Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Opel had archaeology, forbidden love and dinosaur bones set in the Badlands 🦕

Title: Every Hidden Thing
Series: N/A
Author: Kenneth Opel
Publication: October 11th 2016
Pages: 368 Pages, Paperback
Source: Library
Rating: 4/5 cupcakes! 

Romeo and Juliet meets Indiana Jones in this epic tale that combines the hunt for a dinosaur skeleton, a mysterious legend, bitter rivalries and a forbidden romance
Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in ancient 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 paleontologist father in the history books.
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 love of science and adventure isn’t just relegated to books. 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. 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?
FUN FACT: When I was 10, I really wanted to be an archaeologist. There were these fossil looking stones in our garden, and I used to spend hours collecting these weird looking stones. So, naturally, when I saw this book in the library and read the blurb, I knew I had to read it at once. I guess I still harbor the dream of being an archaeologist, deep inside? Who knows.

I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did, as the ratings among my Goodreads friends weren't that great and lowered my expectations quite significantly. In fact, I nearly returned it, unread, to the library. I'M SO GLAD I DIDN'T! I had so much fun reading this book. Yes, it had some insta-love (but weirdly it worked??) and some pretty awkward scenes, but besides that I had a whale of a time.
🦕 The plot! I think the plot was the thing that made me love this book. We have Samuel and Rachel as the main characters. They're both budding archaeologists/paleontologists who are assisting their fathers in a hunt for revolutionary fossils. Their fathers are rivals and enemies and always trying to out-do the other. Obviously, when Rachel and Samuel fall in love, it's not going to be smooth sailing. SO, forbidden romance is always fun to read about, but then you also have fossil hunting!! I loved reading about Samuel and Rachel trying to find the fossils of the legendary black-boned dinosaur. With their failings, I found so disappointed and sad for them; with their findings, I was overjoyed. I was so invested in the plot and I FELT ALL THE FEELS. 

🦕 The setting! THE BADLANDS (I think it was set in Nebraska, but don't hold me to that)! I was so transported into the story and was able to vividly picture the sprawling, beautiful landscape complete with hidden fossils beneath the surface, starlit skies...and rattlesnakes. *shudders*

🦕 The characters! I adored the characters! Samuel was a hopeless romantic, who was impulsive, passionate and an utter charmer. I appreciated the fact that he fell for Rachel's knowledge and intelligence and treated her like an equal. He was definitely a likable character, but I don't feel like I knew him as well as Rachel.Then there was Rachel, who was not known for her beauty but for her intelligent mind. Every Hidden Thing was set in the 1900s, when women were expected to marry and stay at home with the children. Rachel didn't want that. She wanted to go to university and unearth fossils and discover all she could about the universe. GO, RACHEL! She was constantly trying to prove herself, which she did. I loved how she asserted herself among the men she was working with. I liked (or perhaps that's too strong a word...I was entertained by them, certainly) the side characters too. The fathers were deplorable but also quite hilarious, at times. 

🦕 The writing! I really liked the writing. There was something incredibly immersive about it, and the sentences flowed into one another. To me, there's nothing worse than awkward, stilted writing, so I really appreciated the fluidity of the prose and dialogue in Every Hidden Thing. ALSO, this book was told from dual perspectives. Rachel and Samuel each had such distinct voices and thought so differently, that it was easy to distinguish between the two narratives. I applaud the author on that - I've read too many books where the characters sound exactly the same!

🦕 The romance! Although it was kind of awkward and cringe at times, I thought Samuel and Rachel suited each other. They treated one another as equals and both geeked out about fossils. It was kinda cute. And even though Samuel fell head-over-heels in love with Rachel upon meeting her, it took her some time. In fact, when Samuel professed his love for, Rachel said this iconic sentence:

"It's too soon. You don't know me well enough." 
I really liked them together. He was zealous and wore his heart on our sleeve. Rachel was calm and reserved. They were the epitome of opposites attracting and working well together.

🦕 The romance! It's not so much as not liking the romance, but more about the awkward romantic scenes that were in the book. The romance itself isn't perfectly written, as there's hectic insta-love. Generally I HATE insta-love but for some reason, it worked. Samuel pretty much falls in love with Rachel the first time he meets her, which would generally have me severely rolling my eyes, BUT...they spend around half of the book getting to know one another more. So, it's not like they start dating and professing their love immediately. However, towards the middle/end it does get a little bit cheesy and unrealistic but small matters, small matters. 

There were also some very awkwardly phrased sentences in this book that were used to describe some very awkward "romantic" scenes. The way they were expressed kind of had me looking at the book like, "Who, exactly, thought that was a good idea?". 

Image result for confused black guy gif

Every Hidden Thing was a ferociously good read. Star-crossed lovers on the hunt for fossils that will revolutionise the world, family feuds, determined and brilliant heroines and immersive writing made Every Hidden Thing a unique story that captivated me. 🦖

I give it: 4/5 cupcakes
"Well, you're beautiful to me, and there's nothing I'd rather do than look at you."
"You'd get bored very quickly."
I laughed. "You're supposed to say 'And there's nothing I'd rather do than look at you.'"
She let out a quick, exasperated breath. "It would be a lie. When the world has so many interesting things to look at."
"I  hoped to quiet my mind, have a few minutes without her. Foolish. Every word led me back to her."
Dear. My dear Rachel, I'm sorry I called you plain. You aren't.Head. I sometimes think your head is firmly, resolutely above your heart.Order. Something I cannot do with my mind at the moment. Her. A pronoun I use all the time now
There was a sex scene.