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Today in YA: Underneath Everything


The following review of Underneath Everything (Balzer + Bray, October 2015), a book I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed, comes via Food, Fitness & Fiction contributing editor Josh Flores.

Mattie can easily read maps, but when it comes to people, it’s a whole different story. Marcy Bellar Paul’s debut novel, Underneath Everything, is a tale of self-discovery, friendship, and the chaos that comes from obsession. From teenage love to a toxic friendship, this novel provides readers with the effect of losing one’s self in order to please somebody else. With constant mystery and suspense, Underneath Everything is unforgettable and spectacularly provocative.

The story begins with Mattie and her best friend Kris as they arrive at a bonfire, trying to make the most of their last remaining year of high school. After spending some time away from the social scene in high school, they decide to reintegrate themselves by attending a bonfire. Not only do Mattie and Kris spend the night out at the bonfire and later at a party, but Mattie catches the attention of Hudson, a mysterious boy from her past. With old friends resurfacing and Mattie’s life unraveling, she has to decide to choose Hudson or her friends, which proves extremely hard to do.

I found this novel to be both original and mysterious, elements that made it an enjoyable read. Marcy Bellar Paul perfectly crafted a story that is haunting and brutally honest. Tackling issues such as drug use, neglect, and obsessive friendships, Underneath Everything is a coming of age as well as a cautionary tale. The only negative aspect of the novel was that some of the material presented was a bit on the dark side and at times felt like overkill. Despite this one setback, the novel was overall a success and is sure to be a favorite among young adult readers.

With a unique and well-developed plot, Underneath Everything is a novel that should not be overlooked. For those who enjoy realistic fiction that borders on horror, the book is sure to be a perfect selection. Similar to novels such as We Were Liars and The Accident Season, this novel will likely leave audiences breathless and ready for whatever Marcy Bellar Paul writes in the future.

To learn more about Marcy Bellar Paul and Underneath Everything, visit her website here.

Joshua Flores, a junior from Tustin, California is currently an editor for the Beckman Chronicle and enjoys both reading and writing. He spends most of his free time writing, and coming up with weird characters for the novel he is working on. You can follow him on Instagram at @booklover41899.

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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books and is currently working on her first novel. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook.

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