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Texting the Underworld

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  309 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Perpetual scaredy-cat Conor O'Neill has the fright of his life when a banshee girl named Ashling shows up in his bedroom. Ashling is--as all banshees are--a harbinger of death, but she's new at this banshee business, and first she insists on going to middle school. As Conor attempts to hide her identity from his teachers, he realizes he's going to have to pay a visit to th ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 15th 2013 by Dial Books
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Oct 10, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it
Another clever and witty fantasy from Booraem, again set in New England and dealing with family history. This time, the family is the O'Neill's, living in South Boston. Conor, a seventh grader who loves maps and dislikes conflict, is plunged into adventure when he meets Ashling, a girl his age who happens to be dead. Not only is Ashling dead, she is his family's personal banshee, and she has come to keen a death and take the dear departed to the underworld. If she succeeds in her mission, she'll ...more
Izcalli Gamez
Have you ever read a book that starts off with a quote that makes the book sound so deep, but then it all of a sudden goes to when a kid named Conor tries to kill a spider, but fails. I have and that's how the book I'm reading (Texting The Underworld) starts. The genre of this book is fantasy-fiction. To be honest this book wasn't my favorite, it didn't interest me at all.
The book starts off with a boy named Conor, living his normal awkward teenage life. He receives a visit from his family's
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I adored Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem, so when I discovered that Booream had a new book coming out about a Banshee and a trip to the Underworld I was excited as could be. I was even more excited when I won a copy of Texting the Underworld via a giveaway at Charlotte's Library.

Conor is not a kid looking for adventure. He likes his world safe and predictable. And spider free. He is not a coward however, no matter how much he th
Chris Mclean
Sep 05, 2013 Chris Mclean rated it really liked it
Conor O'Neill is afraid of so many things - in the first few pages he is terrified of the spider on the ceiling of his bedroom. His sister, two years younger, is a lot braver. His grandfather (affectionately called Grump) is always hoping Conor will toughen up (as is his father). What happens to scared little Conor changes his world -

....he actually hears and then meets a banshee, who is sent to announce an imminent death in the O'Neill family.

Conor decides that he wants to confront Fate and h
Brenda Kahn
Wow, this story was so satisfying, I'm reluctant to start another. I just don't want to leave Conor's family, as imperfect as it is, just yet. I laughed deeply and heartily. I sighed wistfully. As usual, Ellen Booraem has constructed a unique, complex story featuring fully realized and flawed characters. While set in contemporary south Boston, she weaves the Irish mythology of death, the Banshee, along with a few other mythologies so hilariously and convincingly that the reader feels a bit guilt ...more
Ariana Fitz
Nov 28, 2016 Ariana Fitz rated it it was ok
Book-Texting the Underworld

Have you ever read a book that starts off with a quote that makes the book sound so deep, but then it all of a sudden goes to when a kid named Conor tries to kill a spider, but fails. I have and that's how the book I'm reading (Texting The Underworld) starts. The genre of this book is fantasy-fiction. To be honest this book wasn't my favorite, it didn't interest me as much as I hoped.

The book starts off with a boy named Conor, living his normal awkward teenage life.
Emily P.
Mar 14, 2017 Emily P. rated it it was amazing
It was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. The beginning isn't so great but it kicks in.
Sophia F
Reading the back of the book strangely captivated me enough to pick it up off the shelf and read it, but I am extremely glad it did!
A story involving Conor, (AKA Pixie) who is easily frightened and deathly afraid of spiders, encounters his family's Banshee Ashling, who is supposed to turn into a wraith and kill one of his family members. He decides to venture into the Underworld to make a deal with the 'Lady', and save one of his family members.
The beginning, although interesting, was rapidly be
Sep 18, 2013 Brenda rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Texting the Underworld is about twelve year old Conor O'Neill who lives in South Boston with his parents, younger sister and next door is his Grandpa or Grump as he is lovingly called. Conor's little Irish neighborhood is home to the frequent sounds of car alarms and the screech of owls, but Grump knows that those sounds are really the “keen” of a banshee come to weep for the person about to die. So when red-blond headed Ashling appears to Conor foretelling that someone in the O'Neill family is ...more
Nov 30, 2013 Kristen rated it really liked it
Texting the Underworld starts off with the reader meeting Conor, a boy who is afraid of spiders and definitely not seeking out adventure. When a banshee named Ashling shows up in his room, he knows there will be a death in his family. Ashling is there to stay, curious about middle school and may not enjoy her new job as a banshee, but she knows she must go through with it or go crazy. Conor decides to talk to his grandfather about what is going on and he assumes he will be the one that will be ...more
Alexis {InsideThePages}
The whole idea behind this book was very interesting. Especially since it had Celtic Folklore in it! I mean come on people, who doesn't like some good folklore once in a while. This time it was the Banshee and the Underworld. It was so cool oh my god.
I think this would be a great book for a tween readers and so on. Since it really isn't a YA novel. But it was still a good read none the less.
The plot of this story was okay I guess. The whole idea was good, but there wasn't enough details in it to
Sep 03, 2013 Ryan rated it it was ok
Beyond the supernatural hijinks with a banshee and trips to the underworld - which were all pretty fun - was a story of a boy trying to figure out who he is while trying to live up to the expectations and needs of his father, who is trying to resolve his own childhood disappointments. Not an easy task, especially when dad can't see past his own disappointments and realize that his son may have different plans. While Conor's father loves his son and has the best of intentions, he discards Conor's ...more
Summer Rosswog
Oct 12, 2013 Summer Rosswog rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-reader
What do you do when you're an average kid from South Boston with a banshee from the Irish underworld hiding out in your game closet? In "Texting the Underworld," Ellen Booraem melds fantasy and realism brilliantly drawing upon Irish and other cultural lore surrounding death and the afterlife. Visiting with Conor and then rest of his family, the O'Neills of 36A and 36B Crumlin Street, is worth the read. However, a daring trip to the underworld is included, and Conor, who is predisposed to being n ...more
Karen Maurer
Nov 11, 2013 Karen Maurer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, children-s, fantasy
When I found myself tearing up this morning just thinking about this book - something the intended readers will most likely NOT do - I realized it deserved 5 stars.

