STARRED REVIEW
May 2015

A new species on shore

By Michael Buckley
Review by
In the powerful first installment of a new trilogy from Michael Buckley, species collide in this sci-fi tale infused with emotionally charged themes of immigration and xenophobia.
Share this Article:

In the powerful first installment of a new trilogy from Michael Buckley, species collide in this sci-fi tale infused with emotionally charged themes of immigration and xenophobia.

Lyric Walker and her family live in “Fish City,” Coney Island’s nickname since the arrival of the Alpha, aquatic humanoids that emerged on the shore three years ago. With Alpha looting the city by night and human gangs retaliating with extreme violence, Lyric’s neighborhood is under martial law. Lyric’s father is a policeman, but it’s not a sense of duty that keeps the Walker family in Fish City; they’re guarding a secret that makes passing the checkpoint impossible.

Despite protests, the president has ordered Coney Island to allow Alpha children into public schools. Lyric’s mysterious new principal assigns her a dangerous task: befriending Fathom, the handsome but deadly Alpha prince, in hopes that their relationship will influence other students and quell the interspecies brutality. As Lyric defends herself against mistrust from both sides, she is pulled into the heart of the integration conflict and drawn perilously closer to Fathom.

Buckley delicately mirrors two cultures steeped in violence, subtly indicating parallels between the novel’s world and our own. Well-plotted and containing one of the most beautifully written family relationships in recent YA fiction, Undertow’s execution is as captivating as its premise.

 

This article was originally published in the May 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

Undertow

Undertow

By Michael Buckley
HMH
ISBN 9780544348257

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres every Tuesday.