Friday, April 7, 2017

Young Adult Annotation: Every Hidden Thing

Oppel, Kenneth. (2016). Every Hidden Thing. New York: Simon & Schuster.


Rachel Cartland and Samuel Bolt are the children of rival archaeologists in the 19th century who are both on the hunt for fossils that will make them household names. Actually, rival isn’t a strong enough word. The fathers despise each other and go to great lengths to sabotage the others’ work. In a romance reminiscent of Romeo & Juliet, Rachel and Samuel fall madly in love – despite their fathers’ wishes – and run off together into the unforgiving Badlands to find the elusive bones of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Equal parts adventure, suspense, romance, and Archaeology 101, Every Hidden Thing is a page-turner until the very end.

Young Adult Characteristics

* Point of view is from a young adult. Chapters alternate between Rachel and Samuel. This actually caused a bit of confusion because the chapters weren’t labeled and they always used first person pronouns. The only difference was the font and when your eyes are as bad as mine it’s not always easy to notice the slight difference!

* Independence – Both characters long to be out of their fathers’ respective control. They are able to find that independence as well as respect and love in each other.

* Fast-paced – The plot is fast paced but the author’s choice to alternate p.o.v. also keeps the book speeding along.

* Representation of minorities – Rachel struggles to be considered an equal in a man’s world. Also – the book deals quite a bit with Native American culture.

* Optimism – (Spoiler) Despite hardships and struggles, the book keeps it’s optimism and delivers in the end.

* Emotions – So. Many. Emotions.

Appeal Terms

Genre: Historical Fiction
Storyline: Action-packed, Character-driven, Intricately plotted
Character: Well-developed, Brooding, Likeable
Pace: Fast-paced
Tone: Romantic, Suspenseful
Writing Style: Richly detailed, Engaging


The Boundless –Kenneth Oppel
Compass South – Hope Larson
Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
Dodger – Terry Pratchett

Personal Notes

* The book was inspired by the real life story of Edward Drinkwater Cope and Charles Othniel Marsh – two archaeologists who were bitter rivals in the 1870s. Between the two of them they found and named over 100 different species all the while trying to discredit each other very, very publicly. Oppel read about the two archaeologists and thought, “What if they had children who fell in love?”

* I am not a big fan of Young Adult fiction. I tend to avoid it at all costs. Too many “feels” for me. But I purposefully chose Young Adult as one of my genres for this class to force me out of my anti-Teen shell. I loved Kenneth Oppel’s The Boundless and the premise of Every Hidden Thing was enticing – so it seemed like a good fit. And by in large, it was. The style/pace was very similar to The Boundless but with one key difference: the feels. Oh…there were feels. Oppel went all in on the romance and I was a wee bit surprised with some of the descriptions! I’m sure it’s tame compared to a lot of Teen books but it just caught me off guard.

* The publisher pitches the book as “Indiana Jones meets Romeo & Juliet.” Who doesn’t want to read that?!


  1. I have not heard of this book, but after reading your annotation, I will have to check it out! It seems really unique.

  2. How did this book escape my attention?!?! It sounds amazing! You had me sold at Indiana Jones meets Romeo and Juliet. Full points!