Friday, October 14, 2016

Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel {review + giveaway}

Every Hidden Thing
by Kenneth Oppel
♦publisher: Simon & Schuster
♦release date: October 11th, 2016
♦hardcover, 368 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦from publisher for honest review
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?

Review: This story is described as Romeo & Juliet meets Indiana Jones--and that is a perfectly accurate comparison.  I've had a run of good luck with finding fun stories lately, and this was definitely no exception. 

Every Hidden Thing is definitely unique in that it's an archeology story set in the Old West. Both the main characters have ultra-competitive fathers who are trying to out-do each other in their archealogical finds. But Samuel and Rachel have grow to have as much passion for discovering bones as their fathers---and the time setting sets up a particular challenge for Rachel as digging up bones in the wilderness is just not proper for a young lady. But she cleverly finagles her way into the journey. The whole thing becomes a race to find a legendary dinosaur complete with territorial squabbles, accusations of sabotage, and run-ins with the native Sioux tribes that leave Rachel with a very justified doubt in her father's sanity.The audacity and righteousness of both men just leaves you wanting to strangle them most times, but especially Rachel's father.  

The love story was sweet, and despite being a nearly instant attraction, their trust and actual feelings for each other grew gradually. Their secret stolen moments were as romantic as they could be in the middle of a dirty digging site, hiding from fathers and cocky college boys.  I liked the realistic take on their romantic experiences ---it wasn't the "perfect first kiss" and the perfect first..etc. ;) And it was all very kind of bumbling, unsure...real.  I also appreciated that it was not all glossed over and perfect even after they got together, because they were still faced with outside forces, doubts, and hard life-changing decisions to make. 

I had only one big issue with this book. It was not exactly the alternating points of view, but the way the rapidly changing POV was formatted.  This story actually really benefited from being told from both Samuel's and Rachel's sides but the change from one to the other was not marked except for a very subtle font change.  The difference, to me, was not obvious enough and it often left me jumping from one voice to the other without noticing for a few seconds. There were far too many of those "wait..who's talking now?" moments. :) There was also one instance where each of them started talking directly to the other instead of the "audience" (only for a second) and I found that a bit odd. 

Despite that, though, I really loved this one. Such a riveting adventure and a compelling, complicated love story! 


credit: Mark Raynes Roberts
Kenneth Oppel is the author of numerous books for young readers. His award-winning Silverwing trilogy has sold over a million copies worldwide and been adapted as an animated TV series and stage play. Airborn won a Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award and the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s literature; its sequel, Skybreaker, was a New York Times bestseller and was named Children’s Novel of the Year by the London Times. He is also the author of Half BrotherThis Dark EndeavorSuch Wicked Intent, and The Boundless. Born on Canada’s Vancouver Island, he has lived in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada; in England and Ireland; and now resides in Toronto with his wife and children.


Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

I received the finished copy of Every Hidden Thing so I'm passing along my ARC to one lucky winner! Enter below! 
•US mailing addresses only please
•Ends October 28, 2016

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