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Everything Within and In Between

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Color Me In in Everything Within and In Between where Ri Fernández struggles to reclaim a heritage and a mother from her strict grandmother who has kept Ri away from both. 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 I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Color Me In in Everything Within and In Between where Ri Fernández struggles to reclaim a heritage and a mother from her strict grandmother who has kept Ri away from both. 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. Everything Within and In Between is a new deeply honest story about the bonds between families and defining who you are for yourself from acclaimed author Nikki Barthelmess.


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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Color Me In in Everything Within and In Between where Ri Fernández struggles to reclaim a heritage and a mother from her strict grandmother who has kept Ri away from both. 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 I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Color Me In in Everything Within and In Between where Ri Fernández struggles to reclaim a heritage and a mother from her strict grandmother who has kept Ri away from both. 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. Everything Within and In Between is a new deeply honest story about the bonds between families and defining who you are for yourself from acclaimed author Nikki Barthelmess.

30 review for Everything Within and In Between

  1. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Everything Within and In Between begins with a letter. It begins with a search for answers, with questions that you can never put to rest. But what it kicks off is a gripping and difficult journey to examine ourselves and our family. To take a look at the microaggressions we've been victim to while also examining our own actions and prejudices. That because Ri is white passing, he (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Everything Within and In Between begins with a letter. It begins with a search for answers, with questions that you can never put to rest. But what it kicks off is a gripping and difficult journey to examine ourselves and our family. To take a look at the microaggressions we've been victim to while also examining our own actions and prejudices. That because Ri is white passing, her life is different than her classmates and her family. And while this has caused her to feel disconnected from her culture, it's equally important to look at why. Ri's struggles with her identity, as well as how she has to realize that assimilation meant survival, is a coping mechanism in some ways, was so emotional. Everything Within and In Between is nuanced. It examines both the positives and consequences. The ones even we might not be aware of in our lives. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    An emotional and honest coming-of-age contemporary filled with heart. Everything Within and In Between is an introspective story of a biracial teen's journey to reclaim and reconnect with her Latinx heritage after being told to squash it her whole life. It's about absent parents and toll they take. It's about friendships old, new, healthy and toxic. It's about so much of what comes with becoming a teen, e.g. academic expectations, crushes and discovering you limits, beliefs and sense of self. It An emotional and honest coming-of-age contemporary filled with heart. Everything Within and In Between is an introspective story of a biracial teen's journey to reclaim and reconnect with her Latinx heritage after being told to squash it her whole life. It's about absent parents and toll they take. It's about friendships old, new, healthy and toxic. It's about so much of what comes with becoming a teen, e.g. academic expectations, crushes and discovering you limits, beliefs and sense of self. It's about privilege, prejudice and racism. It's about realising the people you've surrounded yourself with might not be the kind of people you once thought they were. It's about all that and so much more. The cast of characters were superb, the relationships brilliantly explored and the story heartfelt, thoughtful, poignant. I loved it. I would also 10/10 recommend the audiobook, as Frankie Corzo's narration was (as always) superb. TW: racism, microagressions, substance abuse, sexual harassment, absent parent

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin Pradeep

    ATTENTION ALL READERS: This book follows a girl, Ri Fernández, who struggles to reclaim a heritage and a mother from her strict grandmother who has kept Ri away from both... WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS??? look at the cover!!!! the blurb!!!! the pretty girl which is making me bi-panic!!!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline Firkins

