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UNDERCURRENT by Paul Blackwell

UNDERCURRENT

By Paul Blackwell

Age Range: 14 - 18

Pub Date: July 23rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-212350-3
Publisher: HarperTeen

A potentially deadly trip over a waterfall turns out to be the least of teenage Cal’s problems.

Callum "Cal" Harris has survived the falls, a journey few others have. But the town of Crystal Falls in which Cal wakes to find himself is vastly different from the one he remembers. Cal is feared at school, he has a hot girlfriend, his best friend seems to hate him, and his beloved older brother is comatose. Struggling to adapt to this new reality, Cal feels hunted by an unknown presence that seems bent on thwarting his attempts to fit in. Blackwell’s debut for teens attempts to explore the concept of the multiverse, how the past shapes the present and the perception of reality, but it does none of it well. There’s no narrative tension, no character development and no compelling reason to turn the page. Callum is an incessant whiner, which is understandable given that he has jumped universes and woken in completely new circumstances, but it also makes it difficult to generate any sympathy for him or his plight. While the multiverse has potential as a narrative device, Blackwell simply falls into the tired evil-twin trope and leaves it half finished.

The framework never jells, leaving the plot points suspended in the mist of the falls themselves. (Thriller. 14 & up)