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Downsiders (Downsiders #1)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  3,169 ratings  ·  311 reviews
In a story of life underneath New York City, a world called Downside, a fully-functioning society exists. Inevitably, the two worlds collide when Tolan meets Lindsay, a Topsider. But a forbidden romance could mean punishment by death to any Downsider who breaks the rules.
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published November 10th 2009 by Turtleback Books (first published June 1st 1999)
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Fun story about this book. I read this back in high school and really liked it. I then in college got the urge to read it again because I had never run across another book with the same theme and I couldn't remember what it was called. Throughout the years I have tried to google "book about kids living under New York City" or "society underground in New York City" and never got any results. Extremely saddened I had given up. I am now reading Unwind by none other than Neal Shusterman. I have been ...more
Mary JL
Dec 27, 2008 Mary JL rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any fan of sf, fantasy or adventure
I have finished Downsiders. It is an unusual mix--not quite science fiction; more an urban fantasy. Reminded me not a little of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.

The clash between the Downside and Topside cultures is well well described in the book. Although meant for younger readers, I feel it could be enjoyed as a quick, easy read for an adult.

I don't do spoilers--but--I really liked the way it ended!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alisha Kodibagkar
Recently, I read Downsiders for my seventh grade school assignment. When I first opened it I thought, "okay, this book is for a school assignment, it probably stinks." However, when I read it, I realized it's actually a brilliant book. This contributes to the fact that Neal Shusterman's writing is very descriptive and entertaining. I found it especially interesting that one thing leads to another in a very unusual manner, but after you've read it, you really understand it. For example, the story ...more
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Jul 13, 2008 Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ppl who liked everlost, unwind, etc.
yay!!! neal shusterman has done it again! he is starting to become one of my favorite authors at this point! :) he definitely has a talent for creating believable worlds, interesting characters, realistic dialogue, and a truly original plot. i would probably give downsiders five stars if i hadn't read unwind--but comparing it to his other books, i have to give it four stars. but those four stars mean more than the usual four stars, if that makes sense. downsiders was not quite as compelling as u ...more
Duffy Pratt
Shusterman imagines that a part of the underclass really become an underclass - living in deep tunnels underneath the subways of New York. To preserve themselves, the Downsiders minimize their contact with Topsiders. Of course, this delicate situation threatens to blow up when the main character gets too curious about life above, and falls for a Topside girl.

While good, this lacked both the depth of character and the cleverness of either his Skinjacker or Unwind books. In general, this felt like
I wanted to love this. I would say that I liked it, I just wanted...more. I think the potential for some storytelling magic was here, I just didn't find it. I found the under world to be creative and wonderful and even wish some of the "history" presented here was true. Talon was hard to get a read on and because of that I couldn't figure out what he was going to do next-or cheer him on. Lindsey also seemed to have giant disconnect because her family issues were so prevalent. The Champ was, by f ...more
Janice Bonczek
I read this book a looong time ago, and decided to re-read it the other day, after finding it in my desk while cleaning. I had forgotten how much I liked this book!

It is a cute coming-of-age story with a fantasy twist. The two main characters in the book belong to different worlds. Lindsay is a girl who lives in Manhattan, and Talon is a boy who lives _under_ Manhattan, in a world called the "Downside".

An accident at Lindsay's home while it is being remodeled causes Lindsay and Talon to meet, ev
Makes me laugh that I STILL haven't finished The Lovely Bones.

Anyway, for some reason I've avoided borrowing this book for a long time. I think it might be because I thought I'd read it before, what being a Neal Shusterman fan, but apparently not. Thank god they republished it with another cover, or I would never have read it. Yes, I'm a horrible person, I judge books by their covers. And the new cover looked intriguing, so ... BUT mostly it was because I thought I'd read it, really.

I'm betting
Alex Murphy
May 29, 2008 Alex Murphy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the lovesick and fantasy fans
Downsiders is probably my favorite Neal Shusterman to date. To be honest, I'm a sucker for a cute romance, and that's what really got me about this one. But additionally, Neal Shusterman has created yet another fantasy world and infused it with enough real-life history and character to make it not only believable, but fascinating.

I've found that Neal Shusterman's endings to his books can be unsatisfying or muddled (not that it distracts TOO much from the rest of the gold mine). The ending to Dow
Ty Ward
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Summary: Talon lives in the vast tunnels under New York City with his family. Talon is part of a civilization of Downsiders who have rejected the surface world they call Topside. Talon’s world is without a leader and Talon is beginning to question the way things are done Downside. Talon’s encounter with Lindsey, a Topside girl, and crises that could lead to the destruction of Downside forces Talon to claim a new destiny for himself and his world.

Review: An enjoyable story that blends fact, urban
I didn't particularly like the way it was written. It had a very "removed" narrator with an almost historical voice, and the narrative voice was continually misleading in a very disingenuous way that I didn't care for.

However, the story was interesting, and my daughter (11) is enjoying it. And whlie it's quite far-fetched, as much sci-fi/fantasy is, it does show how small choices can lead to big consequences, and how one person can make a difference. An interesting read.
Terry Fedosky
Lindsay has been living with her mother. Now, she has been sent by plane to New York City, to live with her engineer father and his step-son Todd. Her life is about to change, forever.

Talon lives with his mom and little sister, in a hidden community below NYC, known amongst themselves as "Downside". Downsiders are forbidden contact with those above, whom they call "Topsiders".

Downside is a collection of the lost and forgotten, from the clothing, to the decorations, to the people themselves - Ol
Didn't hold my attention like Unwind. Interesting premiss but I felt the story line skipped around a lot. I thought there were several great speaking points in the book about respecting persons, about your mother recognizing you, and the thoughts that nothing had changed and the downsiders would still be considered 'in a poor light' by the topsiders, and therefore their perception by the public would cause the same problems that sent them underground in the first place.

People need to improve the
I have had this book on my shelf to read for years. I really enjoyed Shusterman’s Skinjacker trilogy and had picked up some of his older books to read. This was an okay read, it reminded a bit of a young adult version of Gaiman’s Neverwhere...but not as magical.

Talon lives under the streets of New York’s city in a secret community called Downsiders. Lindsey is forced to move to New York City to live with her dad, who is working on a project to create a new aqueduct for the city. Lindsey is lonel
Jeanne Boyarsky
I liked Everlost so picke dup another book by the same author. I liked this one too.

The author goes into a lot of depth describing the downsider world. I liked the map he included. As the main character explorers the world above the ground, it is fun seeing what he finds unique/odd. Halfway through the book, I was jarred that the main character was going to be executed, but then it made sense.

Since I live in New York City, it was cool seeing all the historical locations and facts he included. In
This was an odd story as most of Shusterman's stories are. He writes stories that are improbable, but he makes you think. He always has a bigger question going on in his stories.

There are so many discussion topics in this novel - so many themes. I liked the changes and growth in the characters and felt Talon's issues with learning the truth about his society were very true to life - much like what I've seen from people coming from the closed society I was raised in.

I always enjoy reading Shust
Meku Nguyen
This has to be one of my favorite books. Although I've read few books in my lifetime, this story has brought an entirely new world and imagination into my brain. During the story, (which I believe was a bit jumbled at the beginning) my mind was able to create a living picture of the characters as they pondered their life-changing decisions and explored new areas.

It was nice being introduced to a new world of imagination. Thank you very much to Neal Shusterman, and I look forward to reading Downs
In Downsiders Shusterman introduces a very abstract idea. Before picking up this book i was a bit skeptical but after reading it i was surprised to find it was actually a great book. It immediately drew me in with its swiftly progressing plot and interesting characters. I was on the edge of my seat the throughout the whole book. The ending was a cool twist to an already great story. The only downside of this book is that there isn't a sequel. This is a great read, i would definitely recommend it ...more
There are few authors working today who are as good as Neal Shusterman at making a story idea rise to its absolute potential, and that is exactly what he has done in the creation of Downsiders.

Deep beneath the throbbing heart of New York city, under the constant swarming of a metropolis that expels enough energy to rival Las Vegas, lives an entire civilization on its own, apart from anything set up by the regular world that we know. The mysteries of this "Downside" world are constant and impos
Shusterman has yet to disappoint, the ideas he comes up with for his books are mind-blowing and so captivating. We have his Skinjacker series, where he has created a world between life and death, His novel Unwind, where parents can have their children literally taken apart, body part by body part. And now, his novel, Downsiders where beneath New York a whole other world exists, and where they hang earrings that have fallen down the sewer grates and live in their own world that will amaze any Top ...more
I must say that I did start this book with some reservations. Even though the story sounded intriguing I was a bit suspicious of it after reading 'Neverwhere' by Neil Gaiman and 'Mind the Gap' by C. Golden and T. Lebbon, both books that also feature a sort of hidden world below a city, but that failed to make those worlds feel real to me. I was afraid Downsiders would fail to deliver as well.

And I was so wrong!!

This book is brilliant!! I love it with a passion! The whole Downside world, the char
I enjoyed this science fiction tale of an alternate world that exists below present-day New York City. They are the Downsiders, and they live below the streets, salvaging goods from Topsiders, or those who live above ground. Downsider Talon, a little bit of a rebel, likes to go exploring and spying on the Topsiders, and eventually gets caught in the act. He meets Lindsay, and is intrigued enough by her that he wants to show her his world. Mingling the two worlds is strictly forbidden, for the Do ...more
There are Topsiders and Downsiders, and never shall the two mix. Well, at least according to Downsiders. They live under New York City, in abandoned tunnels and forgotten cavities that once housed subways or theaters that have collapsed. They feel superior to Topsiders.

Enter Talon. He's a young Downsider, curious of Topsider ways. He meets Lindsay, a Topsider, recently moved to NYC to live with her dad, and everything he has believed about life is shaken.

This book was confusing for the fact the
I absolutely love Neal Shusterman's writing. There is just something about his way with words that intrigues me. Not to mention Unwind is probably one of my favorite books ever. I absolutely CANNOT wait until UnWholly comes out in 2 months.

Anyway, back to the book at hand. Downsiders was a good story. I was intrigued by the world that was built. The life of the Downsiders was quite intriguing. How they came to be and how to managed to exist in secrecy was all so interesting. I really like that S
Ian Jones
By:Neal Shusterman

Talon is what is called a Downsider. He lives in the most secretive part. Underground. But once he meets Lindsay, a girl who lives on the surface, also know as the dreaded Topside, the Downside and Topside collide and the fate of the downside is left in Talon's hands.
This book is about the relationship between a Downsider named talon, and a Topsider named Lindsay. The problem with their relationship is that it is illegal in Talon’s community for Talon to interact wi
This review is also on my blog

Actual Rating: 3.5

Downsiders, as one of Neal Shusterman’s earlier novels, is as intriguing and well-written as his other books. I’m a big fan of the Unwind series, as well as one of his stand-alone novels Bruiser, and the summary alone for this book drew me in. While it’s evident that this book is one of his first, it still possesses sparks of what made his other books such great reads for me.

In terms of genre, it’s very difficult to cast. I’d say it’s a mix between
Emilee (Fantastical Paper Realm)
Reviewed for http://fantasticalpaperrealm.blogspot...

The story:
Lindsay’s been discarded. Sent across the country to a city so large it threatens to swallow her whole. Her workaholic father is never there and she’s left with her un-brother who hates her guts. She’s lost and alone, not even really knowing herself. Until she sees a pair of eyes in the dark, that is.
Talon is full of questions and desires that no Downsider should ever even entertain. When his sister grows ill he’s forced to go into
The theme of people “living below,” near, and yet separate, has always interested me. I think what first piqued my interest was hearing about the tunnels at Disneyland for cast members. The idea of people enjoying the park while employees went about their daily business right beneath the feat really caught my imagination in elementary school. Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, also touching on this theme, impressed and fascinated me a few years later. Though Downsiders seems less complex and more juvenil ...more
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Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movi ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Downsiders (2 books)
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“Cities are never random.
No matter how chaotic they might seem, everything about them grows out of a need to solve a problem. In fact, a city is nothing more than a solution to a problem, that in turn creates more problems that need more solutions, until towers rise, roads widen, bridges are built, and millions of people are caught up in a mad race to feed the problem-solving, problem-creating frenzy.”
“...New Beginning to the same old story” 7 likes
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