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The Undrowned Child (The Undrowned Child #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  859 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
Teodora has always longed to visit Venice, and at last she has her chance. But strange and sinister things are afoot in the beautiful floating city. Teo is quickly subsumed into a secret world in which salty-tongued mermaids run subversive printing presses, ghosts good and bad patrol the streets, statues speak, rats read, and librarians fluidly turn into cats. And where a ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published July 2nd 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
All her life Teodora has wanted to visit Venice, but her adoptive parents have always resisted. Now Venice is sinking faster than ever before and strange things are stirring, and her scientific parents have been called from Naples to attend a convention to figure out the problem and its solution while the Mayor of Venice pretends that nothing is wrong and that children aren't dying.

Eleven year old Teo happily explores the ancient city and, when it falls on her head in an old bookshop, acquires
Barbara Gordon
This is definitely a book bursting with invention, and the prose style is perfect for the setting (though I could have done without some of the winks to adult readers about the Biennial). I'll be adding Teo to my Bookish Protagonists list, too.
Yet it didn't work for me. If I weren't stuck in bed, I might have put it down unfinished, but I soldiered on. There is so much to like - the rowdy mermaids, the Cat-archivist - yet it didn't hold my interest. Perhaps there was simply too much invention, o
Oct 21, 2009 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Take one adopted child call Teodora, add a cursed city under siege from vindictive ghosts seeking revenge, a huge monster slowly coming awake under the Venice lagoon, cannibal seagulls, anti-establishment mermaids, a vain friend and one handsome Venetian boy and you have all the ingredients for a spectacular adventure in real life Venice of 1899.

Teo is an unusual child in many ways. She has never believed she belonged in Naples and when she finally persuades her scientist family to take her Ven
Rhiannon Ryder
Jul 19, 2010 Rhiannon Ryder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back in March I ran into this book during a children's and YA book sale. I won't lie, this book has the most beautiful cover art of any book I've ever seen, and that would be one hundred percent why I picked it up. Even the end pages were gorgeous!
But then I picked it up and read the blurb, it was set in Venice! One of my dream European cities. Ok, so the premise sounded like it had promise too, but really, I might have bought it anyhow.
Venice + Pretty book= sold.

It's nice to have no real expect
Overall Review: What a lovely, exciting and thorough story! By the time I finished this book, I felt like it could be possible for me to walk through Venice and name every building I saw! I loved the history; I loved the descriptions; I loved the fast pace and the excitement and the mystery! I even loved the fact that after the story was finished, there was an entire section on what was true in the story (people and events) and a section about the buildings and places mentioned! Some wonderful, ...more
Jul 30, 2012 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I came by this book at a bookshop sometime last year, and since then has been knocking around in a cupboard up until a few months ago. I got this book finished in a few days (when I finally picked it up!)
I loved the fact the story was set in Venice in the early 1900s. The only downside to this book was the amount of romance. Though I do suppose this is a children's book! I at the time I thought there was too much action, and not enough social situations!
4 Stars

First thing’s first – I adore Venice and so am horribly biased in this books favour. It’s a far from perfect book, and I’ll get onto that later, but it really does capture the magic of the city. Or at least it did for me; how someone who has never visited the place would find it though…I’m not that sure. In fact I would probably only gift this to a child who already had some knowledge of, or better yet had actually been to Venice. There’s a handy map with key locations on at the very star
Feb 09, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to do something I don't normally do: comment on a book before I've finished it. Just after starting it, actually, because there are so many things about it I'm enjoying already. A three-page table of contents with very intriguing chapter titles. A map of Venice in 1899, with a legend for key locations in the plot to come. A surprisingly dark prologue, containing the evil murder by drowning of an innocent extended family on their way to baptize their most recent addition; and I don't th ...more
Jun 28, 2011 Karissa rated it really liked it
I got an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program. I love historical fantasies, especially ones set in Europe, so this sounded like an excellent read to me. In general I really enjoyed the story, all of the history, the fantastical creatures, and the Venice setting.