It's not like Conor doesn't have problems already. He's short - so short that his nickname is Pixie. His father wants him to be a hockey player and go to BU. Conor is not fond of hockey and has no idea where he wants to go to college. His younger sister is a pain. And now a 1600 year-old redheaded female banshee, who died when she wa
Nov 12, 2013 Angie rated it really liked it
Conor O'Neill has a banshee named Ashling hiding in his game closet. Ashling has come to announce the death of one of the members of the O'Neill family, but doesn't know who. Conor doesn't want anyone in his family to die. Grumps wants to be the one to die instead of anyone else. Little sister Glennie doesn't believe half of what Conor says and is a royal pain. Mom and dad are clueless in so many ways. Mom insists on calling Conor Pixie which doesn't help his image at all and dad is trying to fo ...more
Dawn Moews
May 03, 2014 Dawn Moews rated it really liked it
I thought this was a fun book. I believe it would appeal to intermediate and middle graders alike.

I felt that Connor's character was the most fully developed, but that's natural since he was the narrator. We only got to know the other characters (Ashling, Glennie, Grumps, Javier, and Connor's parents) through Connor's lens. Still, I think the overall character development was well-done, and I know that I enjoyed getting to know these people.

I did think the title was clever but a little misleadin
Feb 13, 2014 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
I got this book because Kirkus listed it as one of the best books of 2013. Started it and thought the first line of Chapter One would put off the seriously arachnophobic, "Death stalked the spider, pre-algebra book in hand. The spider was slightly bigger than a pencil eraser..."
By chapter's end twelve year old Conor O'Neill is visited by a red-haired, inexperienced teen banshee,Ashling. She is sent to keen for the upcoming death of one of the descendents of the Ui Neill clan. Despite the interes
May 23, 2014 Debra rated it liked it
Once again the cover art and the title made it leap off the shelf. Conor is a wimp, afraid of spiders and most everything else. Then the banshee drops in. A beautiful red-head from ancient Ireland via the Underworld. She is waiting for the Death to occur in Conor's house, keen for the soul and then escort that person to the Underworld.
But whose death is it that she is waiting for? Conor suspects it is his grandfather, but Ashling, the banshee really does not know. So she waits, hanging out in
Aug 31, 2014 Helen rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015waw-options
This fantasy WAW possibility was a bit far fetched for me, but still enjoyable. Conor is likable and tries to deal with Ashling, the banshee who has come to escort someone in his family to the underworld. Conor's grandfather Grump wants to "challenge the birds" to gain the power to choose who from the family should die, so he, Conor, and his sister Glennie fly with Ashling to the underworld with the help of his best friend Javier who texts back and forth with Conor, hence the title. Conor ends u ...more
Jul 02, 2013 Phoebe rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Deborah, Valerie
It's delightful to have a new Ellen Booraem novel to read, after her wonderful Small Persons With Wings. South Boston kid Conor O'Neill is a worried 12-year-old, but when a banshee arrives in his life things take a marked turn for the worse. Banshees appear shortly before a Death, and Conor has no idea who in his family is about to go. Also, why is he having weird snatches of memory from a long distant past, involving Ashling, the banshee, when she was alive? This is a solidly grounded fantasy, ...more
Saleena Davidson
Jan 22, 2015 Saleena Davidson rated it really liked it
Conor O'Neill is pretty much afraid of everything; so when he accidentally encounters a banshee who is foretelling of a death in his family; he is completely unprepared. Watching the banshee, Ashling, as she tries to learn about life in the world (she's been gone since the 1600s), he finds himself having odd dreams of her life & death as well as struggling to figure out what he can do to stop the family member from dying. His struggle will take him all the way to the realm of the Underworld, ...more
Nov 07, 2014 Nour rated it it was amazing
"Texting the Underworld" is a wonderful book, that talks about a twelve year old boy named Conor O'neill. He is scared of spiders so much that he asks his sister Glennie to kill them. That night a banshee came o his room, he thought it was a dream and none of it was real he even tried to convince himself that. But then, the banshee called Ashling explained how she died and that the Lady sent her which means someone in his family or friends or even him will die. Now Conor is dealing with Ashling ...more
Sophie Tamashiro
Nov 28, 2015 Sophie Tamashiro rated it really liked it
This book is for those who enjoy reading creepy fictional stories that will take you into a whole new dimension of wonders. Booraem created lots of suspense for Conor and Ashling because there were a lot of events that literally involved choosing between life or death matters. Throughout this book, there are lots of what you could call, little "hints" that would only make sense to the reader if you read the beginning of the book. This certain style portrays throughout the story's concept as it s ...more
Jan 23, 2013 Marian rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, middle, 2013-read
Better than I expected, and more surprising. I was initially uncomfortable with how everyone in Conor's life treated and talked to him, but somehow without ever really addressing the issue, the author makes it clear that their attitudes aren't okay and that Conor's opinion of himself matters more than anyone else's.

