Book Review of “Undertow”

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“Undertow” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Michael Buckley (http://michaelbuckleywrites.com). Mr. Buckley has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘PG-13’ as there are instances of violence. This Young Adult Science Fiction novel is set in contemporary Coney Island, in New York, USA. The main character is 16 year old Lyric Walker.

Three years before the story begins, several previously unknown races of aquatic humans, the Alpha, appeared on the shores of coney island. A large section of Brooklyn has been segregated to contain them. Finally an effort is started to integrate the Alpha and humans in the area schools. But there are many who oppose the effort and would like to see the Alpha driven back into the sea.

Walker happens to be a student at the High School where the integration is scheduled to occur. Her life is complicated by the fact that her mother is an Alpha who has been secretly living with humans for nearly 20 years. Walker and her family are afraid that they will be arrested, or simply disappear as other Alphas have, if the truth is discovered.

Walker is assigned to the Alpha crown prince, Fathom, who will be attending the High School. There is immediate tension between the Alpha students and the community. Walker’s assignment soon turns romantic which complicates things further. The tension explodes in violence and Walker and her family is caught in the middle.

I thought that the plot was a little different because of the aquatic men, though a little far fetched. Beyond that it is pretty much the same general YA heroine scenario I have read before. I spent about 6.5 hours with the story and it was enjoyable. While it did wrap up the immediate challenge to Walker, the door is left wide open to a sequel. I give this novel a 3.6 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com).

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