Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Undertow (Undertow #1)” as Want to Read:
Undertow (Undertow #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Undertow

(Undertow #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  5,273 ratings  ·  1,015 reviews
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the oth ...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Undertow, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sandra Ngo
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Sandra Ngo All three are out! Second last one was published in September 2016 ^^

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,273 ratings  ·  1,015 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
“You clueless jellyfish. My people would have you thrown into the Great Abyss to prevent you from mating and creating more dull-witted minnows. No wonder these sea cucumbers are so simple.”


This book was absurd and silly. I'm not saying that it's a ridiculous book because it prominently features nonexistent mermaids and sea folks at all. In reading, there is this thing called willing suspension of disbelief, meaning that the reader will pretend that a book's subject matter is plausible, no matt
...more
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

There's an episode of Farscape that's a lot like this book.

John Crichton travels through a wormhole back to earth, and Dargo, Rigel, and Aeryn follow him out of concern, only to be held hostage by the government b/c ALIENS: we must study them, and by "study" I mean "dissect."

It turns out to be an advanced race of aliens running a simulation in John's brain to determine whether or not Earth would be a viable planet for them to integrate themselves into (their own planet
...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
So the Alpha have came to town. Or Coney Island rather. At first everyone thought it was a cute oddity, then they realized that these "fish people" would want to go to school with their kids!


People talk about Coney Island's pre-Alpha days like they were magical, like we all lived in the Disneyland of Brooklyn. They forget our "Disneyland" was actually a garishly painted slum in a crumbling neighborhood with rampant crime, a busy sex trade, a methadone clinic, and a school system in the toilet.
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Looks like the cheese sure stands alone on this one . . .

Houston commercial photography

Let me ‘splain myself. There are certain things that grab my attention/make me want to read something ASAP. Those things are of both the bright and shiny variety which is a beautiful cover (check) and saying things like the story contained within the purrrty cover will be “a blend of District 9 and The Outsiders” (check). When said story doesn’t deliver I have much disappoint
...more
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life

4 Stars!

I am a little shocked by how much I ended up enjoying this book. I thought it was entertaining and unique. I am completely impressed by the originality of the overall story. I will admit that I made the decision to read this book based purely on the cover of the book. I understand that this is not a good way to choose a book and I have been mislead by many interesting book covers. Once I started reading the book, I realized that this w
...more
Paula M. of Her Book Thoughts!
DNF at 28%

Despite its very intriguing blurb that really appealed to me the first time I read it.... Undertow failed to keep me interested. Sea creatures or books about sea creatures is very hard to come by, at least for me. That's why I literally squealed when I read the synopsis of Undertow.

The last book I read about characters who are in a sea environment was Atlantia by Allie Condie and it was all kinds of epic fail, I'm still trying to erase it on my mind. And now this!! Should I just stick
...more
A.G. Howard
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read! I adored the heroine and her relationships with family/friends. A unique sci-fi YA complete with alien life forms and set against an abandoned and crumbling Coney Island. Action packed and emotional with an insightful nod toward social cause and effect.
Edward Lorn
*I received a free ARC in return for a honest review. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the swag*

Due to New York state statute BS-101, it is allegorically impossible to hate a book wherein a character named Minerva is mentioned. See also: Maleficent, Ursula, and That One Chick Who Gave Snow White A Goddamn Apple.

Yup. It’s gonna be one of those reviews.

For all the content that Undertow gets wrong or blatantly rips off, it’s not an unenjoyable book. The writing flows beautifully, and the
...more
Dana

This book started with a very strong start, but unfortunately my interest fell quickly due to some cheesiness involving the love interest and a lack of action. The plot is very original and even reminded me a little of District 9, which I love. However it just wasn't able to live up to its potential.

Lyric was a decent character, although I had a big issue with her going after a “taken” man. Other than her slightly unseemly actions I did like her, and found her to be a realistic character. The t
...more
Yodamom
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars- Wow, I really loved this world. It had be visualizing The Pirates of the Caribbean at times which was another bonus for this read. Small bit of teen angst didn't really interfere with the story. Yes, it had that one special snowflake person that seems to run a muck in the present YA reads but this snowflake had many humble moments to balance all the "Bling"
A future romantic interlude ? There was a taste and then it was thrown out to sea. A love triangle with many different angles but
...more
AH
I didn't expect to love this as much as I did. Undertow was a fun read about a new kind of alien invader - The Alpha or First Men - or what we would have called mermaids. But these aren't the beautiful women with fish tails. They are strong and fierce warriors. And they are on the shores of Coney Island. Thirty thousand of them.

