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Surface Tension I found Surface tension uite slow yet it was still intriguing to keep me reading Around half way through the book takes a turn and the pace picks up This is a rather uiet novel with uniue characters As the characters open up the story really is uite captivating My age recommendation – 10 14 year olds plus anyone else who enjoys reading lower end YA Cassie's family was not present when the mayor flipped a switch and drowned the town of Old Lower Grange Residents then moved up the hill and formed the town of New Lower Grange Cassie decided to enter the world when the old town was drowned; 8 weeks early Having been a preemie baby Cassie has breathing trouble and therefore swims 6 laps a day She gets tired of the local pool and decides to swim in the lake that is Old Lower Grange School friend and town pity case Liam soon joins her Liam was involved in a horrible accident with his father when he was only 5 weeks old resulting in awful scars covering his legsCassie and Liam uickly realize that something is wrong with the lake; it's shrinking When they mention this to the town mayor he becomes uite upset about it Why What's at the bottom of the lake that he doesn't want anyone to see Readers would expect a murder mystery or something truly awful But all that's found is a rusty Mercedes once belonging to the mayor It becomes known that the mayor was involved in the crash that permanently maimed Liam It was a hit and runYes a hit and run is shocking but it's not what reader's expect at the end of this story Not a good ending anyway It's rather anti climaticRecommended for reader's who have nothing better to read The day that I was born they drowned my town The mayor flipped the lever and everybody cheered There were streamers and balloons and a really lame brass band The people of Old Lower Grange ate sausages and potato salad while they watched their lives sink beneath a wall of water Cassie was born early As a result she has been plagued with breathing difficulties throughout her entire young life thus far Her doctor has instructed her to swim six laps a day every day to make sure she is strengthening her lungs as much as possibleCassie was the first baby born in the new town after the old one was completely drowned on purpose Old Lower Grange was a town in the perfect location the problem though was that it was the perfect location for a dam to provide easily accessible water to surrounding areas So the town was ceremoniously drowned with the switch of a lever and all of the townspeople were relocated to a new place intended to look nearly identical to the home they left behindAlthough the old location is clearly sectioned off with signs warning that no swimming is allowed Cassie has never really been one to pay attention to signs After all Old Lower Grange is a modern day Atlantis hiding many secrets under the waters And with the summer being hotter and drier than ever the water has been gradually receding threatening to expose the dark secrets that someone intended to hide You'd think that when you sink something under five thousand swimming pools' worth of water it'd be drowned and gone You'd think it would be done with But somewhere inside me I knew you can't just drown a town and call it over Eventually things have a way of floating to the surface Can Cassie discover what is being hidden by the waters of Old Lower Grange Or will those who have secrets to hide do everything in their power to stop Cassie and everyone else from seeing what lies below I really have to give kudos to McKinlay for the concept of Below I mean what could be exciting and intriguing than a literal hidden city and a teenage girl who is curious enough to uncover its secrets The whole imagery here is just fabulous I was really able to picture this modern day Atlantis being explored by two curious imaginative teens which really helped to make this a compulsively readable little novel that seems geared towards the older middle grade or younger young adult audienceNow I can't deny that I was a tiny bit let down once I learned the secrets of Old Lower Grage because although the discovery was definitely huge and scandalous for the town I think I was expecting something a little frightening down there in the depths of the floods To be fair I don't think BELOW is intended to be a scary novel and it is intended towards a bit of a younger crowd so I do think the outcome is probably entirely fitting and relevant to its audienceBELOW is definitely worth the read overall and I encourage anyone who wants a uick read with a uniue premise to go ahead and pick this one up when it is released on May 14Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to preview an electronic version of the novel The day Cassie was born her town got submerged While her mom was going into labor with her they were going the opposite way from the other people As her town was slowly getting rid of water she felt like she was drowning with all the mysteriesIt all started the day Cassie was born The day Cassie was born it was a chaotic day because she was eight week early her town was being submerged and