    A thoughtful, introspective look at the life of a biracial teen, struggling to reclaim her heritage and form her identity amid conflicting messages about race, skin colour, education, family, language, friendships, and addiction. As in her other works, Barthelmess strikes a balance between telling a personal coming of age story full of shifting friendships and romances, while also painting a bigger picture of heritage and community. I find her heroines relatable, and her scenes unfold with a str A thoughtful, introspective look at the life of a biracial teen, struggling to reclaim her heritage and form her identity amid conflicting messages about race, skin colour, education, family, language, friendships, and addiction. As in her other works, Barthelmess strikes a balance between telling a personal coming of age story full of shifting friendships and romances, while also painting a bigger picture of heritage and community. I find her heroines relatable, and her scenes unfold with a strong sense of naturalism that makes her worlds and characters feel real. Barthelmess also tackles racism from multiple perspectives, depicting the ways micro-aggressions, colourism, and negative stereotypes deeply affect lives, and how even the best-intentioned allies sometimes fall short of being helpful. In fact, they can be the most harmful of all. Recommended for those seeking a layered portrait of a young woman sifting through her past, deciding which pieces to use to shape her future.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    And the prize for the most flawed narrator of the year goes to: Ri Fernández. A strange way to start a review, I know, but I spent a fair bit of Nikki Barthelmess's Everything Within and In Between actively disliking the main character and despairing over her constant lies, tendency to jump to conclusions and refusal to communicate with those closest to her. I wasn't sure where the story was going for much of the book when suddenly, Barthelmess wraps it all together to deliver a solid ending. Ri And the prize for the most flawed narrator of the year goes to: Ri Fernández. A strange way to start a review, I know, but I spent a fair bit of Nikki Barthelmess's Everything Within and In Between actively disliking the main character and despairing over her constant lies, tendency to jump to conclusions and refusal to communicate with those closest to her. I wasn't sure where the story was going for much of the book when suddenly, Barthelmess wraps it all together to deliver a solid ending. Ri Fernández's grandmother wants her to live the American dream, to succeed in the world and enjoy the privilege that passing for white can bring her. The only problem is that Ri is desperate to reclaim her Mexican heritage and to rekindle her relationship with the mother who abandoned her. When Ri begins taking Spanish classes at school, it sets her on course for a collision with her grandmother but also opens her eyes to the micro-aggressions and outright racism encountered by her Mexican friends and family. Will Ri be able to navigate her messy relationships and feelings without losing everybody she loves? This is a difficult novel to rate because I didn't enjoy it for the first three-quarters of the book and, as mentioned above, I did not like the protagonist. I was also confused by the timing in the story and couldn't quite understand - apart from the author telling us that it was happening - why situations with Ri's sudden love interest and best friend were escalating as quickly as they were. The situation seemed to go from zero to stratospheric in three days. I also have specific concerns with the depiction of substance abuse in the novel, including cocaine. This is based entirely on my experience with teen addiction but I prefer substance-abuse themes in YA novels to be more cautionary. I did appreciate that Ri came to realise the dangers of her actions based on her predisposition towards addiction. Nevertheless, something kept me going to the end and I'm glad I finished. I enjoyed how the various storylines were resolved and especially appreciated the character development of Ri and her best friend. With trigger warnings for racism, prejudice, micro-aggressions, on-page drug abuse, alcoholism and parental abandonment, I give Everything Within and In Between an okay three out of five stars. As an adult, I enjoyed the outcome of the story but I'd recommend that parents and teachers engage in deeper discussions on the substance abuse present in the book. Everything Within and In Between has been released to coincide with National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. I received an electronic copy of this novel for the purposes of this review. I will always provide an honest review, whether books are provided to me or purchased by me. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Barthelmess

    I wrote Everything Within and In Between thinking of and feeling many of the emotions I felt growing up biracial being raised by my first-generation Mexican American mom and my immigrant grandma. No adult made a greater positive impact in my life than my abuelita, and in many ways this book is a love letter to her and all of the hard work and sacrifices she made after moving to the US. This story also includes much of the confusion I felt at trying to find my place in the world as someone white I wrote Everything Within and In Between thinking of and feeling many of the emotions I felt growing up biracial being raised by my first-generation Mexican American mom and my immigrant grandma. No adult made a greater positive impact in my life than my abuelita, and in many ways this book is a love letter to her and all of the hard work and sacrifices she made after moving to the US. This story also includes much of the confusion I felt at trying to find my place in the world as someone white passing in a family that wanted to assimilate. This book has so much of my heart in it, and I can't wait to share it with readers!

  7. 4 out of 5

    sabslibrary

    This was an emotional coming-of-age story. This book dives into Ri’s struggles in terms of her heritage, mother, and grandma. I was invested in her story and growth because it’s one that is relatable to children with immigrant parents/families. Despite the interest I had in the story itself I found the writing to be kind of cringe-y at times. Some of the inner monologues and conversations seemed forced and unfitting for older teens. I also felt like the ending was somewhat rushed; after all the This was an emotional coming-of-age story. This book dives into Ri’s struggles in terms of her heritage, mother, and grandma. I was invested in her story and growth because it’s one that is relatable to children with immigrant parents/families. Despite the interest I had in the story itself I found the writing to be kind of cringe-y at times. Some of the inner monologues and conversations seemed forced and unfitting for older teens. I also felt like the ending was somewhat rushed; after all the buildup everything seemed to end so quickly. (3.5/5)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Madison

