Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Review: Below

Title:  Below
Author:  Meg McKinlay
Rating: 3/5


Secrets have a way of floating to the surface. . . . Mystery, compelling characters, and an abandoned town beneath a lake make for a must-read adventure.

On the day Cassie was born, they drowned her town. The mayor flipped a lever and everyone cheered as Old Lower Grange was submerged beneath five thousand swimming pools’ worth of water. Now, twelve years later, Cassie feels drawn to the manmade lake and the mysteries it hides — and she’s not the only one. Her classmate Liam, who wears oversized swim trunks to cover the scars on his legs, joins Cassie in her daily swims across the off-limits side of the lake. As the summer heats up, the water drops lower and lower, offering them glimpses of the ghostly town and uncovering secrets one prominent town figure seems anxious to keep submerged. But like a swimmer who ventures too far from shore, Cassie realizes she can’t turn back. Can she bring their suspicions to light before it’s too late — and does she dare?


This really wasn't that bad for a slightly futuristic juvenile book.  It took a while to really understand what was happening though.  I'm not sure if that was the author's intention, to not give us any straight answers about how/why they sunk the old town/city.  I also didn't realize the setting was in Australia until at least halfway in.  That certainly changed the picture in my head (considering I was picturing some mid-west small town in the U.S.).

But despite the confusion in my picturing of the situation, I liked the concept, and I liked the characters.  It took a good 200 pages to hit the climax of the story, but that seems to be getting more normal these days, we don't get the cool down after the climax in books, we get the climax right before the end and that's it.

Being inside Cassie's head for the entire story was probably perfect.  She thinks so differently than the rest of her town (except perhaps Liam), and she also isn't afraid to question everything and do something about it, which makes the story infinitely more interesting.

Overall, 3 out of 5 stars, because the setting wasn't well developed and I thought that was essential to the story, but the rest of it was good.

Recommended to those willing to question their existence a bit (and children over the age of 8 or 10 I think).

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