Every Hidden Thing

Some books are undoubtedly, absolutely, inexplicably, every single thing you have ever wanted, and everything that you didn’t even know that you did.

Welcome to my favorite book of the year.

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  • Author: Kenneth Oppel
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Year: 2016
  • Genre vibe: PALEONTOLOGY ROMANCE. NEED I SAY MORE?
  • At a glance: Samuel’s and Rachel’s fathers are paleontologists. Feuding paleontologists. Whenever Rachel and Sam meet, sparks fly. Whenever their fathers meet, fists do. Then the two pairs find themselves prospecting the same stretch of badlands territory for the same fossil. More sparks, more fists, and plenty of dinosaurs.

Alright, let’s start off with a scientific fact: At the very top of my Favorite Things list is Indiana Jones. The pitch for this book? Indiana Jones meets Romeo and Juliet.

You bet I’m sold.

Top it off with getting to meet Mr. Oppel at TTBF in Austin this year, and I’m practically swooning. (Oppel’s Airborn was my first venture into steampunk almost five years ago. I owe a great deal of my imaginative qualities to this guy. Thanks, Mr. Oppel.)

There are a thousand things I want to say about this book. I want to pick apart every piece of it that I loved. I want to excavate it from the rock it’s in right now and tell you “Look at this beautiful fossil I’ve found!” and then somehow get you to read it and love it and display it with pride in the museum of your bookshelves.

But that may be a bit excessive, and also, I doubt anyone has the time for that.

So what it boils down to is this: This book is so good that the last time I was this starry-eyed over a story, I was watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for the first time.

There is something quintessential about an adventure story. About dust and science that just goes together. About the excited light in a certain adventurer’s eyes when he tells you what he’s up to. A girl and her dreams and her fight, an unyielding land, an unknown frontier. There isn’t a good way to sum up the feeling that this kind of story gives me, because they’re the reason I make stories of my own, and the reason I love stories in the first place.

Every Hidden Thing is a masterpiece. The find of a century. It’s the crowning jewel of any aspiring geologists rock collection, the first treasure in a chest, a clue on a map long since discarded. It’s feeling like a kid again, wanting to be a treasure hunter or an astronaut or a scientist and not knowing yet that it took more than a hell of a lot of enthusiasm to get there.

Samuel and Rachel are some of the strongest protagonists I’ve read this year. Oppel has always been an author with master craftsmanship, and the narrative power of this duo is a cut above even the rest of his work. Pile on top of that the depth of their relationship, and the complexity of their individual struggles, and what you have is one of the best kind of characters you can ever see on the page: enthralling.

The supporting cast as well was phenomenal–Rachel’s and Samuel’s fathers were just as much a part of the story as Rachel and Sam themselves. There wasn’t any part of this book that seemed unfinished or under appreciated.

This book is a whirlwind. ( And that’s without mentioning the racing-heart and muttered “oh god please no please no please no please” that happened when the last few scenes started up. Ohhh boy.) This book is a gigantic boulder rolling towards you, and it’s standing under a huge fossil in the museum and being dwarfed by it. Wonderment and a thirst for adventure.

You can’t top that, can you?

So, overall, this book is…

  • 5/5 stars
  • For anybody that’s ever wanted to don a fedora and hit the pavement looking for something awesome. And people that like kissing. And people that like dinosaurs.
  • Dust on the bridge of his nose, something heavy in your hands, cool water on a hot day, safety. Just safety.
  • THIS PLAYLIST that I made specifically to make you want to read the book!

Hey, if you’ve been here awhile–thank you so much for reading! It’s been a hell of a year in a lot of senses of the word, and if this blog brought you anything from a brief “wow her jokes are super dumb” chuckle to a new book, I’m glad! Looking forward to a bright and book-filled 2017. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line on Instagram or Twitter, and stay tuned for some more fun stuff coming up this year!

-l.

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