May 6, 2015

ARC Review: Undertow (Undertow #1) by Michael Buckley

Publish Date: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: HMH Children's Book Group
Rating: 4.5 / 5

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.

Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga, a blend of District 9 and The Outsiders.

*I received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review*

First Thoughts

Yaaass! I loved absolutely everything about Undertow! The plot was quite unique and unlike anything I'd ever read before. The blurb describes the book as a blend of the movie District 9 and the book The Outsiders; but I say it's more District 9 mixed with the TV show Star-Crossed.

Undertow enthralled me. I could not put it down. The action and suspense kept me turning page after page and when it was all over, I considered emailing Michael Buckley or his publisher and politely demanding (j/k!) to have book two sent to me as immediately as possible.

What I Enjoyed

The world-building. Imagining the Alpha warriors taking over the beaches of Coney Island and creating a city of tents kind of scared me. I mean, seriously, the Alpha prince has sharp, knife-like objects coming out of his arms. It's a tad bit threatening. I could clearly envision the panic, chaos, and hate that filled the military zone and I think it was an accurate portrayal of how most humans would react if this book were to ever come true.

Fathom. Oh, yes, I grew to adore the Alpha prince-- stabby knives on arms and all. I enjoyed his moments with Lyric as she attempted to teach him to read. He cracked me up because he took everything so literal. My favorite moment was when they read Where the Wild Things Are and Fathom seemed quite perturbed by it, even after Lyric explained the island of monsters wasn't actually real.

The Alpha history. This was the most interesting part of the book for me. This is the part where you realize the oceanic warriors are, in some ways, a lot like us. They have religion, schooling, science, etc. It's hard not to sympathize with them when you find out why they've taken residence on Coney Island.


One of my favorite reads of 2015. Scary ocean warriors called Alphas take over Coney Island. Humans and Alphas hate each other. Alpha kids participate in a pilot program to attend human high school. Chaos. Panic. Hysteria. Alphas are not so bad after all. Fathom, the Alpha prince, is a hunk. War. The ending has me dying for book two.

4.5 asterisks

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