In an attempt to integrate the Alpha with the human population, the Alphas are invited to attend the local high school, much to the chagrin of the humans. In scenes remi
...more
Steven
Undertow by Michael Buckley
Published 2015, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group
Stars: ★★★★☆
Review also posted at: Slapdash & Sundry

Kind thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this for review purposes. It was much appreciated!

I sink down farther, completely submerging myself. It's down here where I feel the most safe, where the headaches retreat, where the roar of the water drowns out the thrum.

Lyric Walker is different. She hasn't always known, but she knows now. Her family
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.com

I fell in love with this book. I have never read anything remotely like this.. yet.. anyway.

The whole concept of these different species of aquatic people called the Alpha is so cool to me. I'm already looking forward to the next book!

I love most of the characters, the bad guys are really bad and just suck though!

So the Alpha's want their kids to start going to school with the human kids and this causes all sorts of chaos as you can imagine. I mean there ar
...more
Bonnie
‘All of them were in a state of metamorphosis. Tails became legs. Fins sank into flesh. Gills vanished, causing their owners to choke on their first breaths of air. There were elderly creatures, babies, teenagers, and families, all climbing onto the beach, eyeing us with wide-eyed wonder. At first they numbered in the hundreds, then thousands, until eventually I could no longer see the sand for all the bodies.’

Three years ago, a mysterious species of ocean-dwellers emerged from the depths of t
...more
Lauren
Honestly, I picked this book off the shelves because I loved the cover. I know, I know, "don't judge a book by its cover" but you know what, I totally do and I'm pretty sure 99% of us do. It's there for a reason and it's meant to draw us in and in this case, it definitely worked. But all that aside, I loved it.

I had no idea what to expect from this book, I hadn't even heard about it until I grabbed it off the shelf and I'm kind of glad I didn't know anything about it.

You hear a book involved me
...more
Amanda
This is another one of my finds from the used book sale that I went to. I absolutely loved the cover and read a few sentences of the blurb before I was sold on this one. That cover is absolutely gorgeous! I am glad that I found this book, Undertow was unlike anything thay I had ever read before, and in the genre of YA fantasy, that is quite the challenge. Michael Buckley has a fierce imagination that brought human/fish mutants to life with descriptions that made it possible to visualize creature ...more
Kaitlin O
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1st-nine-weeks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
 ⇝LEAH⇜
Another stunning cover…
description

⇝Ratings Breakdown⇜

Plot: 4.2/5
Main Characters: 4/5
Secondary Characters: 4/5
The Feels: 3.8/5
Pacing: 4.2/5
Addictiveness: 4.2/5
Theme or Tone: 4.3/5
Flow (Writing Style): 4.5/5
Backdrop (World Building): 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Book Cover: 5/5
Narration: 4/5
Ending: 4.2/5 Cliffhanger: "to be continued"
Steam Factor 0-5: 1
Narration: Jennifer Grace
Setting: Coney Island
Source: Audiobook (Library)

Total: 4.2/5 STARS - GRADE=B+

⇝My Thoughts⇜


This book started out fantastically for me, with i
...more
Heidi
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three stars: Mer people clash with humans and chaos ensues.

Lyric wishes she could pull the covers over her head and skip this day. Her best friend, Bex, has other ideas. Bex insists they have to look their best as they might be on tv. Today is the day that their Coney Island high school is being integrated. The new students are from the Alpha race, a group of mer people, who came out of the ocean three years ago. Lyric knows that trouble is going to ensue because humanity still hasn't accepted t
...more
Dianne
When you think of the beach at Coney Island, what do you think of? I’m guessing 30,000 ocean-dwelling warriors coming ashore wasn’t your first thought. Strong, fierce and trapped in a guarded camp on shore, the Alpha have arrived. But why? Do they mean harm or are they running themselves to survive? Have humans fouled the waters so badly? The once peaceful tourist attraction is now the epicenter of human fear, distrust and violence as once again, the Lady in the Harbor is made a mockery of becau ...more
Ena A
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sci-fi / Alien lovers
Recommended to Ena by: NetGalley
Shelves: review

I must admit, I had low expectations for Undertow initially. It seemed like your generic alien invasion dystopia – aliens come, aliens are misunderstood, aliens prepare for fight with humans, one human understands them and must stop the battle before it’s too late. Truthfully, the only problem with this book is the injustice any kind of summary can do to it.

I fell in love with Lyric instantly. After getting over the Walker family’s names, which were later explained and reasoned, I was free to gi

...more
Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi/James
Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

Usually people have a weak spot for the request button when it comes to ARCs, but for me it's read now button. That little green think will be the end of me, trust me. I just cannot resist it. It usually turns out to be a complete waste of my time, but it's rare books like Undertow that give me hope.

As I haven't read the blurb for this, I honestly expected it to be about circus. It's just the cover looks like circus and I somehow though it must be it. But, d
...more
BookCupid
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Don't call them Mermaids.

