School of Fish Out of Water (Undertow – A Book Review)

Undertow (Undertow #1)
Author: Michael Buckley
Published: 2015

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

Rated A for Aquaman approved.


First, we feared them. Then we fought them. Now they might be our only hope.

Lyric Walker’s life is changed forever as is everyone’s in Coney Island when 30,000 warrior Alpha storm the beach shore. Now, a few years later, the small town has turned into a military zone and the government is ready to try an assimilate Alpha into society. Not everyone is on board with this.

Lyric gets assigned to help with the integration by helping the crown prince of the Alpha, Fathom. While he is aggressive and resistant, she can’t help but to start falling for him. There’s something about him that isn’t all bad. It’s dangerous to feel this way though, for both of them.

More so, there is a greater threat on the horizon than the Alpha. The darkness that drew the remaining race to shore.


This was a wild and intensely action-packed book with tension seeping out of the cracks. I really enjoyed it! While I do get the Aquaman vibes, I do find this to be interestingly unique and original! The in-depth look at the Alpha is really nifty. They weren’t just some Adonis god-like race to melt at, though Fathom is pretty attractive hehe. Though they have some epic abilities, like controlling water and fast reflexes and mega-strength as well as some unique weaponry. Fathom, the prince can actually pop out bony swords from his arms. Alpha also takes on the features and characteristics of creatures of the sea. It’s freaking awesome!

Scarlet Reader

I loved all of the characters, even the assholes. They were all epic. Buckley really wrote some powerful people from the teens to the adults. I can’t find one I didn’t like, because even though there were characters I hated *cough* Mrs. Novakova *cough* it was for legitimate reasons! They were jerky, prejudice asshats. Just some powerful characters here!

I’ve also never read a book where Coney Island was the setting. It was wicked to get a close-up view. Crowded and mucky and not the Disneyland on the dock people imagine it is. In fact, Coney Island is turned into a scary place. (The cover art of it is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S. And chilling. It’s that too.)

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The Tropix

The comical and honest look at racial lines in society was fantastic! Lyric gave such a great perspective on not only skin color, but culture, and with the Alpha, race. Diversity played a major role in this book and I really liked it. It was so well done and truly added more than just typical them versus us. It was everybody.

More so, the added element of domestic abuse and not just for humans but for the Alpha was heartbreaking. Both of these major themes expressed, in a sad way, that everyone shares these hardships in common. As well as these, they share their love for those they care about.

There was just so much more than I expected and I fell in love with this book.

Dead of Winter

There were many shocking twists and turns. I was caught off guard a few times. Being left guessing is one of my favorite things with a book and this one was successful. Unexpected romance, and expected, of course LOL. And the loss ripped all of it away. Stop ripping things and people I love away from me!



This is really different from other YA I’ve read. It’s humorous, yet filled with love and heartache. There’s such a real spin on this and it really added to the salty imagery. I can’t wait to be blown away in the next book. The ending really left me hanging! I have so many questions.



“There’s also this idea that the Alpha caused all the weird racism and xenophobia, too, but whatever. This part of town was always a hotbed of racial sludge, and the various groups never played nice.” (Lyric, p.34)

“When someone is grieving, even a kindness feels like a slap in the face.” (Lyric’s mom to Lyric, p. 265)

“What was I supposed to say to you, Bex? I’m half mermaid and I have the hots for Edward Scissor arms?” (Lyric to Bex, p. 308)

“Nothing will stop me, because I am bigger than the world; I make the sea tremble. I am a wild thing.” (Lyric, p. 376)


More to come soon…



P.S. Song today? 100 Years by Five For Fighting.


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