Rating: 5 Cups of CoffeeGoodreads Book Description:
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.
Secrets. Deceit. Love. Betrayal. Loyalty.
UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING unearths all of these points and more in this story of friendship and the lines that blur when trust gets broken.
“What do you want to be, Mattie?”
Mattie had it all sophomore year – Hudson, the boy who made her feel, and the group of best friends, Kris, Bella, and Jolene, who were tighter than tight. Yet things were off. Mattie wasn’t fine with this, especially when her friendship with Jolene constantly teetered on the edge of suffocation. Then one night, she loses everything, or rather, she walks away from it all. She and Kris are a unit in the following year and a half. It’s them against the world. But she can’t seem to shake the past, can’t escape the feelings that Hudson gave her. Can’t escape the hollowness that sits where Jolene once sat.
“Being her best friend wasn’t a pinkie-swear kind of thing. It was rabid; a deep cut instead of a drop of blood; smashed glass instead of a store-bought necklace. It was thrilling, the lengths she’d go to for me.”
Mattie decides to take it all back. She lets love into her life in the form of a boy named Hudson, drinks the poison that is Jolene and once again gets caught up in a mess that she can’t ever clean off.
“Hudson had trusted me. He’d drawn me into his distant place. And I loved the dark, dense closeness of it. The shared secret.”
Growing up, Mattie has always needed someone there. She’s the girl who doesn’t know how to be alone – I think everyone is like her at some point in their lives. I know I was. Because of this, she latches onto friendships –Kris’, Hudson’s, Jolene’s—like a lifesaver to keep her from being left by herself.
Mattie surrounds herself with maps, yet she’s still lost. You’re lost right alongside her. You feel that emptiness she feels being with these people she doesn’t know how to communicate with. I felt like the skin she wore just never felt form-fitting. At that point in Mattie’s life, you kind of understand that her feeling lost becomes real in the way she outwardly portrays herself. You have this idea of maybe molding yourself to what you think others want to see when they look at you. You end up needing to be that person they see. For Mattie, this need drove her to do things she never would have done, yet making those mistakes lead her to a better place.
UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING dives into the heart of toxic friendships, knowing and understanding who you are when no one else is around, and being okay with that person. This debut was gritty, stunning, honest, and overall an A++ read. I absolutely recommend this.
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About the Author
Marcy Beller Paul is a young adult author, former editor, and full-time mom who still has all the notes she passed in seventh grade (and knows how to fold them).
She graduated from Harvard University and lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children. Underneath Everything will be published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, in Fall 2015. It is her first novel.