Undertow by Michael Buckley
Release Date - May 2015
HMH Books for Young Readers
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
At 16, the last thing any teen needs is to fear her entire family being arrested. For Lyric, that is her biggest fear. The world she's living in isn't the world that used to be, not since a huge number of sea people called Alphas, came out of the ocean at Coney Island and prove to be the biggest threat the world has ever faced. Even worse, the President has made it clear that this new race will be allowed into schools, and that's not going over well.
Things couldn't possibly get more dangerous, until Lyric is forced to befriend the Alpha prince attending her school. Now taunted by her peers for being a "fish lover," she does what she can to do what she's been told to do without getting killed by the humans who are most adamantly against Alphas being part of their community. When she begins falling for Fathom, she realizes that she's in way over her head, and there may be no way to stop things.
I am not usually a sci-fi/fantasy kind of gal, but I loved this book. It was a definite luxury to me to stay in bed until almost 8 a.m. while reading, but I couldn't stop. I loved Lyric's strength, and enjoyed every page where she and Fathom were forced to spend time together.
Undertow has multiple layers when it comes to the plot. There is the fear between humans and the unusual Alphas, many of whom have knife-like bones that they can push from their skin at any given moment. There's the racism layer with humans refusing to allow this new race to be part of their community, even if it means causing mayhem in the process. Then there is Lyric's best friend who is in an abusive situation and needs Lyric to keep her both sane and safe. Finally, you do have the friendship and budding romance between Lyric and Fathom, and I really enjoyed how realistic that was.
This is the first book in a series, so don't expect everything to be summed up by the end of the book. I was definitely left wanting to know more and see how things would play out in both Coney Island where the action takes place and the rest of the world.