Thursday, October 29, 2015

Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul

Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul
Release Date - October 27, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
When picking up Underneath Everything I knew to expect a story of a toxic friendship. Underneath Everything more than delivers on this promise, but it also boasts incredible writing, and an unflinchingly look at the complexity of female friendship.

Marcy Beller Paul's prose flows through the book with a dreamy, floating tone. There is also an incredibly sense of urgency and intrigue that is brought forth which combines with the dream like quality deliciously. The lines of reality and make believe are blurred and the writing captures this. Marcy Beller Paul excels at making the reader feel on edge. I was waiting for something horrible to happen. Some even darker twist, some reveal that would shatter everything. This feeling is vital to the overall story but also highlights that rush that would come from being friends with someone like Jolene. You begin to understand why this friendship exists and why Mattie would be, in a sense, addicted.

The lines of friendship and romance are twisted. There is more than a hint of 'something more' between Jolene and Mattie that is felt in every interaction. Female friendships, particularly in high school, often resonate like a romantic relationship. The sting of a 'friendship break up' can feel as crippling as a romantic one. There are whispered secrets shared in the dark, and hopes and wishes revealed. There is something innately intimate about these friendships. This novel captures that feeling effortlessly while showing the darker side some friendships can have.

The most unsettling thing about this book is how easily it is to understand the dynamics of Mattie and Joene's friendship. There are elements that almost everyone will recognize in friendships they have either had, or know of. The authentic nature of the story is what pulls you in, along with the compelling nature of March Beller Paul's writing.

The pacing of this one is a little slower. It builds everything at it's own pace. It is truly a character driven story in every sense. Those who need a breakneck speed plot will not find that here. Those who do read this, however, will be rewarded with fantastic characters, and an newly found author to watch.

A twisted friendship story, reminiscent of the movie Thirteen, that is unafraid to exam the complex nuances not just in teen girls, but in their friendships. It's a story that celebrates these complexities, and one that introduces a sharp new talent in the Young Adult genre. 

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