I’m so excited to be a part of the book tour for Everything Within and In Between that is hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I was really excited to also be able to interview the author for this book!
Welcome Nikki! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off
by introducing yourself?
Thanks so much for having me! My name is Nikki Barthelmess, and I’m an author of young adult books. (In addition to Everything Within and In Between, my books include The Quiet You Carry and Quiet No More.) I like reading, writing, jogging, and hanging out at the beach. I live in Santa Barbara, a coastal town in Southern California, with my family that includes our diva of a corgi named Corgus.
How would you describe Everything Within and In Between in one sentence?
Everything Within and In Between is about Ri Fernández, who is trying to learn Spanish to reconnect with her absent mom and connect with her heritage while keeping it secret from her strict Mexican grandma who has kept her from both.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Everything Within and In
Ri is a 17-year-old high school junior who loves jogging, going to the beach, and writing in her journal (all things we have in common, I now realize!). She dreams about traveling the world and learning about other people and their stories as a journalist. (I’m a former journalist; I’m starting to see a pattern here!)
Carmen is Ri’s abuela, who left Mexico as a young adult with her husband, Ri’s grandpa,
who died when Ri was young. Carmen is a very hard worker who has big dreams for her
granddaughter to grow up to have the “American Dream” she never got to have.
Brittany is Ri’s best friend, also a 17-year-old high school junior. Brittany leans on Ri heavily in a lot of ways to help ease her loneliness because her parents don’t spend much time with her. Brittany also feels her mom doesn’t understand her. Like Ri, Brittany loves jogging and is also a fan of going to the beach, but mostly so she can check out her crush while he’s surfing.
What representation will readers find in Everything Within and In Between?
Everything Within and In Between has Latinx and biracial representation. Like Ri, I have
mixed heritage (my mom’s side of the family is Mexican and my dad’s is Jewish). I’m
hesitant to say it has LGBTQ rep because although I do have a bisexual character (as well as her girlfriend), I don’t identify that way and don’t want to claim any of that space that should go to LGBTQ authors.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your
characters decide their journey?
I generally have a good idea of how my books will end, but how they get there and the
specifics of what that looks like often changes based on the journeys the characters take me on!
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
I do have a favorite scene—the last one— but I don’t want to say any spoilers so you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is!
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Everything
Within and In Between?
Everything Within and In Between has been compared to I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez as well as Color Me In by Natasha Díaz. I loved those books, so I’m flattered. I would recommend reading both. In addition, I recommend reading Mexican White Boy by Matt De La Peña because this book is about a half Mexican character who struggles with where he fits in because of his mixed heritage.
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nikki Barthelmess is an author of young adult books, including The Quiet You Carry, Quiet No More, and Everything Within and In Between. While growing up in foster care, Nikki found solace in books and writing. A former journalist, Nikki lives in sunny Santa Barbara with her husband, daughter, and a diva of a corgi. When not reading or working on her books, Nikki loves advocating for the rights of current and former foster youth, jogging near the beach, and trying to convince her abuelita that feminism means it’s okay that her husband does all the cooking.