Friday, August 30, 2013

Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell

Series: Standalone
Genera: Sci-fi Mystery
Subjects: parallel universes, high school, suspense
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 312 pgs.
HC/PB: Hardcover
List Price: $17.99
Publisher: HarperTeen
Summary/ product description: “In this suspenseful teen thriller with a touch of the otherworldly, a boy goes over a waterfall and wakes up to find himself in a twisted version of the life he knew. Why did his best friend try to kill him? Why are his parents acting like he’s a sports star all of a sudden? Worst of all, what happened to his older brother? Filled with mind-bending suspense and unsettling thrills, Undercurrent is a grippingly paced teen debut that will pull you under and never let go.”

My Review: There have been so many books lately about parallel universes. To name a few: Parallel Lauren Miller, Through to You by Emily Hainsworth, and Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris. So what sets this one apart from those. Well, for one, this was short, fast-paced, and an easy read. I read it in a day. It wasn’t boring. At times it felt like it could have been psychological. But as great as it was, it was pretty much not unique at all. It wasn’t even much of a mystery. It was interesting how his parallel’s life was different from his, but the story and plot itself was very predictable.
It wasn’t bad, but I really wish there was more sci-fi stuff in it. This is sci-fi lite. It felt like it would appeal to a younger audience even with the alcohol abuse, and swear words. It’s pretty much hi-lo fiction. (High interest, low reading level?) It’s the kind of book you want to read after reading something heavy and complicated, and long. Very easy to finish, and very well set typography. Nice and big.
I did enjoy the narration. Callum’s voice was pretty clear. It reminded me of my little brother. The Callum wakes up in a parallel world where he plays football, sell whisky at parties and makes out with the hottest girl in school. What I don’t get it that Callum didn’t realize sooner that this wasn’t a joke. That there was something seriously wrong and this isn’t his universe. Callum must not read or watch much sci-fi, or maybe he’s just not that bright. Really, you didn’t have to drag it out so long. It really reminded me of Parallel by Lauren Miller, but a much shorter and less complex version.
I did like the setting and the waterfall stuff. I’m pretty sure this is set in Canada, though it’s a made-up town. I’ve been to a lot of waterfalls in Wisconsin and Michigan, but this Crystal Falls sounds bigger.
I recommend this book to 14-year-old guys looking for something sci-fi-ish for their freshmen independent reading project. It’s perfect for that. Or if you just want a quick read. I don’t recommend buying the book, though. Order it from your library!
Cover Art Review: The guy on the cover looks like Alex Pettyferd or Tyler Posey. Other than the hot guy, the cover is pretty boring and plain. I like the waterfall on the spine though.

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