Friday, August 9, 2013

Review of Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell

Title/Author: Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, July 23rd 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: A shadowy figure. An intense roar. The sensation of falling — fast.

That’s all Callum Harris remembers from his tumble over the waterfall. But when he wakes up in a hospital bed and finds his best friend trying to kill him, Callum knows something is seriously wrong. Unfortunately for him, the mysteries are just getting started.

Why are his parents acting like he’s some big sports star all of a sudden? And why are all the buildings in town more run-down than Callum remembers? Worst of all... what happened to Callum’s brother? Either Callum has gone seriously crazy or something happened when he went over the falls. Something impossible. Callum needs answers, and now. Because in this twisted new version of the life Callum knew, his former best friend isn’t the only one who wants to see him dead.

Filled with mind-bending suspense and unsettling thrills, Undercurrent is a grippingly paced teen debut that will pull you under and never let go.

I was really excited to start this book, it sounds like my kind of creepy supernatural occurence with the whole alternate universe and such. And I'm sad to say that it didn't work for me.

There was such amazing potential, I mean, landing in an alternate universe where everything Callum knew is upside down? And why did he go over the waterfall in the first place? But I never felt excitement or that edge where you're dying to know what'll happen in the end, turning the pages to find out. Instead I was kinda... bored.

Callum is supposed to be this likeable boy in his own universe, but I never really could relate to him. I mean, all the memories are of him being a bit of a nerd and unpopular and hanging out with two pretty nice kids, of which he was secretly in love with the girl. And it sounded nice. But I never warmed up to him in his alternate universe. I mean, I don't know if it's his changed environment or anything, but he's having anger management issues and being a jerk to his mom and to other people in general. It seems like the Callum from the alternate universe was a psycho who for some reason was really popular, but the story-Callum isn't such a nice guy himself.

I was really annoyed by the fact that he claims to be so in love with one girl and then goes off and fools around with another just because she's hot. I mean, seriously? If you're the nice guy you claim, you wouldn't be doing that. I felt like we never really go very deep into other characters either, they're the superficial people acting like scenery to the events.

Which brings me to my next issue: not much of anything really happens. Callum isn't trying all that hard to figure out what happened and I was seriously worried this would be one of those unexpected series books because I couldn't figure out how Paul Blackwell would wrap this up in 10 pages. Turns out you can do that, it just wasn't very satisfying for me. And it definitely didn't solve all that many problems aside from the obvious one. Nothing real got fixed. The Callum from the alternate universe is still as much of a jerk as he used to be and his life a big mess and that's about it.

I did like the parts where Callum is bonding with his dog Jess and I really appreciate that she didn't die somewhere along the way, cause at one point I was REALLY worried about this. I also liked that Callum didn't magically become good at sports like his alternate universe self was, just because he went over the waterfall.

But all together this book wasn't for me. The summary sounded really exciting and like something I would love, but the execution fell flat for me.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Made me crave: cheese


  1. I liked this one because it was so different than I expected, but I can completely see where you are coming from - not much actually happens. Surprise, surprise it's a series ;)

  2. The premise definitely sounds interesting, too bad you didn't enjoy it more. I may still try it, but at least my expectations have been lowered! :) ~Pam

  3. Im sorry this was such a dud!!
    The premise sounds like a lot of fun, like one of those crazy episodes in shows like Supernatural or even Buffy, but it sounds like it never got anywhere close to that.

    Best of luck with the next one you read.