Undertow by Michael Buckley
About: 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.
Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga, a blend of District 9 and The Outsiders (taken from Goodreads)
Taylor T’s(Murphy MS Student) Thoughts: Undertow is about a city called Coney Island that is visited by a new type of human known as the alpha. The alpha are a race of humanoid fish people that have come to explore the land.
Lyric, our MC’s(main character) mom happens to be one of the earliest Alphas, making her half human. She keeps her half Alpha identity a secret so her mom will not be found out and taken like some others. Lyric also keeps this from her best friend Bex. Alpha students are sent to the school to integrate the species which ends up with riots against the Alpha’s. But the new “principal” tells Lyric that she must make friends with one of the, fathom, in order to be able to leave safely from this dangerous town. The “principal” is not actually the principal but is suspected to be someone from the military this is never confirmed.
She tries to make friends with Fathom which at first is uneasy, but then buds into a secret romance. People in the school harass her over hanging out with fathom. After a person breaks into a school planning to kill the Alpha’s, things escalate into a war.
The father is eventually taken by the government once they realize that her family is part Alpha while her mother herself and best friend Bex hide on the protected side with the Alpha’s.
I rate this book a 7/10 and I highly recommend it , it has romantic themes along with the struggles of Bex herself and problems with the government.
Audrey’s Thoughts: I really liked this book at first due to it’s strong start and I thought the premise of hybrid alien mermaids was awesome. However, there was a lot of suspension of belief and plot holes (30000 claustrophobic extraterrestrial Alpha mermaids housed like sardines on Coney Island?). If you can get past that, go with the flow, and overlook some of the cheesier scenes between Lyric and Fathom, it is a riveting read.
The fake articles from Mother Jones and various other periodicals was he-larious. Plus, the unabashedly honest female protagonist was refreshing. Great commentary on basic human/life rights and not treating others that are different from you as “things”. I can see teens really getting in to this series.