Below by Meg McKinlay

Below by Meg McKinlay

Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Rated: MG 12+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

Secrets have a way of floating to the surface... Mystery, compelling characters, and an abandoned town beneath a lake make for a must-read adventure.

On the day Cassie was born, they drowned her town. The mayor flipped a lever and everyone cheered as Old Lower Grange was submerged beneath five thousand swimming pools’ worth of water. Now, twelve years later, Cassie feels drawn to the manmade lake and the mysteries it hides — and she’s not the only one. Her classmate Liam, who wears oversized swim trunks to cover the scars on his legs, joins Cassie in her daily swims across the off-limits side of the lake. As the summer heats up, the water drops lower and lower, offering them glimpses of the ghostly town and uncovering secrets one prominent town figure seems anxious to keep submerged. But like a swimmer who ventures too far from shore, Cassie realizes she can’t turn back. Can she bring their suspicions to light before it’s too late — and does she dare?

I will be honest– it was the cover that caught my attention. Reading the blurb, I thought this was a dystopian of some sort (cause I mean come on, who drowns a town?), but that totally wasn't the case when I came about to reading it. It's actually a contemporary, but it had a touch of magical realism to it. I found myself drawn to the mysteries that the lake holds and it's past.
Below was a quick read, but I found that there were a couple things here and there which I didn't get (and still don't). The band-aids for instance... what was the whole significance of that? I just thought that there was still bits that needed explanations, because I found myself just confused whenever things came up that I had no idea what they stood for or meant.

Cassie was a really great main character, and so was Liam. They're younger characters, so I didn't feel that connection to them a whole lot, but I did enjoy their story, and how determined the both of them are to get to the bottom of the mystery. I liked the progression of friendship that bloomed between them. Both of them have had pasts that made them stand out from everyone, and it was cool that they found that to link themselves together.
Like I mentioned previously, I really loved the mystery beneath the surface (literally!). I thought the author very effectively used a selective detail technique, so little by little the clues came and in and left a shocking conclusion. The supporting cast was fantastic as well– we see through interactions between all the characters how they all come about to be apart of the mystery, and it's just such a great climax that the book reaches to.

Below was a fast-paced read, one that young readers as well as older readers will enjoy. I'm looking forward to reading more from Meg McKinlay... she definitely knows how to tell a unique story!

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1 comment:

  1. Ditto: Cover drew us in, premise sounded cool but dystopian. We love magical realism, though, so that's a big draw. Sounds like we should check it out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and bringing it to our attention!


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