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Every Hidden Thing

Review

Every Hidden Thing

“Out here the rock had no rules and the hills had no laws and the vast sky was everywhere and watching, but didn’t care one bit.” –EVERY HIDDEN THING

"Overall, anyone who decides to look a little closer will discover that EVERY HIDDEN THING mirrors its own plot --- deep beneath the cover a groundbreaking read is waiting for any reader looking for an excellent story."

EVERY HIDDEN THING takes place during the 1800’s, and centers around two rival paleontologist families --- the Bolts and the Cartlands. While Professors Bolt and Cartland have been rivals for many years, their children, Samuel and Rachel, budding paleontologists themselves, don’t feel the same rivalry.  Where Rachel is reserved, Samuel is outgoing, but both are united by their common determination to fight for their futures as successful paleontologists. However, soon they head to the same place --- the badlands --- in search of dinosaurs that could change their fortunes and their futures. Although Rachel and Samuel begin to grow closer, it is impossible to deny that only one family will find the dinosaur first, and that means they must do everything they can in order to claim one of the biggest discoveries of the 1800s --- “the rex," king of the dinosaurs. What ensues is a thrilling race for the ultimate prize, and Samuel and Rachel are torn between following fortune or following friendship --- and possibly more. EVERY HIDDEN THING has been pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets Indiana Jones, and the combination of the two is definitely evident in the story. If you ever wanted to find feuding paleontologists, forbidden love, ancient myths, natural disasters, sabotage, and a furious search for the king of the dinosaurs all in 352 pages, you’ve come to the right place.

The story itself is what every unconventional reader ever wanted --- while the typical elements of a novel are present (love, rivalry, and fierce competition), Kenneth Oppel reworks what many would consider “cliché” elements into an entirely new design, making the story feel uncommonly unique. Combined with the “novel” backdrop (if you’ll excuse the book pun) of the West in the 1800s, Oppel ensures that his work stands out as a breath of fresh air in an occasionally unoriginal environment. The characters themselves are very distinct, each with their own specific “quirks” that make them seem much more lifelike to the reader, and their common devotion to paleontology is interesting and compelling, pulling the reader into the excitement of the race for the best find. Oppel adds flaws to the characters as well, helping the reader to connect with Rachel and Samuel and adding a realistic edge to their journeys as characters. The constant “action” of the story comes from the fast-paced race for new discoveries, and Oppel keeps the reader continually wondering what will happen next.  However, the ending of the story is slightly more open --- ended than many readers may like, and feels abrupt after the reader becomes so caught up in the lives of the characters. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy the story, but it also will appeal to anyone that loves a good adventure, as it feels almost like a “movie in the making." While the romance is central to the plot and definitely appeals to fans of the genre, it doesn’t feel “typical," as it takes unconventional twists and turns because of the time period. Overall, anyone who decides to look a little closer will discover that EVERY HIDDEN THING mirrors its own plot --- deep beneath the cover a groundbreaking read is waiting for any reader looking for an excellent story.

Reviewed by Rachel R., Teen Board Member on December 28, 2016

Every Hidden Thing
by Kenneth Oppel