They prefer to be called Alpha. One day they showed up ashore on Coney Island and claimed refugee status. Now the youth are allowed to integrate high school, and due to a class stunt gone wrong Lyric is designated to introduce their prince, Fathom, to human life. But what will happen if he discovers her greatest secret -- that she isn't human either?

Alpha, Sirena, or even sons of the ocean -- Buckley created a new race with special fighting abilities. Of course, he mixed
...more
Lulai
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so don't ask me why, but this book was for me some kind of romance, and it absolutely false.

The world building is dark and the fear is the main aspect of the story. I like the way the author wrote about the fear of someone different, with a different way of live, how humain can be cruel without any reason exept fear. It was well done, and I like this.
Kristin Hackett (SuperSpaceChick)
Originally posted on Super Space Chick:

Undertow by Michael Buckley is a young adult novel that I was so pleased to have discovered at Barnes and Noble during one lunchtime book shopping rendezvous. It’s the first book in a new dystopian trilogy which takes place on Coney Island and involves a race of Mermaids (this appeals to me on many levels). They set up a camp of tents in the area where the famous roller coaster once stood (as depicted on the beautiful cover). The government decides they sho
...more
Christina
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4.5 stars
So, I admit, I originally added this to my tbr pile because I loved the cover :-/ which, as we all know, can either go really good or really horribly bad. It worked out great this time around.

We all hear about aliens and about how vast space is, how there are so many believers out there convinced that one day Earth will be invaded by them. But how many stop and think the same about Earth's very own oceans? Because the fact of the matter is, Humans still haven't been able to explore the
...more
Once
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
First thing first, this book was insane. Secondly, it is rare. And third of all, it was a great read!

I honestly believed this was about aliens but they are more of mermaids-type-of-aliens… ish? But the hot kind. Who cares if they’re aliens/mermaids when you are staring at a god? I do have to admit that I made the decision to review this book based on the cover….SHOCKER! However, what impress me the most, once I started reading is how original the story is. Something I haven't read before.

Underto
...more
Tonyalee
See this review and more on my blog, Lilybloombooks

Undertow was one of my most anticipated Spring releases this year - I mean hello, sea creatures coming on land and just camping out in Cooney Island? H-YES! After reviews were popping up and a lot of MEHS were going around, I got really, really nervous. But I pushed out the MEH and drove right in.

And I REALLY liked it!

My favorite parts? Well, I loved how descriptive and gruesome the Alpha's were. It was like all of Davy Jones' crew jumped ship a
...more
Shelley
*Genre* Young Adult, Science Fiction, Paranormal
*Rating* 4.0

*My Thoughts*

Undertow is the first book in the trilogy known as Undertow by new to me author Michael Buckley. 3 years ago, then 14-year old Lyric Walker watched with her mother and father as 30,000 beings known as Alphas, walked out of the ocean, and came ashore at Coney Island where they were feared by some and welcomed by others. As a 17-year old, Lyric, who suffers from severe and debilitating migraines, lives in a world where the Al
...more
Courtney Wells
Jun 03, 2015 marked it as to-read
Proof that snazzy covers and GoodReads advertisements do make me want to read the summary of a book sometimes.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
YA Buddy Readers'...: Undertow by Michael Buckley-- starting March 28th 8 8 Apr 01, 2018 02:59PM  
Fantasy Romance: Undertow Michael Buckley 5 12 Oct 25, 2015 09:29AM  
Fantasy Romance: * BOTM JULY 1 7 Jul 14, 2015 11:10PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Material Girls
  • After the Red Rain
  • The Hunted (The Living, #2)
  • While You Were Gone (Duplexity, #2)
  • Stone Rider
  • The Battle of Darcy Lane
  • Fourth World (Missing Link, #1)
  • The Aftermath (Aftermath #1)
  • The Sisters of Witchdown (Hexed Novels, #1)
  • A Match Made in Heaven (My Boyfriend Is a Monster, #8)
  • Ripped
  • Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star, #1)
  • Bomb
  • Flying (Flying, #1)
  • The League of Lasers (Star Scouts, #2)
  • Powerless (The Hero Agenda, #1)
  • Awakening
  • Tank Girl Armadillo!: A Novel
See similar books…
1,549 followers
New York Times bestselling author Michael Buckley was born in Akron, Ohio. He tried his hand as a stand-up comic and lead singer for a punk rock back before attending Ohio University. After graduating with honors he moved to New York City to be an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman which led to stints developing programming for Discovery Networks, MTV, MTV Animation and Klasky Csupo (pro ...more

Other books in the series

Undertow (3 books)
  • Raging Sea (Undertow, #2)
  • Heart of the Storm (Undertow, #3)