Everything Within and In Between by Nikki Barthelmess

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Everything Within and In Between

Author: Nikki Barthelmess

Book Series: Standalone

Diversity: Latinx side characters, ownvoice Mexican American Biracial MC, Bisexual side character, f/f romance shown once by side characters

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For…: Young adult readers, contemporary, ownvoice

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publication Date: October 5, 2021

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 336

Recommended Age: 15+ (Racism, Microaggressions, Underage alcohol consumption, Drug use, Colorism, Language, Religion, Purity culture, Slut shaming, Teen pregnancy mentioned, Sex mentioned)

Explanation of CWs: Racism, colorism, and microaggressions are central to the plot. Underage alcohol consumption shown. Drug use shown. Slight language. Mentions of religion throughout the book. One chapter mentions purity culture fairly heavily. Slut shaming is mentioned. Teen pregnancy is mentioned. Sex is mentioned mildly.

Synopsis: For Ri Fernández’s entire life, she’s been told, “We live in America and we speak English.” Raised by her strict Mexican grandma, Ri has never been allowed to learn Spanish. What’s more, her grandma has always pushed Ri away from the neighborhood they call home and toward her best friend’s world of mansions and country clubs in the hopes that it’ll bring Ri closer to achieving the “American Dream.”

In her most private thoughts, Ri has always believed that her mother, who disappeared when she was young, would accept her exactly how she is. So when Ri finds a secret unanswered letter from her mom begging for a visit, Ri decides to reclaim what her grandma kept from her: a language and a mother. But nothing goes as planned. Her mom isn’t who Ri imagined she would be. And Ri’s struggling to navigate the different interweaving threads of her mixed heritage that make her who she is. Nobody has any idea of who Ri really is—not even Ri, herself.

Review: I really loved this book. I thought it did well too show the struggles, that I can only imagine and that I have only heard about from friends and read about in books, Latinx families face when coming to America and feeling a need to assimilate more into the white culture. I loved how brutally honest this book was in showing that. I felt like the character development was amazingly well done and the world building was also wonderful. The plot was also intriguing from start to finish.

The only issue I had was that the pacing was a bit slow in the beginning but it picked up fast and overall I enjoyed this read immensely.

Verdict: Highly recommend!

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