Book Review: Undertow by Michael Buckley

Title: Undertow (Undertow #1)
Author: Michael Buckley
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 5, 2105
Pages: 376
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction


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. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.
I've been eyeballing this book since it came out. I've had it on my TBR shelf in my room for a while, because I kept getting sidetracked by other books! I'm sure you all can relate. But I am so glad that I finally picked it up! It was ever better than I thought it was going to be, and nothing like I expected!

Did any of you guys watch that show Starcrossed? You know the one where the aliens come to Earth and many years later, the alien babies are now teenagers that are being integrated into high school? Yeah, well, I thought this book was a going to go like that. You know, hot alien prince and nerdy/awkward human girl fall in love. WRONG. So wrong!

First of all, the Alpha are NOT aliens, I repeat, NOT aliens. Clearly, I did not read the blurb correctly! Second, when I finally got the description of these Alpha, it was NOTHING like I expected. In fact, it was the COMPLETE opposite of what I was expecting. I was kinda shocked that Michael Buckley went there, but so glad that he did, because it makes complete sense for what the Alpha truly are.

Told through Lyric's POV, the book begins with no back story. None. We are introduced to Lyric on the night before school starts, 3 years after the arrival of the Alpha. As the story unfolds, we learn of the Alpha's arrival, and how it has affected her of part of Brooklyn. We also learn that Lyric is keeping a dangerous secret. One that could get her, and everyone she knows, killed, or worse.

Michael Buckley did a phenomenal job writing about the tension between humans and the Alpha. You get a real sense of the hatred and bigotry some humans feel towards the Alpha. You know that at any moment, hate groups can, will, and do attack.

This book is not romance heavy, though there is a slight love triangle. However, that is not the main focus of the story. The book focuses on the fight between humans and Alpha, and how that affects Lyric, as she tries desperately to keep her secret. Which turns out to be more difficult that she anticipated, especially when her principal coerces her to befriend Fathom, the crown prince of the Alpha.


  1. Great review, it sounds like a good read. I also really like the cover!

  2. Yes Suze, the cover is fabulous! You should definitely check this book out. The second in the series releases in February.


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