    Everything Within and In Between is a novel about finding your identity and challenging racism. While the concept is great and there are some powerful moments, but I found the pacing to be slightly off and the character growth unsatisfying. Ri Fernandez is white passing. It’s how her grandparents raised her, determined to fulfil their American Dream after emigrating from Mexico. But when she discovers that her grandmother has been lying about her mother and has been keeping them separated, Ri de Everything Within and In Between is a novel about finding your identity and challenging racism. While the concept is great and there are some powerful moments, but I found the pacing to be slightly off and the character growth unsatisfying. Ri Fernandez is white passing. It’s how her grandparents raised her, determined to fulfil their American Dream after emigrating from Mexico. But when she discovers that her grandmother has been lying about her mother and has been keeping them separated, Ri decides it’s time to take control of her story. She joins Spanish class, determined to learn her mother’s language and becomes aware of how she has separated herself from the Mexican community and other Latinx kids at school. Her change of heart causes conflict between Ri and her best friend Brittany, as well as rising tension between Ri and her grandmother. As Ri tests the boundaries of her world she tries to discover who she really is. The main reason I didn’t enjoy this story was our main character Maria or Ri, as she goes by. We spend most of the book bouncing around with her emotions and (bad) choices. Ri has to be the very worst friend I have every witnessed. She takes advantage of Brittany, drive me here, pick me up, go with me, talk about my needs, but doesn’t listen in return, just constantly judges her, belittles the drama Brittany has at home, only wants to talk about her crush and just makes fun of Brittany’s crush, yells, snarks, snaps and is generally rude. Instead of having a conversation with her she just gets angry and abandons her at a party she didn’t even want to go to. Mean. And then, if that’s not bad enough, constantly goes on about how terrible Brittany is to her. She deliberately rolls her eyes at her to another person and doesn’t even care if she sees - wants her to see. I’m sorry, but that’s not friendship. Sure, call her on racism, teach, be kind and explain. Don’t be rude. But no. We also don’t see Ri’s coming to understand that she has been doing the same thing, saying racist things, as this happens before the start of the book and now Ri is all judgey for all the things she’s been doing all along. Ri’s old friends are very quick to forgive her, but when Brittany asks Ri to forgive her, Ri is just rude in response. There is also the matter of the drug use. I can see how it’s meant to bring Ri’s character growth full circle once she connects with her mother, but it comes out of nowhere and once again Ri comes across as making stupid decisions, trying cocaine just because Brittany doesn’t like it and Ri wants to just have fun. Thankfully the book shows the darker side of addiction later on and Ri comes to an awakening to the danger of her choice. I did love the idea and the heart behind the story - wanting to belong, feeling like an outsider, forced away from heritage and culture. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own. Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    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 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!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    Her feet pound the pavement, her arms pump in a steady rhythm, and her heart races along with the beat of the music flowing through her earbuds. The wind whips around her, people watch as she passes, but she pays nobody any mind as she’s in her own world. Running helps calm her mind and spirit while the rest of the world turns in complete chaos. Her feet switch from solid ground to the uneven flow of the sand. She slows to a stop and removes her headphones, so the music can be replaced by the st Her feet pound the pavement, her arms pump in a steady rhythm, and her heart races along with the beat of the music flowing through her earbuds. The wind whips around her, people watch as she passes, but she pays nobody any mind as she’s in her own world. Running helps calm her mind and spirit while the rest of the world turns in complete chaos. Her feet switch from solid ground to the uneven flow of the sand. She slows to a stop and removes her headphones, so the music can be replaced by the steady rush of the ocean waves. Here she is grounded. Here she is calm. Everything Within and In Between was so much more than your average YA filled with all the teen drama. Sure, there was teen drama and it will transport you to those reckless high school days, but it also grappled with a young teenaged girl’s struggle with fitting in and knowing the depth of her heritage and culture. I enjoyed traveling this journey with Maria, who goes by Ri. Growing up with light skin she was held back from her true heritage and thrown into a white-washed world to be “safer” but that’s not who she is and she knows it. This book was so beautifully written as she learned to embrace the culture and heritage that makes her who she is, despite the broken past she comes from. I highly recommend picking this one up! TW: Racism/Racist Comments, Micro-aggressions, Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse, Underage Drinking, Abandonment, Sexual Harassment, Cheating. *I received a gifted copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)

    What an absolutely adorable and relatable contemporary young adult book! Ri is quite the character and I'm so happy to have gotten to know her. She's half Mexican and half White... and as a White passing girl, her grandmother wants her to tap into that so that she can be more successful and go through "less pain" and doesn't understand why Ri wants to tap into her Mexican side more. This story cuts deep. The author takes us on a journey discovering stereotypes, microaggressions, heritage and oh What an absolutely adorable and relatable contemporary young adult book! Ri is quite the character and I'm so happy to have gotten to know her. She's half Mexican and half White... and as a White passing girl, her grandmother wants her to tap into that so that she can be more successful and go through "less pain" and doesn't understand why Ri wants to tap into her Mexican side more. This story cuts deep. The author takes us on a journey discovering stereotypes, microaggressions, heritage and oh so much more. Not only from the prospective of strangers being assholes but how even friends and family have their own racism and colorism within that can be even more harmful than helpful - no matter if it stems from somewhere they think is good. Oh how I feel this so much. And it also shows in how Ri acts towards her own friends, especially her best one. It's so easy to take aggression out on those closest to you but wow some of the scenes in how she treats Brittany are so annoying. While I didn't love everything about this book, I absolutely appreciate the way the author shows the struggle within a biracial girl who is being pulled in too many directions. I had to remind myself at times that Ri is a teenager and as such is prone to make the mistakes and bad decisions as she did... and that I wasn't going to like everything about it. Haha. Ah Ri - I am happy with how it ended and wish nothing but the best for her.

