Jake Fones’ Letter Essay #9

Dear Blog,

I have just finished reading the 376 page science fiction book written by Michael Buckley. This book was published on may 5, 2015. I decided this read this book because I was looking through the library in one of my teachers classrooms and found this book. I planned on only reading it for that day during silent read but the book really caught me. This year I read 20 books, 20 short of the 40 book challenge that Mr. Jockers set at the beginning of year. I am especially disappointed because last year I read around 30 books and I feel that I should have at least match that book count. One part of the goal I set for the beginning of the year that I did achieve was reading longer books. This year I read the three books in the divergent series that each have a total of more than 400 pages. Last year I might have read 30 books, but this year I read harder books that took longer for me to complete.

Michael Buckley was born on August 16, 1969 and graduated from Ohio University in 1990. He has since become a very popular author publishing the N.E.R.D.S series, and many other books. I really liked this book and I hope that you read this book this summer and enjoy the book as much as I did.

In the book, Undertow by Michael Buckley, the main character 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 the beach by her house on Coney Island. The Alpha quickly turn ugly and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms from a normal US town 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, she begins to fall for him. Their love is very dangerous, and there are forces on both sides trying to keep them apart. But then the question arises, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are humanity’s only hope of survival? The real enemy is coming. And it’s much more terrifying than the Alpha.

I really liked the way the author paced the story. The book seemed to move quickly toward the end which gave the read a sort of suspense.

I would compare the author to Veronica Roth because they both wrote Dystopian or science fiction books with the main setting around a known town or city. For Divergent it was Chicago and for Undertow it was Coney Island.

 This book reminded me of the Hunger Games because again they are both dystopian literature. They start out living life “normally” then a love interest comes in and drives the book. Now that I look at this, a lot of books are like this like Divergent.

In this scene the author describes the alpha’s walking out of the ocean and onto the beach of Coney Island.  “All of them were in a state of metamorphosis. Tails became legs. Fins sank into flesh. Gills vanished, causing their owners to choke on their first breaths of air. There were elderly creatures, babies, teenagers, and families, all climbing onto the beach, eyeing us with wide-eyed wonder. At first they numbered in the hundreds, then thousands, until eventually I could no longer see the sand for all the bodies.”(p. 48)

I quoted this passage because I really liked how Michael Buckley describes the changes of the alpha’s from the ocean to the land. He really helps you picture it in your mind.

If I had to rate this book a 8 out of 10 because it wasn’t the best book I have ever read but it would definitely make it on the top 10.


-Jake Fones

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