Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul | Book Review

Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul is seriously a book that I started reading while I was clicking around randomly on my Kindle. I had wanted to read a book that I had both on my Kindle and as a physical copy for two fold reasons. One, in case I went into labor, it would be easy to bring my Kindle with me to the hospital and keep on reading. Two, I wanted the physical copy so that I could unhaul it after reading. I am delighted to say that after a few stops and starts, Underneath Everything definitely met my needs for the time being.

Marcy Beller Paul’s debut book Underneath Everything is about a teen girl named Mattie who decides she doesn’t want to be on the fringe anymore, she wants her old life back. You see, Mattie was once a popular girl and had everything going for her. However, a falling out with her former friend Jolene left her on the fringes. So, now she only has one friend, Kris. Also, Jolene took the boy that Mattie was interested in, Hudson. However, as the book opens up with a bonfire, we see that Mattie is changing course and taking back her old life. To which I say, you go girl. Unfortunately, all does not go as easily or tidily as expected.

Mattie as a main character is pretty legit. She is really into maps and collects old maps. I loved that about how she finds comfort in the lines. Also, she takes joy in viewing her neighborhood as the different subdivisions and sections. I found this to be so unique and kind of a selling character trait. However, I do think that Mattie was missing a bit of a backbone, especially when it came to Jolene. Oh, and Hudson. Although, let’s be real, how many teenage girls have total confidence and always make the best choice? I certainly did not.

Underneath Everything does have a romantic subplot. Mattie and Hudson begin to communicate again. He breaks up with Jolene. You think it’s all going to work out fine. However, as an old person, I can’t help but think GIRL YOU CAN DO BETTER HE IS A HIPSTER DOUCHE IN JOCK CLOTHES. For real, I mean, Hudson doesn’t even use a cell phone and to communicate with him you have to show up at his house. Also, to just drop Mattie like a sack of potatoes because she doesn’t meet him after something because she’s busy being a real friend? SCREW THAT. Alas, I have the wisdom of old age, and this is a thing that takes actual people time to learn.

I have seen comparisons of this book to the movie Thirteen, which okay, a lot of people liked, but I was like oh that’s gross. Mainly the part where the two girls hook up with the really old drug dealer guys? I don’t know, I only saw it once. Anyways, so Underneath Everything is at heart a portrayal of a toxic friendship. There are so many flashbacks that unfold that tell the story of what went so wrong between Mattie and Jolene. It is hard to read, but well worth the time. I liked that at least there were instances of positive female friendships, but yet remains realistic with its portrayal of how tough high school friendships can be.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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