  12. 5 out of 5

    caro(lee)na

    Everything Within and In Between is about a second generation Mexican-American girl who is struggling to find more about her roots because her grandmother, whom she lives with, wants them to be more “American”. This is a contemporary novel and I had high hopes because I have a hard time finding Latinx books with good representation, but this book met them. It follows María, or Ri, who’s in high school and wants to take Spanish class because her family never taught her and wanted to feel closer to Everything Within and In Between is about a second generation Mexican-American girl who is struggling to find more about her roots because her grandmother, whom she lives with, wants them to be more “American”. This is a contemporary novel and I had high hopes because I have a hard time finding Latinx books with good representation, but this book met them. It follows María, or Ri, who’s in high school and wants to take Spanish class because her family never taught her and wanted to feel closer to her roots, and her grandma wasn’t happy about it. At the same time, she’s trying to reach her mother, who left when she was a child. Ri was a lovable character in my opinion, and the whole cast of characters were well thought out and written and I really enjoyed the Latinx representation. It has found family, which is a trope I love in books, and the friendships Ri formed in Spanish with people of her culture I found really special. My favorite character relationship was between Ri and Nina, who were childhood friends and reconnected because of that class. It was really interesting to see how much they actually needed each other the whole time and became friends in the end again. I think this was a great read for Latinx Heritage Month. I recommend it. I think people who enjoy heart felt contemporaries and books about connecting with your heritage will probably like it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    smalltownbookmom

    3.5 rounded up I obviously wasn't the intended audience for this YA coming of age story featuring Ri, a Mexican American teen who has grown up in a household that focused on her lighter skin, denying her latinx roots but I still really enjoyed it. Raised by her strict grandmoter, in the absence of her alcoholic mother, Ri goes tries to learn more about her culture, including taking a Spanish class and tracking down her mother. Along the way she learns more about her grandmother's experience with r 3.5 rounded up I obviously wasn't the intended audience for this YA coming of age story featuring Ri, a Mexican American teen who has grown up in a household that focused on her lighter skin, denying her latinx roots but I still really enjoyed it. Raised by her strict grandmoter, in the absence of her alcoholic mother, Ri goes tries to learn more about her culture, including taking a Spanish class and tracking down her mother. Along the way she learns more about her grandmother's experience with racism and why she pushed Ri to assimilate into mainstream society. I enjoyed the family dynamics and friend relationships in this book. Ri has to negotiate how to embrace who she really is and what that means for her old friends and the group of Latinx teens she starts hanging out with. Recommended for fans of I am not your perfect Mexican American daughter. CW: drug use, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, internalized racism

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Dobson

    I think this is the author’s best book yet! A wonderful and emotional story at the intersection of culture, language, and typical teenage issues. I laughed, I cried, and I couldn’t put it down!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Terry Jennings

    Ri passes for white. It’s not a conscious decision that she made. It’s just that she is. White. Whiter than the other Latinx kids in her school. And even if it was a conscious decision, she didn’t make it. Her grandmother did. Her Mexican grandmother who wants nothing to do with her own heritage and wants to steer Ri from all things Mexican. The story unspools slowly. The question as to why Ri’s mother is not a part of her life. The question as to why Ri doesn’t have any Mexican friends any more Ri passes for white. It’s not a conscious decision that she made. It’s just that she is. White. Whiter than the other Latinx kids in her school. And even if it was a conscious decision, she didn’t make it. Her grandmother did. Her Mexican grandmother who wants nothing to do with her own heritage and wants to steer Ri from all things Mexican. The story unspools slowly. The question as to why Ri’s mother is not a part of her life. The question as to why Ri doesn’t have any Mexican friends any more. Why does Abuela insist that she go to Yale or Harvard, when all she wants to do is attend the local college and become a writer? And why does Ri feel so out of place everywhere? Everything Within and in Between is a story of identity, lost and reclaimed. And Nikki Barthelmess does it beautifully.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Selena

