In Undercurrent, Paul Blackwell's fast-paced teen thriller, sixteen-year-old Callum Harris survives a plummet over a waterfall but wakes to find himself in a life that's totally different from the one he knew.
His parents were separated. Now they're together. His brother, Cole, was a sports star. Now he's paralyzed. And Callum, who used to be quiet and sort of unpopular, is suddenly a jock with two hot girls after him. But there's one difference that matters more than all the others combined: His former best friend wants Callum dead. And he isn't the only one.
Tense and original, Undercurrent is a psychological thrill ride with sci-fi elements that will appeal to fans of Neal Shusterman. The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books said, "the riveting opening and intense final scene will keep genre fans satisfied and breathless," while ALA Booklist called it "a menacing, suspenseful thriller."
|File size:||672 KB|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Paul BLackwell never went over a waterfall himself, but he has jumped off a sixty-foot cliff. Once was enough.
This is his first book for teens. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Well-written, great characterization, snappy dialogue. Though Callum whines throughout the book, it it understandable given his plight. I really enjoyed this book. It kept me turning pages. I hope the author is writing another book.
Good book. Not bad for a first time teen book from this author. The story was just good enough that leads you in a thriller/mystery adventure. I thought the amount put into the story was just good enough, not too much things happening yet not lacking much. Def. recommend this book if you want something quick to read. :)
Mainly becase it was told from a males POV so thats really cool also, its way more believable because he makes stupid choices and isnt living a perfect life. I really like how Cal was ligitimently scared and confused for practicly the whole book. If it was me in his place i would probably go totally crazy and try to get my parents to move my whole family to some other country, so he handled it really well. The only thing that would make it better was if he did freak out a little more in the beginning, then it would seem more relistic, but you should defintly buy this book
From beginning to end, Undercurrent is a puzzle, starting with Callum waking up in a world that's just not quite right. It's the little things that seem off at first but then the problems begin to mushroom. Most horrifying is his discovery that his brother, Cole, who's a jock and a bully, now lies paralyzed and Callum has no idea what happened to him. Callum begins to realize that people don't even know him by his "real" name---they call him Cal---and that he is suddenly one of the popular guys and, yet, some people want him dead. Why? Even his dog doesn't want to be around him. And why is his dad living at home again? Why do classmates Willow and Bryce treat him so oddly now? Perhaps most of all, why did he go over that waterfall? From then on, it all just kind of meanders along and the behavior of certain people, especially Callum and his parents (much too casual about what happened), just didn't keep me engaged very well. To me, the intended point of this story is to highlight how everything in one's life can hinge on one small decision, much like the ripple effect of a stone thrown in a pond but getting the reader there is something of a drag. Callum now has one more decision to make but this one might have even more significance; he may die. Readers may very well treat this book on two levels. Some will see it as a somewhat simple story about a rift in dimensions while others will look for a deeper meaning, more navel-gazing, if you will. I enjoyed Undercurrent but I'm not sure it really reaches that more significant plane. The plot is really rather thin and slow and I would expect a moderately intelligent teen to come to grips with his different reality sooner than Callum did. Perhaps the premise would have been better suited to a novella format so that the author would have had to step up the pace.
Dimensional stories are a new genre that I'm really loving. It a mix of moving action along with a mysterious force, pulling the reader into different worlds. I, for one, loved this story. Plot: What would you do if you plunged into water and woke up in a different world? First, I freak out and then I think what do to. The plot moved well gathering the reader for great world building and characters. On the surface, the reader see and feels the gaps in the world. It's a daring experience trying to put everything together at once. I let the story guide me, putting myself in the thoughts of Callum, I let everything seeped into my mind slowly they way he did. He was smart and after thinking things through bit by bit, he slowly began to understand what is happening. It does move slow in the beginning, but it does have a lot of information to divulge, so give the book time to unfold. Characters: There are some minor character that put the final piece of the puzzle and helped Callum. I felt like these guys (especially the end) was the comedy relief guys. No one understood their weird comments or actions. I knew to pay attention more to these guys cause they knew more than what they led on. Callum himself, did a big change in taking a role he didn't want to play and well played it perfectly. He did act strange at first but he got it. Callum questioned why he was so different in this world and what happen to change it. I always wondered myself what I would be like in another dimensional world. *shrugs* Dimensional: This is the main part of the story and yes I loved it. It played out well from beginning to end, giving the reader an impressive experience. For me, dimensional stories are hard to pull off since they can be confusing. Blackwell doesn't confuse the reader at all, instead giving the reader a steady and exciting story to read. Undercurrent is a dark, impressive story. With the perfect ingredients of action, mystery and dimensions, Blackwell excellent story telling moves the reader. With a vivid execution from start to finish, Undercurrent is an entertaining ride.
* Actual rating is 3.5 stars. I love YA books told from a male POV. I really think there need to be more of them. Especially ones that the voice is so well done like this one was.I'm also really enjoying reading alternate reality/alternate universe books. This one was really great in that it was an alternate reality, but it was really focused on the one that Callum is in, and doesn't switch back and forth between them. I do tend to get a little confused trying to keep things straight so this was very refreshing for me. I also loved the mystery element of it all, even though I figured out what was happening pretty early. The main character is Callum, and I really liked getting to know the real him (at least the one that we are currently in the head of). I also thought it was neat to get to know the alternate him who is totally different from who he is in his original reality. He is totally confused though. He wakes up in the hospital and soon discovers that things are very, very wrong. He has no clue what is going on, and slowly needs to figure things out. I thought that he made some really stupid decisions, but he managed. I liked that because he seemed very realistic to me. He messes up, he's insecure about things, he's scared. It makes me believe it more. There's not really much more I can say about the story, but it was really great. There was a good mystery and thriller element to it, and even though it was alternate reality, it wasn't really focused on that except when it was important and necessary to the story. I also liked how it ended, and I hope that a sequel is made for it because I would love the story to continue. I thought that how we get Callum's memories from his other reality and then it goes into his current reality was done really well.It gives a well rounded story of how different Callum is in each one, and the reasons why he is. This was great!! * An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.