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. And 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. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel 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?
Every Hidden ThingFeatured
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!
The two MCs, Samuel and Rachel, are nearly polar opposites in personality - him being more rash and impulsive, and Rachel the more practical and balanced type. But they share a deep love of paleontology and their personalities play off each other quite well. At times, they also display more maturity than their competitor fathers and it makes for some humorous situations. While the reader knows a romance between them is a given, I appreciated that the author gave each of them their own character arcs apart from the romance, which made it a more interesting read for me.
I enjoyed everything about this book - the paleontology, feuding fathers, wild west setting with Native Americans, and the determination of a young woman to follow her own dreams during a time period where it was unheard for women to have dreams other than marriage and children. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy a well-paced adventure, humor, and a dash of romance thrown in.
Thanks to Edelweiss for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.