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately, so it was nice to get completely captivated by a book again. This is the story of Ri Fernández, a biracial Mexican-American teenager who struggles with her cultural identity and with her family. Her mother left her when she was young, and the only family member she has left is her strict grandmother who wants them to assimilate, so she kept her from exploring more about her culture and didn’t even let her learn Spanish. She decides to take Spanish II I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately, so it was nice to get completely captivated by a book again. This is the story of Ri Fernández, a biracial Mexican-American teenager who struggles with her cultural identity and with her family. Her mother left her when she was young, and the only family member she has left is her strict grandmother who wants them to assimilate, so she kept her from exploring more about her culture and didn’t even let her learn Spanish. She decides to take Spanish II so she could learn, despite how her grandma feels about it. When she has the chance to reconnect with her mother, she takes it, hoping that it will help her as she is on the journey of figuring out who she is, and she also hopes that her mother accepts her for who she is. But there is so much more to her family history than she thought. Overall, I really did enjoy this book. A lot of Ri’s story was very relatable. I’m not white-passing like she is, and I wasn’t completely kept away from my culture, but being born and raised in America meant that my experiences were different from those of my parents and other members of my family. I know what it’s like to not feel Latine enough and not as connected with your culture. My Spanish isn’t perfect either. I’ve felt the embarrassment of messing up in Spanish class, which is something that a lot of people would assume should come easy to me, like how they assumed with Ri. I also know how it feels to have trouble focusing on the mistakes your family makes because you know how hard they work to give you a better life. There’s the pressure to make them proud, especially when you’re reminded how everything they do is for your future. Then, they tell you how this is why you have to get a good education and a good job. The expectations can be a lot. There were also a lot of times where I wanted to yell at her because of the choices she was making. I know, she’s a teenager, and they make mistakes. She could still be frustrating at times. But I’m glad she later acknowledged her mistakes. The talks about colorism in the Latine community were something that was needed. It’s something that should be discussed more, and it can be hard for a lot of Latines to admit that it exists. There are issues in our community, and colorism is one of them. Ri is white-passing, so she didn’t realize this problem existed. I’m glad that she acknowledged the privilege that she had. People are going to treat her differently compared to how they treat her grandmother. It’s something that she needed to be aware of. Brittany’s behavior wasn’t excused, which was good because there were a lot of micro aggressions. She did care about Ri, and she didn’t seem to realize her behavior was problematic, but that doesn’t make it okay. She needed to recognize her mistakes and change. Words aren’t enough; action is needed. It would’ve been nice to see more of that change happening, especially since this was a breakthrough for their friendship, but I understand that the author wanted to wrap things up. Then, there was the romance sub-plot. Was it completely necessary to her arc? Not really. But I’m a romantic, so I still thought it was cute. What really shined here were the friendships and family relationships. I really liked that Nina and Ri talked about what happened in the past. Ri messed up; there is no excusing that. Nina doesn’t lie and say it never hurt. Like how Brittany’s behavior wasn’t excused, I’m glad that Ri’s wasn’t either and that she acknowledged that she needs to do better. Everything that happened with her mother was heartbreaking. The conversation she had with her grandmother after everything that happened with her mother had me tearing up. She finally told Ri more of their family’s past. I know how much it hurts to hear about the struggles your family has gone through and how it eventually all lead to where you are now. It was a difficult conversation, but it was one that they needed to have. That being said, the letter that was included at the end was a nice way to end it. She misses and loves her mother, but she knows that she needs to change. She’s determined to persevere, whether she’s in her life or not. Overall, I give this book 4.5 stars. CW: parental abandonment, sexual harassment, abusive relationship, alcoholism, drug use, micro aggressions, colorism, racism, teen pregnancy, mentions of sex

