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Title: Underneath Everything
Author: Marcy Beller Paul
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
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.
What are some of the heavy issues in this book and what do you want to say to teens who are currently going through these issues?
There is an official description for UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING on the book jacket, and at Amazon, Barnes & Noble,and Goodreads, but I don’t always use it. I have an unofficial description that I save for women I meet in person. It’s only three words long: “Remember that girl?” In response I usually get an instant reaction: A tightening of the jaw. A narrowing of the eyes. “Yes,” they all say. “Yes, I know exactly who you’re talking about.” Of course, none of those girls are the same person, but they are all the same type. They were the ones with the power over us. They were the ones who made us feel the best and the worst about ourselves. We called them our friends, but they weren’t. They were toxic.
The problem is, we didn’t know it then. Because it was the first time we’d experienced it. And because we were trying to define ourselves at the same time.I mean, how are you supposed to know how much to give when you don’t know how much you’ve got to begin with? How are you supposed to know how vulnerable is too vulnerable? How much compromise crosses the line? When love is healthy and when it isn’t? Why so many songs and books and movies make love out to be this amazing thing when the reality feels like such a sucker punch? What that means about who you are?
No one can tell you. You’ve got to go through it and come out the other side. You’ve got to try things and take risks and follow your heart and give up too much and take it back again. That’s how you figure out who you are and where your line is.That’s what Mattie, the main character in UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING does. That is how she eventually finds and defines herself.
So what do I want to say to teens whoare in a toxic relationship right now? I want to ask them “Do you know that girl?” And when they tighten their jaw and narrow their eyes I want to tell them that I know her too. I want to tell them that her power isn’t real, that they’re giving it to her. That they are the ones in control.That a real friend would make them feel like more, not less. Happy, not afraid. I want to tell them that there is a way out. That they are worth it.That they are not alone.
I want to tell them so many things, but I also know that nothing I say can replace the experience of going through it and finding their own way out. Because that is how they will find themselves.
Meet The Author
Win a signed first edition of Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul