Michael Buckley’s Undertow is YA scifi that asks who the real monsters are

Michael Buckley’s Undertow is YA scifi that asks who the real monsters are

Undertow is a book for fans of the movie District 9 and Rick Yancy’s The Fifth Wave.  The oppressed in Undertow are from the sea, and they have some rather terrifying traditions and mutations.  In the time honored method of ridding ourselves of things that are different, humans have segregated them and protested them and studied them in secret labs.  Like most science fiction, this book’s themes touch on the hot topics relevant to our current society – the treatment of illegal aliens and foreign refugees. While I found the pace to be  slooow, I think that many YA readers will still be interested, and it rated very highly among other reviewers. Undertow publishes on May 5, 2015.


Lyric’s family has been laying low since the Alpha, a race of water beings, invaded and encamped on the Jersey Shore three years ago.  The only way out of the zone is three forms of identification, something Lyric’s mother doesn’t have.  When the government decides to integrate Lyric’s school, tensions run high and Lyric finds herself in the middle of a war fueled by prejudice, fear, and hate.  While this book ultimately had a satisfactory ending, there were times when it felt like it would never resolve.  Most readers will accept the pacing as a necessary evil for developing a believable romantic relationship, but the plot did feel like a hamster wheel at times.  Lyric is a smart and spunky girl but she is forced to hide her personality.  She willingly sacrifices for those she loves, but it takes a toll on her.  Readers will connect with her, and share her frustration with her impossible choices.  Themes are relevant to current social issues, but are presented with too heavy a hand.  You are definitely not going to miss the point here.  I found the romantic interest creepy, so I didn’t buy it, but I’m old and have no sense of romance anymore, so.  Undertow reminded me of District 9, especially the despair I felt as humans begin to lose their humanity in the face of fear.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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