  17. 4 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: casual racism, toxic family, child abandonment, drug use (cocaine), alcoholism, abusive relationship (implied), sexual advances on a minor 3.8 Ri isn't like the other people in her neighborhood- thanks to her grandparents' insistence that she be "American", she has never been allowed to connect to her Mexican heritage. Her whole life she's been encouraged not to associate with other people of Mexican descent, and to use her white passing privilege to deny th I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: casual racism, toxic family, child abandonment, drug use (cocaine), alcoholism, abusive relationship (implied), sexual advances on a minor 3.8 Ri isn't like the other people in her neighborhood- thanks to her grandparents' insistence that she be "American", she has never been allowed to connect to her Mexican heritage. Her whole life she's been encouraged not to associate with other people of Mexican descent, and to use her white passing privilege to deny that she's Mexican at all. But after Ri finds a later from the mother she barely remembers, a letter proving that she actually wanted to be a part of her life, she's determined to break away from the smothering prejudices of her grandmother. Switching into a Spanish class and actually connecting with her mother are everything she could have wanted. But why do things suddenly feel so much more complicated? This is a really interesting story about assimilation and identity, which I think are both really important to hear about right now, and always. Assimilation is something that happens to marginalized groups all the time, due to colonization or due to family member's experiences with racism. It's an important topic, and I think it's dealt with really well in this book. I also think the look at colorism as a whole is a great thing to have in this story, and a look at privilege- for the rich and White, and for the white passing Mexican girl in comparison to the darker skin people around her. It's a well written and well paced book as well. There's enough going on that it never really feels slow. The layers happening in this book, as Ri questions her own complacency in racism, her best friend's actions, and the discrepancies in the stories these two different parts of her family are telling her, are enough to keep you really invested and feeling involved in what Ri is going through. And not only does the storyline have layers and depth, but so do these characters. Ri is going through a lot and you get a chance to see some different versions of her, as well as get different glimpses of both her grandmother and her mother, but even Brittany gets to be more than just a surface level stereotype of the White friend, which I appreciate. And, finally, I though the letter included in the back was the perfect way to end this story. It keeps with the intimate feeling of being with Ri, and it feels like a poetic match to the first letter. But there are some definite problems I had with this book, personally. And, mostly, it's about a lack of lead up or a lack of results. There is a lot going on in this book, and it's mostly done well, but some of what happens feels like it's coming completely out of the blue, or the plot makes the way for it approximately two seconds before it appears, so it doesn't feel organic. There are places where I think catharsis could have come through, but didn't because they didn't feel earned. And then there's the romance subplot- which never feels organic to the story, in either leg of Ri's romantic arc. I don't understand why a romance had to be included. Another aspect that felt forced was the cocaine subplot. I can understand why this was in the story, but it just never felt integrated. It was not subtle and it didn't mesh with most of what else was going on. I wish it had been approached another way, instead of popping back into the story simply to have an after school special moment every now and again. This is an interesting, unique story with important topics, and I think a lot of people are really going to love it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for the e-arc in exchange for my honest review. Content Warning: Addiction, colorism, and racism. Everything Within and In Between follows Ri (Maria) Fernandez's teenage life. Ri is a white-passing Latinx who has been raised by her grandparents due to her mom not being around. Because Ri is white-passing that of course means that she has privileges that others around her do not, but she also lives with her grandma who is not white-passing and because of th Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for the e-arc in exchange for my honest review. Content Warning: Addiction, colorism, and racism. Everything Within and In Between follows Ri (Maria) Fernandez's teenage life. Ri is a white-passing Latinx who has been raised by her grandparents due to her mom not being around. Because Ri is white-passing that of course means that she has privileges that others around her do not, but she also lives with her grandma who is not white-passing and because of that she sees how Latinx are treated who aren't white-passing. Ri's best friend is a white girl named Brittany whose family is rich, and because of that Ri lost touch with the friends from her neighborhood and only hangs out with Brittany now. While this isn't a bad thing necessarily it is something that Ri realizes when she switches to Spanish class in school and reconnects with her old friends. This reconnect has her looking into her life and trying to figure out who she really is and why her mom left all those years ago for her to be raised by her grandparents. Ri is also dealing with high expectations from her grandma who wants the best for her, but also wants her to do better and go to a fancy school, and get a really good paying job. All of this ends up piling up on her and she ends up making some rash decisions. While some of them weren't the best they did end up with her finding out the truth about everything. Overall I really enjoyed reading this book. Ri was a character that I think so many people will be able to connect with. Ri is a teenager who wants to start doing what she wants to and not just what her grandma or her best friend Brittany wants her to do. Because of that, she starts hanging out with her old/new friends again in Spanish class and because of that she goes to parties, and finds a way to get in contact with her mom. While both of these things lead to her learning things about herself, she also learns things about her mom, things that her grandma had kept hidden from her. These things make her grandma finally tell her everything and actually start listening to her for a change, and while the conversations aren't always the nicest or the easiest they are needed. They also show through the love of someone who is caring for a child and only wants the best for them, the love that wants them to have more and to have a better chance at life. While Ri starts to see that because of actually seeing someone treat her grandma differently, she also realizes fully the privileges that she has because she is white-passing, and its the privilege that her grandma has been trying to convince her to use in order to have a better life than they have had and been able to make for her. While they both still have a ways to go by the end of the book, they do see each other's point of view and start actually talking about things for a change. I highly recommend this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    Maria, Ri, lives with her grandmother. Study hard, get into Yale or something, and live a better life than they did. She is also white passing and her grandmother thinks this is another great thing that will help her in life. They never spoke Spanish around her either and Ri knows nothing about her Mexican roots. Ri did have this blind faith to her at times. Sure her grandmother was hard, but she genuinely wanted a better life for her grandkid. Not having to work from dusk to dawn, not having peo Maria, Ri, lives with her grandmother. Study hard, get into Yale or something, and live a better life than they did. She is also white passing and her grandmother thinks this is another great thing that will help her in life. They never spoke Spanish around her either and Ri knows nothing about her Mexican roots. Ri did have this blind faith to her at times. Sure her grandmother was hard, but she genuinely wanted a better life for her grandkid. Not having to work from dusk to dawn, not having people look at you like you might snatch their purse. But she also neglects that Ri might want other things and go make her own choices. Which brings us to her choices. People tell her that this one guy might not want what she wants. But she thinks they are idiots. Sure, you are a teen, and sometimes they think with their lower parts. Then she tries something, and does not understand why her friends thinks that is a bad idea. I can't say I liked how she made everything into something else. Oh and last her mum, blind faith in the mom she has not seen for dunno, 12 years? If your mum loved you she would have come back, maybe listen to bitchy grandma for once. So a bit too many bad choices, I can take some, but I had to agree with grandma, and dang that made me feel old. Can't blame it all on being a teen, I would not have tried cocaine is all I am saying. But it is a journey book, you have to make some damn stupid mistakes to see what truly matters, good friends, family and love. It also deals with some hard subjects when she is trying to find out who she is. Good narration. This was my first time listening to this narrator, and I would listen to her again. She did a great job with different voices and had the right feel of things

