Review: Undertow by Michael Buckley

Posted April 29, 2015 by Lisa Mandina in / 6 Comments

First, thanks to Netgalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for approving me to read the egalley, then of course I was able to grab an ARC at the bookstore where I work, and so I ended up reading that.  I have to say I was hooked pretty quickly.  And while it had some similarities to other things, it also had a lot of new things that I really liked. 

The main character is Lyric.  She has grown up on Coney Island with her mom and dad.  Three years ago though, everything changed.  Strange, some terrifying, creatures came out of the sea and swarmed the beach.  They took over the beach, and those living in what is now called the Zone, were left with no beach to go to.  Hatred for these new creatures, called Alpha has caused many issues.  Families who were able to moved away.  Unfortunately Lyric’s family wasn’t able to.  Which she’s okay with because she gets to be there with her best friend Bex, not only with her, but she is able to be there for her, as Bex has an abusive stepfather.  Lyric’s dad is a cop.  Her mother is a very new agey type of person.  With a secret.  One that Lyric and her father must keep their heads down and do anything they can to protect, in order to not only save their own lives as well as her mother.  The book begins with a new law that makes the high school here starting the first program to try to let the Alpha children in for school.  As you can guess, the hatred of the new “people” causes many problems.  It starts out just like back when we first integrated blacks and whites into school together. The National Guard and other police there to make sure the new students were allowed in.  But there is the Governor who is there to fight it, in fact she vows to be there every day, and protest every day, and get arrested every day to make her point.  And she does as much as she can.  One of the new administrators for the school is named Mr. or Agent, don’t know for sure, Doyle.  He decides that he will use Lyric as a help for the Prince of the Alpha, Fathom.  She will meet with him one class period every day to help him assimilate, teach him to read, whatever it takes.  This is hard at first as Fathom is pretty violent, and takes almost everything literally.  Like all the other Alpha tend to do.  But eventually Lyric will get past this, and find him as more of a friend, and want to work with him. But she has to do it as secretly as possible, because she knows that if it is found out, the gang out there will cause problems for her and her family.  It even turns out that the Alphas may not be the people who live there’s only problem.  It seems there are other creatures that are out to attack and destroy the Alphas, and they will stop at nothing, including the humans around them.

This is going to have a 2nd books, thank goodness, because the ending leaves too much up in the air.  Of course the schooling experiment with the Alphas totally reminded me of the very short lived TV series, Star-Crossed, which was about aliens being assimilated into human high schools.  I really liked the tv show, was sad when it didn’t make it to another season.  I thought maybe by the title it was based on the book by Josephine Angelini, which I hadn’t read, but wondered, but no, not that either.  Other than how similar it was to that tv series, these were different creatures.  Not aliens, but creatures that had lived below the sea for who knows how long.  In fact, in one part one of the Alphas alludes to there actually being a Kraken alive deep in the ocean.  A great story, one that kept me turning the pages and hating any time I had to put it down.  Now to wait till 2016 for book 2!!

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6 responses to “Review: Undertow by Michael Buckley

  1. My daughter and I read Buckley's Sisters Grimm series and really enjoyed them so I was curious about this one. This sounds interesting and page turning though I may wait till the 2nd book before starting this one so I don't have to be in suspense too long.

    • I think this is the first of his I've read. But I really liked it. It's nice to wait when you can! I can't always do that when something sounds good. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Hi – I've seen this same book featured somewhere else recently. Glad you enjoyed it; not sure it would be for me. 🙂
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

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