut about two girls bound by an obsessive and toxic friendship, perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and Courtney Summers.

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's life ends and hers begins. Because there's something Mattie hasn't told anyone: She walked away from Jolene over a year ago, but she never really left.

Publication Date: October 27, 2015

Underneath Everything was an interesting story about toxic female friendships. Specifically, the book focused on the dynamic between a quieter, passive friend and the dominant, outgoing friend. Jolene and Mattie had been best friends until their friendship dissolved over a boy named Hudson.

The book is very character-driven since not much happens in terms of the actual plot. I found the secondary characters interesting, especially Jolene, but I couldn’t really muster much enthusiasm for Mattie. Her personality was sort of blah and the only trait I could really remember about her most of the time was her odd obsession with maps.

I liked the author’s writing style and I was curious about what happened the night Mattie and Jolene’s friendship imploded. The flashbacks were also a highlight of the book and I liked how ambiguous the author kept Jolene and Mattie’s relationship. I kept wondering if they were just friends or something more.

I think at the core of the novel is a girl struggling to find her identity separate from her “soulmate.” Although I wasn’t totally blown away by the story, I did think it painted an honest depiction of how complicated female friendships can become.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

1 comment:

  1. You should totally read Twisted by N. L. Greene. That's the epitome of a toxic friendship. :) Great review, Heather! Sounds like a decent read. I do love the darker stories :)