  20. 4 out of 5

    TheNextGenLibrarian

    A coming-of-age YA book about a girl struggling with her heritage, family and future. 🌊 Maria “Ri” Fernandez is half Latina living with her Mexican grandmother, who refuses to let her speak Spanish or acknowledge anything from that part of Ri’s culture, but when Ri switches from French to Spanish class she begins exploring her roots. At the same time Ri also finds a letter from her estranged mother and contacts her without telling her grandma. Ri also finds herself pulling away from her white BFF A coming-of-age YA book about a girl struggling with her heritage, family and future. 🌊 Maria “Ri” Fernandez is half Latina living with her Mexican grandmother, who refuses to let her speak Spanish or acknowledge anything from that part of Ri’s culture, but when Ri switches from French to Spanish class she begins exploring her roots. At the same time Ri also finds a letter from her estranged mother and contacts her without telling her grandma. Ri also finds herself pulling away from her white BFF Brittany and spending more time with kids from Spanish class. She feels like she’s being pulled in two different directions: which Ri is the right one? 📸 I was obsessed with this novel from the beginning and hate that life got in the way of me devouring it in one day. I knew so many Latinx kids like Ri growing up in south central TX; kids who tried for white-passing or didn’t really discuss their Latin heritage. This story is absolutely for anyone who struggles with owning who you are and where you come from. My heart broke for Ri going through this journey of self-discovery, as well as her difficult relationship with her grandma and mother. This book is going to change lives. Add it to your library now! CW: racism, microaggressions, alcoholism, drug use, teen pregnancy, child abandonment, sexual harassment *I received a copy of this from @wunderbookspr in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    Everything Within and In Between by Nikki Barthelmess Published October 5, 2021 <3 GREAT READ 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 pulled Ri away from the community where they once belonged. In its place, Ri has grown up trying to fit in among her best friend's world of mansions and country clubs in an attempt try to live out her grand Everything Within and In Between by Nikki Barthelmess Published October 5, 2021 <3 GREAT READ 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 pulled Ri away from the community where they once belonged. In its place, Ri has grown up trying to fit in among her best friend's world of mansions and country clubs in an attempt try to live out her grandmother's version of the "American Dream." In her heart, Ri has always believed that her mother, who disappeared when Ri was young, would accept her exactly how she is and not try to turn her into someone she's never wanted to be. So when Ri finds a long-hidden letter from her mom begging for a visit, she decides to reclaim what Grandma kept from her: her heritage and her mom. But nothing goes as planned. Her mom isn't who Ri imagined she would be and finding her doesn't make Ri's struggle to navigate the interweaving threads of her mixed heritage any less complicated. Nobody has any idea of who Ri really is—not even Ri herself. Everything Within and In Between is a powerful new young adult novel about one young woman's journey to rediscover her roots and redefine herself from acclaimed author Nikki Barthelmess.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Caitie

    This is a wonderful story about family, changing friendships, and learning to accept yourself. Maria--Ri--Fernandez grew up with her very traditional grandmother. Ri's mother left when she was a little girl and Ri has always wanted to know her, but her grandmother has stated that she is bad news (which is kind of harsh to say about your own kid, but it turned out that Ri's grandma was right all along). When Ri stumbles upon a letter her mom wrote to her grandmother in Spanish--a language that Ri This is a wonderful story about family, changing friendships, and learning to accept yourself. Maria--Ri--Fernandez grew up with her very traditional grandmother. Ri's mother left when she was a little girl and Ri has always wanted to know her, but her grandmother has stated that she is bad news (which is kind of harsh to say about your own kid, but it turned out that Ri's grandma was right all along). When Ri stumbles upon a letter her mom wrote to her grandmother in Spanish--a language that Ri was never taught because her grandma wanted her to more "American." This sends Ri on a journey to find out more about her heritage in order to find herself. She takes Spanish at school, reconnects with old friends, and learns that her supposed "best friend," is essentially racist towards Hispanic people (Ri is actually biracial--white/Hispanic, which is another important aspect of this book). I should add, this book takes place in California, where Hispanic people make up a majority of the population. I really recommend this one for anyone who wants a coming of age story involving a girl discovering her heritage.

  23. 5 out of 5

    GivernyReads

    Rating 3.5 This book was an emotional coming of age book. The book was full of heavy topics, but it was still a page turner. The plot was really good. It is easy for children with immigrant parents/families to relate to this story. Barthelmess kept a balance between friendships, family and romance while still making Ri finding her heritage and community important. The middle did slow down a bit, but otherwise this book was fast-paced. The characters were hard to judge. I did get a lot of mixed fe Rating 3.5 This book was an emotional coming of age book. The book was full of heavy topics, but it was still a page turner. The plot was really good. It is easy for children with immigrant parents/families to relate to this story. Barthelmess kept a balance between friendships, family and romance while still making Ri finding her heritage and community important. The middle did slow down a bit, but otherwise this book was fast-paced. The characters were hard to judge. I did get a lot of mixed feelings from different characters throughout the book and it kind of made the book feel a bit like a detective book and not a coming of age. Ri did start off as an annoying MC, but she as the book went on, she grew onto me. Overall, I loved reading this book. It was a great coming of age about finding your identity. I loved the air of mystery this book had, making you want to read more. I would recommend to fans of Nicola Yoon and Angie Thomas. *I received this book in exchange for my honest review.*

