Undertown by Melvin Jules Bukiet, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Undertown

Undertown

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by Melvin Jules Bukiet
     
 

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In this fast-paced adventure story, Timothy and Jessamyn are towed through the streets of Manhattan riding in Timothy’s family’s sailboat, on their way to the Long Island shore, when the boat comes unhitched from its truck. The teens “sail” backward down a hill in Upper Manhattan, then fall down a huge construction site hole and into the

Overview


In this fast-paced adventure story, Timothy and Jessamyn are towed through the streets of Manhattan riding in Timothy’s family’s sailboat, on their way to the Long Island shore, when the boat comes unhitched from its truck. The teens “sail” backward down a hill in Upper Manhattan, then fall down a huge construction site hole and into the vast sewer system below.
Thrust into an amazing adventure, the kids navigate waterfalls and rapids as they travel through the rain sewers. They meet a graffiti artist their own age, a homeless person named You, and rats the size of large dogs. They fall into the hands of a gangster who claims the sewers as her kingdom and the homeless as her subjects, and acts as a fence for luxury goods! Will she feed Timothy and Jessamyn to the rats?

Praise for Undertown
"Two suburban teens ride a sailboat into Manhattan’s storm drains and meet quirky residents aplenty."
Kirkus Reviews

"It’s a coming-of-age escapade with a sense of wonder, and Bukiet pays homage to the history and mysteries of NYC with a writing style that’s part sentimental, part poetic, and part tongue-in-cheek.”
Publishers Weekly

"This classic hero’s journey is set against the detailed backdrop of New York City, both above ground and below."
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Adult author Bukiet (A Faker’s Dozen) makes the leap to children’s books with this off-kilter tale of two suburban youths who end up in the neverending, occasionally uncharted sewers of New York City. Timothy Murphy and Jessamyn Hazard barely knew each other back home in Montclair, N.J., until their parents started dating, but when a freak accident launches them and Timothy’s sailboat, the X-tra Large, into the sewers, they see an opportunity for excitement and adventure. As the two middle-schoolers elude the authorities, they encounter a talented graffiti artist, an identity-challenged homeless man, and a bizarre gang of subterranean thieves. It’s a coming-of-age escapade with a sense of wonder, and Bukiet pays homage to the history and mysteries of N.Y.C. with a writing style that’s part sentimental, part poetic, and part tongue-in-cheek. Throughout, Bukiet’s language and phrasings show a respect for and confidence in his audience, and if some of Timothy and Jessamyn’s conversations and observations come across as overly mature, they make for memorably entertaining protagonists, lost in a not-so- impossible world. Ages 10�14. Agent: Jennifer Lyons, Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Lisette Baez
This is a coming of age story as two suburban teens find themselves in the face of danger, adventure and intense fear. As they travel along the highway towards the Long Island sound the two thought they would be spending their days on the family's sailboat, the X-tra Large. That is until the X-tra Large became unhitched and the two teens are hurled with the sailboat into a giant construction site hole in Manhattan. If Timothy and Jessamyn are going to survive the peril that lies ahead of them they must work together to sail through the sewers, rapids and deadly waterfalls. They are now part of this secret world "Undertown". Will they be able to find their way back above this scary secret world? Can they find a way to be released from the grasp of the dangerous gangster who runs this place? As they encounter new and strange characters and are exposed to less than pretty life, Timothy and Jessamyn wonder will they ever see their parents again. Reviewer: Lisette Baez
School Library Journal
Gr 5�8—Timothy Murphy still hasn't recovered from his mother's death when his dad announces that they will be spending the day with his new girlfriend and her daughter, Jessamyn Hazard, who attends the same school as Timothy. He is not looking forward to a day of sailing and having to share his father's attention. When his dad and Miranda make a stop for egg creams, the middle schoolers decide to play a prank on their parents and unhook the boat trailer from the car, thinking the worst that would happen would be that their parents would pull away without them. Instead the trailer and boat take off down a hill and the two kids go careening across Manhattan and end up falling into a gaping construction hole. Timothy and Jessamyn find themselves floating on the sailboat in the city's storm sewer. They decide to evade the rescue team as long as they can, leading to trouble as they meet the cast of characters that dwell in "Undertown." Not knowing whom to trust, they learn to think on their feet in order to escape Undertown's evil ruler. The action goes back and forth between what is going on aboveground, where the adults are in rescue mode, and belowground. While the story starts out as a great adventure, the action underground may be predictable for older readers. However, the suspense is enough to hold the interest of younger ones, who will wonder if Timothy and Jessamyn will be captured and enslaved or rescued.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Two suburban teens ride a sailboat into Manhattan's storm drains and meet quirky residents aplenty in this wittier-than-thou crossover effort. Suddenly and uncomfortably thrown into one another's company by their widowed parents' romance, Timothy and Jessamyn express their displeasure with a prank. It backfires, sending them rolling down a Washington Heights street aboard the inaccurately named X-tra Large into a hole opened at a construction site. Disturbed but willing to go with the flow (so to speak), the two contrive to elude a massive police search, escape the clutches of the ruthless queen of a gang of subterranean art thieves and ultimately (by converting a stolen Turner canvas into a sail) survive the disastrous effects of a rainstorm. Unsurprisingly, they also bond. Bukiet chucks in such New York types as a stunningly gifted young graffiti artist and a seen-it-all police captain, along with the obligatory mentions of alligators, egg creams and dog-sized rats. He also pauses frequently for touristic disquisitions on Manhattan's topography and the sights beneath which his protagonists are passing. Mannered references to, for instance, the flood's "chthonic fury" ("A million drops are more than the sum of their splatters. They are voluptuous and deadly") and analytical remarks on such topics as the craft of writing or art and money as social constructs will play better to older audiences. Though classically modeled, this journey tale founders. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781419705892
Publisher:
Amulet Books
Publication date:
03/05/2013
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,246,747
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Melvin Jules Bukiet, on the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, is the author of numerous adult books. His stories and essays have been published in the Paris Review, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Antaeus, and more. This is his first book for children. He lives in New York City.

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Undertown 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More than an awsome book but tooo expensive!!!!!!!!!