By: Maria Scherer

          Undertow by Michael Buckley is pretty much your typical teen dystopian book. Not that it’s a bad thing, of course, but I found it pretty predictable.

          Lyric Walker, an almost typical high-schooler in Coney Island, witnesses the arrival of the Alpha, another humanoid race that previously lived in the ocean. The Alpha have been camping on the beach, much to the distaste to the residents of Coney Island. A program is introduced to bring the kids of the Alpha into the Coney Island schools. Naturally, many people do not like this change and the situation escalates.

          Of course, to make it interesting (and semi-predictable), there has to be a romance between the human and Alpha races. And naturally, it has to be between the main character and the most important teenaged Alpha on the beach… who coincidentally already has a prearranged partner. Of course.

          Even though this book was predictable and the plotline was simple, I loved the author’s originality in his descriptions of the Alpha. The creatures were creatively imagined and very well thought out. The characters of the humans were, too. Their personalities were all different, and none of them were stereotypical or overly simplified.

          I also think that the author’s choice of words was very good and diverse, and made the book worth reading. He made the characters’ speech patterns sound different, not like they were reading from a script.

          There were one or two unexpected scenes, mostly toward the end, that made the book interesting and engaging.

          In the end, it was a pretty good book with a satisfying ending, so I do suggest you give this book a try.