Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ARC Review: Underneath


Underneath by Sarah Jamila Stevenson
4/5 stars
Flux Books
329 pages
YA Paranormal Contemporary
Scheduled to release June 8

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not entirely sure why this book called to me when I was browsing on Netgalley but I think I got more of a contemporary vibe from it, which is always highly appealing to me. I couldn't read only contemporary titles but that is the genre to which I always return.

Although this book is set in the present, it does have a paranormal twist. Main character Sunny suddenly finds herself with the ability to hear people's intense thoughts and emotions, something that completely discombobulates her in the wake of her beloved older cousin's suicide. Especially unnerving is that, upon reading the cousin's journal, it seems as if this cousin had the same ability. Can Sunny navigate the treachery waters of high school and balance her new talents?

Basically Sunny's first reaction to this new discovery is to drop her old jock friends and start hanging with a more emo crowd, composed of those who actually value her. Turns out her former friends were really shallow and judgmental and not worthy of her. This, combined with Sunny's sadness over her cousin's death and the ensuing problems for her aunt and uncle, gave the book a pretty melancholy tone. It was appropriate but be warned if you're hoping for a happier read.

The real strength of this novel to me was just the unpredictable plot points. I anticipated certain events would occur as have in other YA novels but they didn't pan out quite the same way. Especially of interest was the romance subplot, which did not go at all the way I expected. I was very pleased with that. I also liked that Sunny is of Pakistani descent with very New Agey parents-a nice addition to the very white bread upper middle class heroines who permeate YA.

Admittedly this book's pace is a bit on the slower side as seems to be pretty typical for contemporary novels. It doesn't have the big epic feel of fantasies or dystopias. That's something I like and appreciate-its quieter virtues were very pleasing to me.

10 comments:

  1. Its nice when subtler themes and virtues can be what the books draw is.

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    1. I liked that this book wasn't flashy-those books tend to get a lot of attention but they don't have the substance of this one.

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  2. Oh, this one isn't high on my radar so I'm glad to see your positive review! I like quieter books and that cover is just gorgeous. I think I'll have to pick up this one soon.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. I doubt most people have heard of it but I'm glad to get the buzz rolling-I liked that this was a bit off-beat.

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  3. This sounds like something I would enjoy. Thanks for bringing it my attention.. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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    1. I really recommend this one-it was a very good read.

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  4. I have this one waiting to be read. Now I'm ready to read it. I'm glad to know a little more about it, so I know what to expect. I was not expecting what you've described. So, now I know, I won't be disappointed. Great review!

    Heather

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    1. Glad to hear you'll be checking this out-I look forward to your review.

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  5. This one sounds really good! I think this is one I might really enjoy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, I'll be sure to add it to my shelf!

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    1. I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed it but I hope that I can encourage others to give it a try!

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