English/Spanish Book Review: Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

Title: Every Hidden Thing
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Genre: YA Historical
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published:  October 11th, 2016
Page Count:  368 pages
Format: eARC
Source: From publisher via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review

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?
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 5/5 stars

.This review can also be found on YA Books Central.

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.

That's it.

Final Verdict:

Every Hidden Thing is the romantic historical adventure book readers will take pleasure of digging into its pages. I highly recommend!

*Spanish Book Review/ Reseña en Español*

Si hay un libro de historia juvenil por leer en el 2016 sobre romance, viajes y aventura, debe ser éste. Every Hidden Thing (Cada Cosa Oculta) por Kenneth Oppel es sin duda una joya por descubrir por aquellos lectores que desean subir a un tren en el Estados Unidos del siglo XIX y pasar un verano desenterrando fósiles de dinosaurios al estilo de Romeo y Julieta e Indiana Jones.

Cuando vi por primera vez este libro, supe que iba a ser la lectura perfecta para mí. Empecé a sentir esa sensación de que sería una excelente lectura al leer la primera página y que honestamente, nunca paró a lo largo del libro. Desde la primera hasta la última página, Kenneth Oppel me enganchó con la historia de Rachel y Samuel, esperando el momento en el que encontrarían el gran tesoro que tanto buscaban.

Lo que me gustó:

Me encantó la perspectiva realista sobre una historia de amor entre dos jóvenes adultos. Me gustó la forma en que se desarrolla la relación de Rachel y Sam y como cuestionan internamente sus sentimientos. Fue refrescante la manera en que el autor no trata de idealizar completamente las interacciones entre estos dos personajes, pero si cómo los adolescentes piensan (generalmente) al encontrarse con un nuevo amor. Me resultó muy fácil identificarme con ésto y bastante divertido.

También me gustó cómo todos los personajes, incluyendo Rachel y Sam, son muy apasionados por la arqueología. Se notó principalmente en la forma en que trabajan sin descanso para lograr sus sueños. Pero sobre todo, me gustó  la tenacidad de Rachel para seguir una carrera en este campo a pesar de que, en los años de 1800, se espera que las mujeres jóvenes sean dóciles, esperando casarse con un hombre decente sin esperanza de una educación más allá de coser y cocinar. Sin embargo, Rachel demuestra esta idea equivocada cavando su camino a través de la profesión de su padre como un arqueólogo y demostrando cómo ella está hecha para seguir este estilo de vida de aventuras. La vida de Samuel es un poco más fácil cuando se trata de elegir lo que quiere ser, sin embargo, los fondos y la reputación son lo que lo están frenando, razón por la cuál surge su necesidad de demostrar al mundo (y a su padre) su capacidad para trabajar en los fósiles y cómo él puede dejar su propio legado en el mundo.

No soy una experta en fósiles de dinosaurios (o cualquier otro animal), sin embargo, no me resultó difícil seguir el rastro de la historia cuando los personajes utilizaban muchos términos arqueológicos. Incluso aprendí un par de cosas, como el dato de que los arqueólogos al encontrar fósiles de animales utilizaban sus nombres más la mezcla en unas pocas palabras en latín (que solía describir de alguna manera el animal) para nombrarlos. Bastante creativo, ¿no lo creen?

El toque de Romeo y Julieta en Every Hidden Thing también fue bien incorporado con la enemistad entre los dos padres de los personajes principales. Tiene un entorno totalmente diferente, pero la riqueza y la esencia de la famosa obra de Shakespeare puede ser detectada dentro de las páginas de este libro.

Lo que me dejó con ganas de más:

Nada. Bueno, tal vez más páginas. ¡Me hubiera encantado pasar más tiempo en este libro!

Y, como nota al margen, tengo que añadir que este libro tiene un poco de contenido para adultos por lo que si lo recomendaría para los audiencia juvenil más madura. No es  tan explícito, pero si algo sugestivo.

Eso es todo.

Veredicto final:

Every Hidden Thing es una lectura perfecta para los amantes del romance, aventuras e historia. ¡Lo recomiendo mucho!


  1. This sounds like a really good book, I'll have to add it to my TBR.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Tina @ As Told By Tina

    1. Yes! It's really great. Hope you end up enjoying it when you have the chance to read it ♥