An Adventurous Tale of Fossils and Forbidden Romance
If there's one historical YA book about romance, travel, and adventure to read in 2016, it's this one. Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel is surely a gem to be discovered by readers eager to board a train into the late nineteenth-century America and spend a summer unearthing dinosaur fossils à la Romeo and Juliet and Indiana Jones style.
When I first set me eyes upon this book, I knew it would be the perfect read for me. The book tingles started once I started reading the first page and they never stopped throughout the whole book. From page one to the last page, Kenneth Oppel had me glued with Rachel and Samuel's story, begging to know if they would ever find their most wanted treasure.
What I Loved:
The realistic perspective on a love story between two young adults. I really enjoyed the way Rachel and Sam's relationship develops and their inner monologues about their feelings. It was refreshing how the author doesn't try to romanticize completely their interactions and instead shows how teens usually think when finding themselves with a new love interest. I found this to be extremely relatable and at times funny!
I love how all the characters, including Rachel and Sam, are extremely passionate about their love for archaeology and how they work non-stop to accomplish their dreams. I specially loved Rachel's tenacity to pursue a career in this field since back in the 1800s, young women were expected to just sit tight and hope to get married to a decent man with no hope for an education beyond sewing and cooking. However, Rachel proves this idea wrong by digging her way through her father's profession as an archaeologist and demonstrating how's she's cut out for this adventurous lifestyle. Samuel's life is a bit easier when it comes to choosing what he wants to be, yet funds and reputation are what's holding him back, thus his need to demonstrate to the world (and his father) his ability to work on fossils and how he can leave his own legacy behind.
I'm no expert with dinosaur fossils (or any other animal), yet I did not struggle to follow the story's trail when characters switched back and forth with archaeology terms. I even learned a thing or two, including how those who found animal fossils used to name them after themselves plus mixing in a few words in Latin that would usually describe in some way the animal. Quite creative and pretty neat!
The Romeo and Juliet touch in Every Hidden Thing is well drawn with the enmity between both of the main character's fathers. A totally different setting, but the richness and essence of Shakespeare's famous play can be sensed within this book's pages.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Nothing. Wait, maybe a few more amazing pages!
And, as a side note, I have to add that this book has a bit of mature content so it's one I'd recommend for the older YA audience. It's not explicit, but it's safe to say that it might raise a few eyebrows and giggles.
Every Hidden Thing is the romantic historical adventure book readers will take pleasure of digging into its pages. I highly recommend!