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura Donovan

    I very much enjoyed this coming of age story about a young girl trying to understand her Latinx roots with a grandmother who is uninterested in helping her explore this, an absent mother whose abandonment has been a mystery her entire life, and a best friend whose obliviousness to racial microaggressions is beginning to reveal itself. Thank you Nikki Barthelmess for forcing readers to understand the harm they may have inflicted on others, intentionally or not, through subtle racist remarks that I very much enjoyed this coming of age story about a young girl trying to understand her Latinx roots with a grandmother who is uninterested in helping her explore this, an absent mother whose abandonment has been a mystery her entire life, and a best friend whose obliviousness to racial microaggressions is beginning to reveal itself. Thank you Nikki Barthelmess for forcing readers to understand the harm they may have inflicted on others, intentionally or not, through subtle racist remarks that slowly chip away at the people at which they're directed. This book tackles many important themes, and I'm impressed with the way Barthelmess was able to smoothly present it all for a young audience. I loved her first two books, THE QUIET YOU CARRY and QUIET NO MORE, which also tackle dark material, and she has succeeded again with this one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Celia

    Let me start by saying that this was an emotional coming-of-age story. The author has done an excellent job of balancing a personal coming-of-age narrative full of shifting friendships and loves with a larger picture of history and community. A contemplative, insightful look at the lives of a multiracial kid striving to regain her heritage and establish her identity in the face of conflicting messages regarding race, skin color, education, family, language, friendships, and addiction.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cleo

    - As a Latina in a very similar situation to Ri, this book felt very validating - I felt that plot points where a bit rushed (and exposition heavy) at first and there were a couple of lines I cringed at but it is meant for younger audiences so understandable - This book touches on dialogues that are important to have and that will resonate with first and second and so on generation Latinx young adults

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cece

    Thank you to HarperTeen for the advance readers copy. Find my blog tour post on Sunday www.sheafandink.com Everything Within and In Between genuinely takes a close look at racial microaggressions as well as cultural identity and how it shapes Ri’s relationships with her friends, family, and herself. Hopeful, heartfelt, and honest Barthelmess’ novel is an intriguing coming-of-age story. Thank you to HarperTeen for the advance readers copy. Find my blog tour post on Sunday www.sheafandink.com Everything Within and In Between genuinely takes a close look at racial microaggressions as well as cultural identity and how it shapes Ri’s relationships with her friends, family, and herself. Hopeful, heartfelt, and honest Barthelmess’ novel is an intriguing coming-of-age story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Trigger Warning Database

    Trigger & Content Warnings Racism Slut shaming Child abandonment Recreational drug use Alcohol consumption & abuse Alcoholism Teen pregnancy mentioned

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    It was okay. CW cocaine use underage drinking, sexual harassment

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sara Santana

    ***REVIEW ORIGINALLY POSTED ON WHAT A NERD GIRL SAYS IN 2021, BASED ON AN ARC, DID NOT HAVE AN EFFECT ON MY REVIEW** I’ll admit it – I stumbled upon this book by complete accident while browsing through Edelweiss, hoping that there would be an ARC available that would catch my eye. This cover stood out and also the recommendation that those who read and loved I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter would love this book as well. As someone who freaking loved that book, I was sold on that alone. I d ***REVIEW ORIGINALLY POSTED ON WHAT A NERD GIRL SAYS IN 2021, BASED ON AN ARC, DID NOT HAVE AN EFFECT ON MY REVIEW** I’ll admit it – I stumbled upon this book by complete accident while browsing through Edelweiss, hoping that there would be an ARC available that would catch my eye. This cover stood out and also the recommendation that those who read and loved I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter would love this book as well. As someone who freaking loved that book, I was sold on that alone. I downloaded the book and then proceeded to read it all in one sitting, staying up entirely too late when I wake up at 530 am for work. I was immediately hooked into the story because I immediately felt connected to Ri. Ri’s main focus in this novel is that she has this heritage of being half white and half Mexican, raised by a Mexican grandmother, and yet she feels this weird imbalance of relating to her culture and not really knowing where she fits. I am also half white and half Mexican and while I am closer to my Mexican family, I do feel that imposter syndrome quite often, especially since I, like Ri, do not speak Spanish and was never taught to speak Spanish. I really appreciated Ri’s journey and her struggle to figure out how to balance the friendship she has with Brittany, a white girl who is very privileged and sometimes very unaware of that privilege, and the friendships she’s building with Nina, Cassie, Edgar, who understand her in ways that Brittany doesn’t. I think Nikki really captures the struggle in finding your identity when you’re mixed race, especially if you’re white-passing, and I think she does an amazing job at the confusion that comes with trying to connect with a culture that you weren’t really brought up with. Nikki’s characters are so human and her book is full of so many emotions, good and bad and in between, and its easy to relate to the characters and the story, even if your story isn’t quite the same. Add in the setting of one of my favorite places to take a day trip – Santa Barbara – and I was absolutely in love with this book and will definitely be adding a physical copy come October when it releases!

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