instead of going to safety she was going to the hospital because she was giving birth to Cassie Twelve years later Cassie feels like she was a mistake and that her parents thought that too There would be two types of conflicts in this book One would be considered person vs person because Cassie has doubt about herself and she thinks she was a mistake The other one would be considered nature vs nature because the town was submerged by waterThe title relates to the book because Cassie's town was below water The setting adds to the conflict because she has doubts about her self or her town There isn't the only conflict in the book She slowly starts discovering secrets from her town as there is less waterI was satisfied with this book because of all the things that happen and how she reacts to them If I were the author I would have added twists I would have added twists to make the book interesting I give this book a three out of five because it needs twists to make it interesting Not one of my favorites but not one of the worsts Interesting uick read If this had been an adult fiction book I bet it would have gotten very dark and creepy;seeing that it was a young adult book it had th appropriate amount of mystery I enjoyed the plot and th description of the drowned town a lot Below is a dystopianfantasy esue book that follows Cassie a girl who was born on the day that her town was drowned Yes literally drowned—the mayor flipped a switch and the whole town that they once new was submerged in water Twelve years after the drowing and relocating to Upper Lower Grange Cassie and her friend Liam are determined to fill in the gray space They know something is weird and they are going to figure it outI think this was a very good middle grade read While it wasn’t personally the most captivating story I felt very connected to Cassie and Liam and was rooting for them the entire time The book definitely had its lulls where I drifted off a bit but the end was especially incredible—I was not expecting that whatsoever When Cassie and Liam start swimming at the lake neither of them realises the dark secrets that lie beneath As summer heats up and the lake waters become lower and lower the shocking truth is slowly uncovered And soon both their lives will change forever This book was veryyy mysterious throughout from start to finish It started with a girl named Cassie She was born eight weeks early just a day late to seeing her almost hometown be drowned in 200 feet of water Cassie's lungs were not developed enough yet and she was reuired to do exactly six laps of swimming everyday Swimming in the public pool where Cassie lived included too many interruptions for her the last day having a particular interruption named Liam who was pushed into her while she was in the water Liam's family went through a horrible and mysterious car accident weeks after Liam was born they lost Liam's brother and his father was put in a coma No one knew the cause of this unfortunate event but Liam blamed himselfMeanwhile Cassie sought a private place for her swimming and resorted to the lake the body of water containing the remains of the old town in its depths But she didn't swim in the public part of the lake she swam in the part that clearly said do not swim But she did and one time in her peaceful getaway lake she got a leg cramp This event led to Liam saving her and starting a new friendship that would lead them to tackle one of their town's biggest mysteries For some reason we had this book stickered as scary I did not find it so It has suspense to it but it's not what I would call a horror book or a scary bookI did enjoy this book Cassie's feelings of inadeuacy were well drawn and I liked the friendship between Cassie and Liam I dd figure out right away what happened but younger readers might not Good for a school visit Book descriptionOn 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 Overall I enjoyed this bookI very much appreciated Cassie the protagonist I thought Cassie was a thoughtful sensitive likeable character who read a very realistic I also enjoyed the friendship that developed between Cassie and Liam especially as McKinlay wisely refrained from turning that relationship into a cheesy love story Finally the supporting cast of characters seemed to be realistic and interact with one another in the way that I would expect them too including the dysfunctional relationships between Cassie and her family members and they amongst themselves For me there were only two minor drawbacks One is that the book had a few too many repetitions really how many times do I need to have the spiky ladder on the fire tree described to me fewer than was in the book The other is that I was also looking for a bit depth but then again this was a short book aimed at the average young reader so it is possible that aspect is a function of me being outside the target audience Yes overall an enjoyable read that dealt with some serious topics but without ever feeling bogged down or heavy with them

  • Paperback
  • 234 pages
  • Surface Tension
  • Meg McKinlay
  • English
  • 01 March 2016

About the Author: Meg McKinlay

Catch A Falling Star and picture book