Blog Tour: Underneath Everything

Author: Marcy Beller Paul
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 384 Pages
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Mattie shouldn’t be at the bonfire. She should be finding new maps for her collection, hanging out with Kris, and steering clear of almost everyone else, especially Jolene. After all, Mattie and Kris dropped off the social scene the summer after sophomore year for a reason.

But now Mattie is a senior, and she’s sick of missing things. So here she is.

And there’s Jolene: Beautiful. Captivating. Just like the stories she wove. Mattie would know; she used to star in them. She and Jolene were best friends. Mattie has the scar on her palm to prove it, and Jolene has everything else, including Hudson.

But when Mattie runs into Hudson and gets a glimpse of what could have been, she decides to take it all back: the boyfriend, the friends, the life she was supposed to live. Problem is, Mattie can’t figure out where Jolene ends and she begins.  Because there’s something Mattie hasn’t told anyone—she walked away from Jolene over a year ago, but she never really left.

Poignant and provocative, Marcy Beller Paul’s debut novel tells the story of an intoxicating—and toxic—relationship that blurs the boundary between reality and fantasy, love and loyalty, friendship and obsession.
Marcy is such a wonderful person, and I've just started reading her book! It's absolutely amazing and definitely shows a true portrayal of a toxic friendship. It's something I and many others can relate to. I highly recommend checking out this book! Today I share an interview I conducted with Marcy.


1. Which friendships in books do you love the most? Why? (Book & Characters)

I like my book friendships dark and edgy and complicated because that’s what makes them genuine. No real friendship is ponies and rainbows every day. After all, it’s the people who know us best—the ones we’ve really let in—that can hurt us the most, sometimes without even meaning to. That’s the risk of making yourself vulnerable. But it’s also the payoff. You can’t reach the next level of friendship without opening yourself up. And oftentimes it’s the rough spots we go through with friends that makes our relationships stronger.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Theo and Boris—one of the only romantic male friendships I’ve ever seen, Theo and Boris save each other and destroy each other more than once, but they also balance each other out in this indescribable, fantastic way. It’s impossible not to root for them.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Lia and Cassie—one of the most intense, competitive, magical female friendships I’ve ever read, which is saying something, considering one is alive and one is dead.

Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
Laine and Leah—the definition of toxic friendship. What I love most about this book is that despite the fear, shame, and abuse Laine takes, she continues to try to understand Leah; and despite the pain she doles out, Leah has her own weak moments. This book sat on my desk during the entire year of my big revision.

2. What are some defining qualities of a toxic relationship?

One of the defining characteristics of a toxic relationship is that it makes you feel smaller instead of bigger. For example, let’s say something amazing happens. You ace a test, you get the lead in the play, you get into your first choice college. If you tell your best friend, she squeals and tells you how proud she is and celebrates your achievement like the amazing thing it is. Because of the genuine happiness she expresses, your own happiness doubles.

If you tell a toxic friend the same great news, she treats it like it’s no big deal, then tells you about something amazing she just did. See how that works? You feel smaller and she feels bigger. The spotlight is always on her and never on you. This gives her the upper hand in every situation. It gives her control, which is the other defining characteristic of a toxic relationship. In a loving, genuine relationship, there is no play for power. In a toxic relationship every moment is a maneuver. You tell the person good news, you get cut down. You tell the person bad news, she stores it away and threatens you with it later. Instead of being loved, you become afraid.

3. What inspired you to write Underneath Everything?

I had a very difficult friendship in middle school and high school, and just like Mattie, one day I walked away. Unlike Mattie, I never looked back.

Even in my first draft, Jolene was not a main character. I think I wanted to tell Mattie and Jolene’s story, but I wasn’t quite ready. Part of me still wanted to bury it. But during the revision process Jolene took center stage, as those kinds of girls often do. I could no longer look away. I wanted to know why girls like that do the things they do. I wanted to know why we let them.

Mattie’s story isn’t mine but it’s one I needed in high school.

4. What messages do you hope people take away from your novel?

To be present. To be yourself. To break out. To take risks. To take the bad things that have happened to you and appreciate what they have given you. And to surround yourself with people who make you more instead of less.

5. What books would you recommend to others who enjoyed your book?

LIKE MANDARIN by Kristen Hubbard
FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe
BOY HEAVEN by Laura Kasischke


6. How has the debut experience been for you? 

I used to work in publishing, so the debut experience has been less about discovering the business and more about discovering the writing community, which has completely blown me away. From fellow debut authors, to published authors, to bloggers and fans, the amount of love and support has been absolutely phenomenal. I feel like I’ve found my people.
Marcy Beller Paul is a young adult author, former editor, and full-time mom who still has all the notes she passed in seventh grade (and knows how to fold them).

She graduated from Harvard University and lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children. Underneath Everything will be published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, in Fall 2015. It is her first novel.
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour here
Rachel is a teenaged unapologetic fangirl and perfectionist.

She loves reading for the escape it gives from reality and enjoys crying over books, swooning over characters, and laughing out loud over funny lines. She is a semi-recovering Netflix addict and a middle child of three.

You can find her on Twitter @yaperfectionist & Goodreads.


  1. Sounds like a fascinating book. I am very curious about the friendship and to see how the story ends. Great interview too. Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway. :)

  2. Such a great interview! I am actually currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - I just started it actually, so I am looking forward to seeing what this friendship the author mentioned is like. Oh, and I are about toxic relationships like that. If it isn't working for you, the best thing to do is get out and quick.


I read, value, and cherish each and every comment. Although I don't have time to respond to most of them, I make every effort to comment back on your blog! :)