Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul
My rating: 5 of 5 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.
If you asked me to describe this book in one word, I'd say "anxious." There's this sense of unease through the entire book, starting early on with the revelation that something happened between Mattie and Jolene. I read the entire thing with a knot in my stomach. Jolene isn't completely unlikable, even as details of the friendship are slowly revealed. About two-thirds of the way through, I wasn't even sure what I wanted to happen. The last several chapters are a whirlwind (caution: don't do what I did and drink a couple glasses of wine before you read them!) -- I couldn't get through them fast enough, and the ending is powerful. The book is unsettling, gripping, and emotional. An insanely great read about an all-consuming friendship and what it means to lose yourself in someone else.
UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING will be out from Balzer+Bray/Harper on October 27th.
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