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Underneath Everything

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  577 ratings  ·  139 reviews
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: B
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
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Thia Lee It's a weird book. The author never makes it fully clear if the MC is bi or not, but it has a bi/lesbian undertone that pretty much grows throughout t…moreIt's a weird book. The author never makes it fully clear if the MC is bi or not, but it has a bi/lesbian undertone that pretty much grows throughout the book, but it's never made 100% clear. Like I said it's kinda weird how it is written. (less)

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Average rating 3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  577 ratings  ·  139 reviews

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Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“What if we’re both not real?”
“We’re not,” I said. “We’re better than real. We’re the two little girls.”

This was one of these books where I got to the end, and still couldn’t figure out what it was really about.

Mattie was a fairly normal girl, but her relationships with her friends were a little confusing. She was best friends with a girl called Kris, and basically didn’
I don’t get it… I just don’t get it… After slowly trudging through 300 plus pages of Underneath Everything, I believe I might have missed the point somewhere along the way. Probably my most disappointing read in 2015.

From what I gathered, Mattie and Kris purposely removed themselves from the social scene back in their sophomore year after something went down between their Fabulous Four group that included Mattie, Kris, Bella and the core of this madness Jolene. Now that senior year is upon them
Paula Stokes
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to "meet" Marcy Beller Paul in an online class when she was writing the first draft of this book. Back then, it didn't have a title. It didn't even have chapters. It was just this outpouring of gorgeous words, this story about a group of friends with complicated relationships and a girl who was only beginning to figure out who she was and what she needed.

I got to watch Underneath Everything grow and change throughout several drafts. I got to see Mattie take control of her stor
I.W. Gregorio
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a lushly written, utterly sexy debut about the dark underbelly of teen friendship. It's been a long time since I've read a book that captures the intensity of high school relationships so perfectly. Add in a simmering LGBT undercurrent, and this is a must read book! ...more
Natasha Sinel
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
OK, so wow. I loved reading this amazing, surreal book. Haven't we all had toxic friendships that we can't quite seem to get out of? Marcy Beller Paul captures how it is to be the quieter half of a close/too-close female friendship and its consequences. Her sentences are beautifully written. I was pulled right into Mattie's world, and I was sad for it to be over. Hopeful ending rounded out the perfection. Loved. ...more
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
This review was originally posted on It Starts at Midnight
So, I did enjoy the writing in this book. And the character development. And I really think that I will read more from the author, because I enjoyed the style.

But the actual story? I don't quite "get it". I mean, the point has escaped me, if there is one. I will say that the book started out really strong. Mattie had been betrayed by her friend Jolene, who knew she really liked this guy (Hudson) and snuck in and started dating him. Have
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, sexy, messy, original and with a great message. Everything I love in a book. I was shocked most of times, holding my breath every time I turned the page because I had no idea what was going to happen next.

Loved every feeling this book cause me and I want you all to read it, if you enjoy books like this.

Plus, one the best intimate scene I've ever read in YA.
Jul 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
I've read a lot of positive reviews for this book, but I just don't get. I spent the entire book waiting for something to happen. Found the narrator to be very unlikeable, the storyline dragged, and I just didn't care about any of it. ...more
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
Jun 28, 2015 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: yabc, arc
TL;DR Mattie is too passive and uninteresting a character, Jolene isn't compelling either, it's more fun to do a Freudian analysis on Mattie's love of maps than actually read the book, and I spent 160 pages with this book but still fail to care. I don't even care about whatever went down at the manhunt, which apparently takes too long to come out and is a bit of a disappointment, especially considering the wait. I'm exercising my right to DNF. So what if it gets better in the second half? No rea ...more
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Woah. This book was so, so good in so many different ways. It is dark, brooding, sultry, and sexy. It is also beautifully written and lyrical in a way I haven’t read in a long time. Marcy Beller Paul writes incredibly flawed and complex main characters that are hard to root for, yet cry out for compassion.

This book is captivating, with gorgeous prose and a deeply unsettling female friendship. The relationship between Mattie and Jolene is toxic in the raw sense of the word, and the author expert
Sharon Roat
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Whoa. Just finished reading an ARC of this beautifully-written novel. It was so different, and so incredibly tense. I felt like I was holding my breath the whole time.
Natasha at Book Baristas
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Review on blog:

Secrets. Deceit. Love. Betrayal. Loyalty.

UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING unearths all of these points and more in this story of friendship and the lines that blur when trust gets broken.

“What do you want to be, Mattie?”

