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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Dust jacket is in Very Good condition with limited signs of wear from storage. Cover, pages and binding are in Like New condition with no apparent signs of use.
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Underneath Everything Hardcover – October 27, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—"Once upon a time there were two little girls alone in the world." Mattie and Jolene are—or were—best friends. The friendship, one of extreme closeness, dependency, and even danger, has been over for a year, with neither girl talking to the other. The reason for the break? A boy named Hudson who was Mattie's boyfriend until she saw Hudson and Jolene kissing. And then there is Kris, Mattie's friend since first grade, when their teacher sat them next to each other. Kris is the reason Mattie missed her rendezvous with her boyfriend. Mattie withdraws from everything, except for collecting old maps. For reasons even she does not understand, she decides to attend a Thanksgiving bonfire. When she and Hudson reconnect, Mattie decides it is time to "take back" her life and her friends, but Jolene makes it difficult. Where does truth end, and where do lies begin? What is the difference between trust and blind devotion? In this novel about relationships—both good and bad ones—that goes beyond the "mean girls" concept to the darker places of obsession and toxic relationships, Mattie finds herself walking a narrow line between finding herself and being consumed. Paul compels readers to look beyond the surface at motives and emotions and perhaps examine their own relationships. VERDICT Strong characters, an intense plot, and relatable situations make this debut novel a worthwhile read.—Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas

Review

“Lyrical, nuanced, and achingly real, Marcy Beller Paul’s debut explores the unmappable territory that is female friendship with honesty and heart. This is a book for every girl who’s ever gotten lost trying to find where she ends and her best friends begin—which, let’s face it, is every girl.” (Amanda Maciel, author of Tease)

“Marcy Beller Paul’s Underneath Everything is a lyrical and haunting debut novel. The story of Mattie and Jolene digs right into the heart of a poisonous friendship between two teenage girls, and I found myself holding my breath during the book’s final pages.” (Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About Alice)

“Strong characters, an intense plot, and relatable situations make this debut novel a worthwhile read.” (School Library Journal)

“Paul’s writing has a dreamlike quality that will keep readers wondering how much is imagined and how much is real.” (Publishers Weekly)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray (October 27, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062327216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062327215
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,079,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I've been craving something just like this in the YA bracket for such a long time and so thrilled to finally have something that filled most, if not all, of what I was looking for. Typically, I shy away from using the following words when describing books because I think they always fall flat but in this case, I'm going to use them. Underneath Everything was a gripping, sexy, and haunting debut about the toxic, all-consuming relationship between Mattie and Jolene. A relationship that goes too far time and again.

Jolene's popular and beautiful. Mattie's a nobody but all because she chose to be. Once upon a time, she was best friends with Jolene but after a game gone wrong (and more than a few "gone too far" moments) Mattie decides to walk away from Jolene, popularity, and everything that goes with it. But after one night at a bonfire, Mattie decides to take it all back.

The writing style and voice of this novel were beautiful. Every time I picked it up to read, I found myself sucked in. Most of the novel was a rush, a completely physical rush that even thinking about it now, I have to remind myself to 1... 2... 3... breathe because my heart rate picks up.

Practically everything about Mattie's life relates to Jolene. Even when Mattie isn't wrapped up in Jolene, she's doing things in spite of Jolene, making Mattie's entire character defined by her relationship to Jolene. Normally, that would aggravate me but not once did I feel like any of her actions were done for the sole purpose of creating drama, which is something I feel often when characters make bad decisions but not in Mattie's case. She was so overwhelmed by her relationship with Jolene that almost every decision she made felt authentic and true to her character.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Grade: C

High school senior Mattie drags her BFF Kris (though they hate the term best friend) to an annual bonfire and an afterparty, the first time they've been out in over a year since The Incident which named them personas non grata. Behind the drama, Jolene, Mattie's toxic, all consuming, abusive former BFF. Jolene wants Mattie back and whatever Jolene wants, she manages to get no matter who gets hurt.

I wouldn't want Mattie as a friend, she's a passive user, ready to mold herself into whoever she chooses to befriend. She's selfish and unkind to Kris, almost as if waiting for someone better to come along. She chronically feels like a victim, when she and her decisions are the sources of her problems. Mattie obviously had some serious issues to be enthralled by Jolene's abuse, but she made having empathy for her difficult.

I never knew what to think about Jolene, when she was authentic, when she manipulated and whether Mattie's view of her frenemy was skewed by Mattie's own issues. Kris proved to be the most loyal friend and put up with much more than most. She was my favorite character.

When debut author Marcy Beller Paul used italics to describe Mattie's past and present feelings,the tension was palpable and I felt like I was experiencing Mattie's emotions. UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING completely loses pace when the topic switches to Mattie's obsession with maps. That subplot killed momentum. Paul would have been better off using an obsession like counting to show Mattie's anxieties, which would have added tension.

Plotwise, although Jolene was a special kind of friend from hell, not much actually happened. No aha moments. No twists. No real surprises and a lackluster ending.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Deliciously written (beautiful use of language) and carved with toxic friendship, UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING is a slow read. But it's worth it. Mattie and Jolene are intertwined in the same way the girls in Dangerous Girls were. Their friendship is not a good thing. But yet you can't look away. Mattie, the main character, is drawn to Jolene but can't seem to let her go. We have all had those friendships where you have a friend who is not a good friend but yet you can't seem to stop coming back to them. It's an addiction you can't quit. Marcy Beller Paul writes soooo beautifully and I loved that Mattie was into maps and searching for things but yet couldn't see what was right in front of her. I would 100% read another book by her - I hope she has a book 2 coming soon!!
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Format: Hardcover
'Underneath Everything' is a compelling young adult contemporary romance novel that follows our main character, Mattie, as she handles her senior year of high school. Mattie had been one of the popular girls until after sophomore year - when she and her friend Kris swore off everything (and everyone). But now that graduation is in sight, Mattie can't help but wonder about what might have happened if she had stayed friends with Jolene - the main reason she dropped off the radar. Overcome by memories - both good and bad - Mattie decides that she's done hiding in the shadows. The only problem is Jolene. Things are complicated between them and Mattie has a really hard time keeping a clear head whenever Jolene's around.

I don't normally go for YA contemporary fiction because I think most of the books out there are built from the same template with details and some plot changes added in. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I'm so glad that I took a chance on it! I was immediately hooked from the first page and couldn't stop reading until I had finished the entire novel - which only took a few hours. The author did a fantastic job making the story feel as realistic as possible. The characters were all easy to identify with - especially Mattie, our leading lady. The entire plot of the book was written in a way that felt a bit like a mystery - it keep talking about the Mattie's past with her friends, notably Jolene, and hinting at the reason why she decided to walk away from everything that summer. I was intrigued at what the cause could have been - what could have happened between Mattie and Jolene that would make her shut out everyone basically overnight?
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