Author: Paul Blackwell
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
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 edge of 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.
Read that blurb. How can you not get excited about this book after reading it? I certainly was. Undercurrent sounded like a book that would be exciting and mess with my head – I love that. Alternate realities are one of my favorite things, and the more complicated they are the better. For me, though, this book didn’t quite live up to the hype of the blurb. I’m not saying it’s bad, but I was definitely expecting more from it.
Undercurrent starts with Cal waking up from a three day coma after going over Crystal Falls, something that should have killed him. No one has made it over those fall alive, except Cal. He can’t remember what led to him going over, but he soon discovers that his life is completely different from before the plunge. People think he is some kind of badass jock, when he’s not that at all. Not only is his life different, the entire town is different.
I was intrigued and pulled in at the beginning, wanting to find out what was happening. At first I enjoyed watching Cal try to keep up with all of the changes in his life, but it became somewhat boring after awhile. I was really hoping for and expecting some exciting twists and “mind-bending suspense.” Instead, Undercurrent turned out to be fairly straightforward and very predictable. Once I realized that I wasn’t going to get what I had anticipated, I decided to see it through and just take it for what it was.
Now, I love a good character. I can overlook a lot of things in a story if there is at least one character that really grabs my attention. Unfortunately, I can’t say that happened in this book. I didn’t dislike the characters, but I didn’t love them either. I just didn’t feel any real depth from anyone. Including Cal. So it’s hard to have any strong feelings either way for the characters. They just … were. And I was far from thrilled about how Cal’s brother and his ‘situation’ was portrayed in the alternate universe.
I know this seems negative, and maybe it somewhat is, but it wasn’t a completely terrible read. You just can’t go into it with too high expectations. I will say, though, that I’m glad this seems to be a stand alone, because I don’t think I’d be motivated enough to continue it as a series.