Undertow by Michael Buckley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In San Francisco, people wearing red "Niners" shirts are a good thing, because they're supporting a storied local sports team. In the Coney Island of this book, however, the Niners are anything but fun to have around. Here, they're a gang of anti-merpeople racists whose mission is to ensure that the grand social experiment of incorporating undersea people (the "Alpha") into a human school fails miserably. Even worse, they have the governor of New York (named Bachman, like a certain Tea Party leading lady) on their side.
And that's just the beginning. Blending Alien Nation with Zoraida Cordova's Vicious Deep, this story is wall-to-wall with strong social commentary, sympathetic backstories for our good guys, and, yes, always a Bigger Bad, who apparently supports Syndrome's theory of "When everyone's super, no one will be." It's compelling from start to finish, and ends with (of course) a major cliffhanger, for which I can't wait for Book 2 to come along. My only complaint is that one of my favorite characters dies about two-thirds of the way through this book, and I'm not quite sure it was necessary...but maybe later, that death will have gained the meaning it needs.
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