Mattie had it all sophomore year – Hudson, the boy who made her feel, and the group of best friends, Kris, Bella, and Jolene, who were tighter than tight. Yet things were off. Mattie wasn’t fine with this, especially when her friendshi
Marci Curtis
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
WOW...this story is an absolute GEM. So beautifully written, so haunting, so authentic, so powerful.
Five glorious stars.
My thanks to Balzer + Bray

Point of View: Single (Mattie)
Writing: First Person | Present Tense
Setting: New Jersey
Genre: Young Adult | Realistic Fiction

To me this book practically made no sense whatsoever. It made me feel like I start reading a book in the middle of the series since everything was a huge frigging mess.

The storyline wasn't interesting enough to hold my at
Lauren ✨ (TheBookishTwins)
I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.

Actual rating: 3.5

The summer after sophomore year, Mattie and Kris dropped off the social radar and no longer went to parties or hung out at bonfires, and they certainly steered clear from popular girl and ex-best-friend Jolene. Now Mattie is a senior and is tired of missing out on things so she takes everything Jolene took from her, including Hudson. But Mattie finds herself drawn to Jolene once again.

Underneath Everything is a captivatin
Sep 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Most of the first part of the book kept referring to "what happened on that night" which grew tiresome. In addition, I never could get a handle on if the author wanted me to think the interest between the main character and her ex-friend/friend was sexual or just regular friendship infatuation. I'm fine either way, but having that point so muddy was distracting. All characters seemed flat in an over-dramatic way, I found the depiction of high school social structures and popularity entirely unre ...more
Lori Goldstein
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is dark and twisty and gave me the chills in the best way. The author's dreamlike narration is hypnotizing and sweeps you up into this tale that keeps you second guessing everything the same way the characters do. Unlike anything I've read in a long time and I can't wait for the chance to lose myself in more of Ms. Paul's stellar writing. ...more
Jen Ryland
Sep 19, 2015 marked it as setting-aside-for-now
This isn't grabbing me the way I hoped. Setting aside for now and will read some more reviews and decide whether or not to continue.... ...more
Michelle Wrona
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!

Underneath Everything began with a boom and surely ended with one, too. I kept this book at school, only reading it during my amazing English class when we were required to every morning, but when the weekend arose, I decided I could not wait until Monday to read it again and just finished it in one more sitting. This novel was fabulous, the story was memorable, and I just cannot get enough of everything that the auth
Brittany S.
Initial Impressions 9/10/15: Hmmmm I'll say 3.75 stars
I wasn't TOTALLY as hooked as I wanted to be with this book. There's a bit of a Thirteen vibe but once you hear that comparison/get that movie stuck in your head, it's hard not to expect even more crazy shit. It was definitely good, very interesting, and so easy to see how someone can manipulate someone else like that. I suppose it was a bit more realistic as far as toxic friendships go and less shocking but I was holding out for a bit more i
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015, 4-star
Originally posted at Lady Knight Reads

I cannot properly word about how good this book is. It's the kind of book that burrows under your skin and sticks with you for weeks. I know this because I finished it nearly three weeks ago and I'm still thinking about it daily.

I was immediately pulled into Mattie's story by the absolutely GORGEOUS writing. The author has some serious talent with the the kind of lyrical, haunting sentences and paragraphs that I love in my books. The writing is utterly flawl
Oct 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was supposed to be about a toxic friendship, and I sure got that. I was continually stunned by what Jolene did. She went too far. She always went too far. I don't care if she said she wouldn't hurt Mattie. It's wrong. I don't care if Mattie got a rush from it. Suffocating someone is not a good way to show love. What Jolene did was dangerous, risky. I'm a normally cautious person, so what she did really freaked me out.
Admittedly, reading the things Jolene did gave me a little bit of a
I can't say I exactly enjoyed this one, but it was a book I just couldn't get enough of. Teen friendships can be so messy and complicated, both the great ones and the toxic ones, and it's rare to get a book that REALLY digs in as deep as Underneath Everything does. Something about this book reminded me of a Courtney Summers novel. The subject matter is completely different, and the prose isn't quite as sharp(meaning harsh, not the quality), but in the way the book really gets into the relationsh ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Chapters read: 2

The voice hasn't grabbed me, nor do I feel hooked. The reviews all say this isn't really a plot book, so without voiciness to hook me, I fear I'll be bored, and I'm not sold on this being a Christina book.
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a different book where friendships are broken and slowly brought back. There is romance but a toxic friendship has it's ups and downs and an undercurrent of romance with someone's. This book took a while to reveal what happened and why a friendship ended. Different. ...more
Lee Kelly
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful dreamlike writing, a one-of-a-kind narrator, and a portrait of friendship that is honest and real. It's simply a must read. ...more
Molli Moran
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was gorgeous and heart-wrenching and fucked-up, and very honest. I drank in every sentence.
Sandra Waugh
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
powerful story, haunting words.
Aly Castro
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just read it. Haunting. Emotional. Raw. Real. Thrilling. Beautiful.
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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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