Author: Marcy Beller Paul
Pages: 293 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
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.
I have no idea what I just read, but I think I liked it. Underneath Everything is kind of a bizarre trip through a super toxic and questionable friendship. When it starts, Mattie and Kris have already separated themselves from their other two “friends”, Bella and Jolene. It’s been about a year and a half, and Mattie is itching to get back into the social scene before she graduates. She drags Kris to the bonfire, where she runs into Hudson, the boy she was crushing on and whom Jolene stole. Then the girls head to the after party, where secrets come out, new ones are created, and everything gets rearranged.
Underneath Everything was…I honestly don’t know. There’s no plot. It’s 100% character driven. But even then I had no clue where the narrative was going or what that ending means. Mattie just kind of falls back into her old life. Instead of being just her and Kris like it was for the past year. It’s now her and Jolene, despite all of the crap she’s done to everyone. That friendship is not a healthy one in any way! The things Jolene does to Mattie are not things you do to a friend, or even an enemy. I don’t even know what to call their relationship because it can’t be friendship. Although towards the end, lines certainly get blurred between friendship and something more.
I can’t really say much about Underneath Everything without spoiling it. These girls carry a lot of secrets and a lot of issues. I had to keep reading to know more! I read it in one sitting. I was expecting something bigger at the end though. Things heat up, and then fizzle out. I’m not quite sure how to feel about it, because my feelings about Mattie and Jolene got so twisted by the end! Do I want them together or apart?! I don’t know! Apart is the healthy, logical choice. But together they kind of have something explosive which no one understands. This was just a really weird one for me.