October 23, 2015

Underneath Everything Tour: Review + Giveaway

Underneath Everything
Author: Marcy Beller Paul
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: October 27th 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance/GLBT

Rating: 4 Stars!


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.
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? The story kept giving us little breadcrumbs of Mattie's story - tidbits about her life before, memories with her old friends and Jolene, and reminders of why she decided to turn her back on it all. I kept trying to figure out the mystery, which gave the book more excitement and had me reading as fast as I could to see what would happen next.

Mattie is a perfect main character for the story. She's down to earth, smart, loyal, a loving friend and daughter, determined, and stands up for what she believes in. The book is written from Mattie's perspective (the first person point of view) - so we get to know her on an incredibly deep level that doesn't otherwise happen. For example, there are lots of memories and flashbacks throughout the book - which we get to see from Mattie's point of view. We also get to hear her inner thoughts, emotions, fears, hopes, and so many other things. Because of these aspects, the reader is able to empathize more easily with Mattie and can identify with her almost instantly. Overall, this was a captivating book with fantastic writing, unique characters, and a story line that's more than your average YA contemporary. I definitely recommend it to fans of the genre along with readers who enjoy contemporary romance and books dealing with GLBT issues.

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Follow the Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

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.

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