JavaScript must be enabled on your browser for this PAC to work properly.

San Marcos Public Library
625 E. Hopkins • San Marcos, TX 78666 • 512.393.8200  •  smpl@sanmarcostx.gov 
  New Search About the Library Library Events My Account Hot Titles Research Links News & Weather Local History Photographs Subscribe to BookLetters
 

Downsiders, a novel

by Neal Shusterman


Book Review

:

Publishers Weekly :

Terms of Use:

History and urban folklore are wittily combined in Shusterman's (The Eyes of Kid Midas) well-wrought fantasy, centering on an alternative society that thrives undisturbed in the subterranean recesses of New York City. Despite stringently enforced rules against mixing with "Topsiders," 14-year-old Talon sneaks aboveground into an Upper East Side townhouse. There he meets Lindsay, also 14, whose self-absorbed, divorced mom has left her with her equally inattentive dad "for all eternity." The friendless girl quickly forms a bond with the pale, otherworldly boy, and when he finds her again, she eagerly goes with him to tour his underground universe. However, Lindsay's presence, as well as some historical information she unearths, are as threatening to the Downsiders as the excavations for her father's West Side aqueduct project. Amidst the thrills and insider humor (Downsiders eat throgsneck soup and have hunted sewer alligators to extinction), Shusterman offers a crisply written coming-of-age story with a message worth pondering: "Better that the truth be like the moon--a bright sphere only showing half of its face at a time, leaving the rest to be uncovered fragment by fragment, in its own proper time." Ages 10-up. (June)

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Terms

Book Review

:

School Library Journal :

Terms of Use:

Gr 8 Up-The Downsiders live in a subterranean world far beneath New York City. Taboos forbid them from going Topside, but the two worlds collide when Talon, a Downside teen, ventures up looking for medicine for his critically ill sister. There, he meets Lindsay, a Topside girl who intrigues him so much that he breaks a cardinal rule and takes her into the tunnels, showing her an amazing place filled with cast-off items-dryer lint, subway tokens, soda-can tabs-that have become useful, even beautiful. Her visit sets in motion a dangerous chain of events. Talon's friend betrays him to the authorities and Talon is sentenced to death (by being flushed through a sewer pipe). The story takes a fascinating twist when Lindsay discovers that Downside was founded about 100 years ago by Alfred Ely Beach, a 19th-century inventor and scientist. Facts about this historical figure and about the old New York subway system are blended with the fantasy until it is difficult to tell where truth stops and fiction begins. Unfortunately, there is no afterword to explain the connections and readers might miss the fun. There is also a good deal of sophisticated social satire, as Topside is seen through naive underworld eyes. Sometimes the plot lapses too far into the absurd and there are a few weak spots. The often mock-serious tone of the narrative may be lost on some readers. Overall, though, this is an exciting and entertaining story that will please fans of adventure, science fiction, and fantasy.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Terms


Back

 

Powered by: YouSeeMore © The Library Corporation (TLC) Catalog Home Top of Page