Teodora has always longed to visit Venice. Finally her scientific parents are called to help with the problem of Venice sinking and Teo is allowed to accompany them. There Teo is hit on the head by a mysterio
Jun 23, 2011 Brittany rated it really liked it
Teo dreams of visiting Venice. As a book worm she spends days pouring over books with detailed descriptions of what a wonderful city it is. When her parents get a letter that says they are needed (they're scientists) in Venice, Teo leaps at the opportunity to tag along. Unfortunately her parent's colleagues are bringing their daughter Maria along. Maria only cares about fashion, she scoffs at Teo who always has her head in a book. Luckily they come to an arrangement where their parents will thin ...more
It just wasn't very good. Lots of good ideas, not executed well. Far too much crammed in. Take Teo, for example. She's the Undrowned Child, the Lost Daughter, she can see people's words written above their heads, read upside down and backward, has a photographic memory, can read people's hearts by touching their chests, is able to learn new dialects and use unfamiliar languages near-instantaneously, et cetera et cetera. It's too much. It's also too long. I was completely sick of
Jul 09, 2011 Ramie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
The short version? People will probably compare this to books like Harry Potter. In a generic sense it could be fair - There's a bad guy who is cursed, there is magic afoot, and really for all practical purposes only the children are useful in saving the world they care about (here that world is simply the city of Venice), there are some fantasy creatures and it's a fairly long story for a childrens book.

On the other hand The Undrowned story takes place in Venice and attempts to drop us right t
Aug 06, 2011 Chelsea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Teodora is certain about two things in her life: the first that she is adopted, and the second that she belongs in Venice. Hanging out at the old bookstore all day is the perfect life for Teo. That is, until a mysterious book falls onto her head and knocks her unconscious. The book is titled The Key to the Secret City, and suddenly Teo's life will never be the same again. There is more to Venice than meets the eye, and Teo and her friend Renzo are about to see it all firsthand. Plus, something e ...more
Mar 29, 2010 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The moment I started this book I knew I would love it. I'm a sucker for anything set in Venice anyway, but the opening pages told me that this was a writer with a story to tell. I was excited at the prospect of getting lost in the plot...

One of the main characters in this book has problems with verbosity. He cannot recant a tale without filling in details that drag the story out unnecessarily. This is an unfortunate ailment from which Michelle Lovric herself seems to suffer, along with a tendenc
At first glance, this book seemed like it was written for me. Magic, mystery, and mermaids in an alternate Venice of 1899. What could be better? Unfortunately, there was simply too much going on in this book, and at times it was hard to follow the thread. (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 27, 2013 Calimero747 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paper-books
At first it looked like this book had EVERYTHING. I picked it up in the library, saw the cover, read it was about MERMAIDS and Venice and magic and dark stuff, had a love story and an awesome heroine... you know how it goes.

So I started reading and at first it really was everything I could want from a book. But then... I can't explain it. It was too full of everything. The whole book was a giant twist. Or maybe a pile of smaller twists. A really giant pile. Full of unnecessary crap.

I had a lot o
Kim McGee
Aug 16, 2011 Kim McGee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book. I would recommend this for the LoneStar award ! Michelle Lovric gives you a true sense of life in Venice in the late 1800's and mixes in a powerful combination of the creepy and mysterious. Teo is feeling a bit lost while visiting Venice from her native Naples when she is hit on the head by an old book. The book leads her on a mad dash around Venice along with a young guy she meets along the way to save Venice from an ancient evil guy who is regaining power and sending his ...more
Samantha-Ellen Bound
The Undrowned Child is a book that makes me excited about books – about the art of story-telling, about imagination, about the cleverness and beauty of the English language, about great characters and about the ability of a story to transport you someplace else. It was the best kids book I read last year. It is a shame it doesn’t seem to be well-known (as far as I can tell, in Australia). Maybe the release of the suquel, The Mourning Emporium, will change that – I hope so, because The Undrowned ...more
Jun 28, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this book from my niece, who loved the story as much as the beautiful cover, which she admitted was the reason she chose it. I was certainly not disappointed. The author skilfully brings the city of Venice to life (quite literally in parts) in this historical fantasy novel. The reader is taken on a wonderful journey through this magical city, as the central characters - Theodara and Lorenzo - uncover the truth behind the many strange and increasingly disturbing events, which threaten ...more
Charlou Lunsford
Feb 28, 2012 Charlou Lunsford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j, fantasy, middle-grade
First, mermaids in a good way. Don't judge this book by it's cover unless it's the blurbs on the back. Teodora is adopted and has wondered about her past. She seems to sense a place, a home, when her family goes to Venice. Strange things begin to happen when a book literally falls on her head. The book has a message just for her. The pages change to tell her what she needs. She teams up with a Venetian boy and they discover the ruin that is descending on 1899 Venice is the result of the return o ...more
Jun 27, 2009 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a disappointment. Apparently all scientists are unimaginative, rational and unable to appreciate art, mood or atmosphere. Being rational is intrinsically bad, also. Perhaps Ms. Lovric should meet some scientists, as in my experience many of them are keen on the arts and have to be imaginative in order to do their work. Did it not require imagination to propose that microscopic organisms are responsible for human disease?

Anyway, Lovric's prejudices aside, this is a fairly standard orphan
Nov 02, 2011 Edel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This is a book full of adventure and based in Venice. The story is filled with details and places from the real Venice and the action takes you all around the city and under it. It is a joy to read and will keep the pages turning . There is a good storyline to it and plenty of good and bad guys to keep you entertained. I have often wanted to go to Venice and this has just made me want to go even more. I will be getting the next book following this one to see where the next adventure takes me.
Elisa M
I had this book on my "to read" shelf for YEARS, took it home half a dozen times and returned it to the library unread, and FINALLY actually was able to start it. Imagine my disappointment when, 70 pages in, I realized that I just did not like it. I don't even know why! It just seemed like a big confusing jumble of characters and ideas. I can imagine that someone else might like it, it just was not for me.
Sep 27, 2010 Daisy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favourite books ever.
I was given this for my last birthday, I had asked for it because of the interesting title and beautiful cover.
It is probably one of the best books I have read, and I can't wait for the sequal, with yet another beautiful cover (The Mourning Emporium, out soon).
Jun 17, 2010 Ksboydie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
A great combination of fantasy and historical fiction. Set in 1899, the story is about Teodora who visits Venice when the city is facing imminent destruction by a malevolent ghost. It is up to Teodora, a boy called Renzo and a group of mermaids to save Venice. A great read that dragged in parts.
J.F. Penn
Feb 08, 2015 J.F. Penn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, paranormal
Glorious depiction of a fantastical Venice. I've been there in the floods and felt its dark undercurrents, so this felt true in many ways. Enjoyable read with lots of little details that will fascinate.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
I loved the prologue, with the family party piling into the gondola on a stormy night to take a young baby to be baptized. But the main part of the book seemed ... typical and unsubtle, with hints of a distractingly anachronistic viewpoint.
Jordan M.
May 19, 2012 Jordan M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really great book, I just found it a little slow in the beginning. The main conflict and plot of the story is really suspenseful and practically addicting, though. It is a great read.
Mar 18, 2012 Crystal rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. The only problem was, it took me until the middle of the book to figure out what time period it was set in. But that's just me. *shrugs shoulders*
I was excited to find a book with a character named Lorenzo. I suppose it's as close as I'll ever get.
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Michelle Lovric is a novelist, writer and anthologist.

Her third novel, The Remedy, was long-listed for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction. The Remedy is a literary murder-mystery set against the background of the quack medicine industry in the eighteenth century.

Her first novel, Carnevale, is the story of the painter Cecilia Cornaro, described by The Times as the possessor of ‘the most covetable l
More about Michelle Lovric...

Other Books in the Series

The Undrowned Child (2 books)
  • The Mourning Emporium (The Undrowned Child, #2)

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“Family is family,' sighed the gondolier. 'Family is everything,' declared Marta Gasperin, bending to kiss the old man on the cheek, at which he flushed. She added mischievously, 'Family and books, of course.” 12 likes
“Family is family," sighed the gondolier.
"Family is everything," declared Marta Gasperin”
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