I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 11th, 2016
Genres: Adventure, Historical, YA
Source: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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The hunt for a dinosaur skeleton buried in the Badlands, bitter rivalries, and a forbidden romance come together in this beautifully written new novel that’s Romeo and Juliet meets Indiana Jones.
Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt it’s the “rex”, the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.
But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. Because if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.
As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. And with both eyeing the same prize, their budding romance seems destined to fail. But as danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light, Samuel and Rachel are forced to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry—and with it a new life together—or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?
The Airborn series was one of my favs ever growing up so I was immediately like YAAS to Every Hidden Thing but then I saw it was pitched as Indiana Jones meets Romeo & Juliet and was like double YAAS. WHO CAN RESIST THE COMBO of a childhood fav author and INDIANA JONES MEETS ROMEO & JULIET? Not me obviously. Anyway, I loved this book and that is all you’re ever going to need to know in your life. BYE NOW. See you again someday.
*comes back reluctantly to finish reviewing this book*
Every Hidden Thing is fucking amazing brain candy but just because it was brain candy does NOT mean it was easy to read. This book is set sometime in the 19th century (probably late 19th century) so there is a LOT of racism in this book. There are so many secondary characters who just suck because they aren’t empathetic and are so so ignorant. I had to put the book down a lot to take breathers because it was really intense but I am glad that Oppel doesn’t brush over these horrifying realities. Through our main characters though, he reminds us how important it is to be an empathetic human being who tries to see the other side of the story. There is also some things some of the adult characters do that made me feel more hopeful as I was reading.
The MCs were pretty great but I adored Rachel. Rachel is smart and isn’t ashamed of it. She has a father who doesn’t appreciate her smartness but over the course of the book, she learns to say fuck you to him so she can be the smartest smarty pants ever. I would say more coherent things about her but you can just READ THE BOOK.
One thing that I wasn’t completely on board with was the romance. I love love-to-hate romances but they are HARD to write in a way that completely works. I think Rachel and Samuel have chemistry and I love that their attraction starts off as being intellectual and then develops from there but it’s still instalove and I don’t like instalove. To be fair, it’s mostly Samuel who has a case of instalove and Rachel is all like nah boy, I just met you and this is crazy so take a chill pill.
You might not think of it right away but this book, on top of being an adventure has lots of western vibes because they go on a dig somewhere in the west coast. I LOVE IT. I loved how the dig was mapped out and the struggles the various parties experienced. There was also a lot of rivalry and two adults being a-holes to each other because toxic masculinity. BUT there was something that happened towards the end of the book that I wish we could have spent more time on so I could have had even more fun living vicariously through these characters.
Read this book if you’re into: Archaeological digs, brainy flirting, smart girls and adventures.
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