I really appreciate that the point of Conor's growth isn't to become someone else, someone willing to throw rules to the side and damn the consequences--he simply grows up enough to m
Ellen Brandt
Irish Mythology, realistic fiction and adventure! 12 year old Conor O'Neill sees himself as a hopeless wimp. He has many talents (map-making, math, art) butfeels he is a failure because he is not the macho, athletic kid that his father wants him to be.
And then a banshee drops into his life.
The O'Neill family banshee.
Which means that someone in HIS family is about to die.
Conor finds the courage to adventure to the Underworld to negotiate with 'the Lady' to keep someone he loves from dying.
But, of
Lonna Pierce
Aug 23, 2013 Lonna Pierce rated it liked it
The O'Neill family (a kingly line back in Irish history) is visited by a banshee & havoc ensues as more is revealed about the ancient ancestral spirit's purposes in present-day South Boston. Conor, meek and tenative, is terrified of Ashling, the banshee, but eventually grows to be a hero. Filled with funny dialogue, the book will also please fans of Chiron, Persephone, Neral, and other underworld mythological creatures. Mid-grade readers will enjoy this unusual fantasy. After all, Death is t ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Mrs. rated it liked it
Shelves: banshees, family
This book will most likely appeal to paranormal fans. The storyline, while taking the reader into the world of Celtic mythology and the "Underworld", is a lighter look at the topic than many other current titles. Some humorous moments occur such as "phoning for an answer" and underworld cronies being diverted by video games.There are plenty of deeper topics such as "to everything there is a season" and who has a right to decide who dies at what time.
A paranormal adventure that will appeal to a s
May 12, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-reading
Texting the Underworld is a fun read for middle-schoolers who are fans of the Percy Jackson type. Although not quite as involved as those story lines, Texting the Underworld's layers of fantasy and Celtic history will hold the attention of readers who have an interest in fantasy. A clever twist on modern life meets ancient worlds.
A quick read, which will grab the attention of even the more reluctant readers in the room.
Lil Akili
Mar 03, 2016 Lil Akili rated it really liked it
Txting the underworld
Txting The underworld by Ellen Booream is about a true scaredy cat named Connor O’neil is just texting his friends until one night, a banshee shows up in his room. He becomes scared for his life and knows that someone is going to die. It’s just a matter of finding out who is going to die. He tries to ask the banshee who but she doesn’t say anything. Who dies? Who lives? Read and find out.
A quirky book about a boy facing a dilemma - the impending death of a member of his family. It was pretty slow moving but intriguing enough to push through to the end. Not a heap of action in this bad boy.

The worldview is ancient celtic spirituality mixed with a little reincarnation so it was interesting to explore a world with that point of view and good for discussing with your child should they be reading it.

Likeable characters too.
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A former small-town newspaper reporter and editor, Ellen Booraem is the author of three fantasies for ages 10 and up: TEXTING THE UNDERWORLD (Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers, 2013) SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS (Penguin/Dial, 2011) and THE UNNAMEABLES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Books, 2008).

SMALL PERSONS has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and K
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