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Beneath Paperback – March 29, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Fans of the "Tunnels" series (Scholastic, 2008) will enjoy Smith's latest. Pat and Coop were always close. Coop even let Pat help with his secret tunnel project under Washington, DC. But after an accidental gas explosion, Coop runs away. One year later, Pat receives a package with a recorder and a message that leads him on a mission to find and rescue his old friend. Smith spends much of the first 100 pages on backstory, though it is imperative to understanding the relationship between Pat and Coop had and why Pat is so motivated to travel alone to New York City to find him. This makes the pacing slow at first, but it increases dramatically once Pat makes it to the society under the city. The second half is better paced and action-packed. Beneath hits all the notes of an underground novel, with several allusions to classics such as Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth and H.G. Wells's The Time Machine. Avid lovers of adventure fiction will enjoy this quick read.—Patrick Tierney, Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School RI --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Avid lovers of adventure fiction will enjoy this quick read." -- School Library Journal
"Makes for a fast-paced, compelling read. Fans of Smith will not be disappointed." -- Booklist
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Top customer reviews
During a Christmas vacation after the divorce Pat’s dad and new sweetheart were going birding in Belize. Pat was supposed to go to visit his mom and her new boyfriend but he traded in the ticket and went to NYC to search for Coop. He’d heard from him via a voice recording and they’d been covertly corresponding for a while now. All he has is a Post Office Box number but that was a start.
This book is a fascinating account, done in diary and epistolary format, of the adventurous search one brother made to find his sibling. Coop has gone far underground beneath the streets of NYC where a whole society lives in the tunnels that were constructed hundreds of years ago. How these people live and support themselves offers some insight into many of the tangent microcosms that exist on the fringes of civilizations all over the earth. The author has geared this book for the Jr. High audience so has definitely sanitized his counter-culture sects but that does not detract in any way from the fascinating pictures he has drawn.
The characters in this story are riveting. The parents are educated, cold and aloof. The below-ground characters run the gamut from supportive to cynical and dangerous. What Pat and the reader find is that there is always the thread of community and the need for cooperation in order to survive. Following Pat’s journey through, not one, but two underground societies is a spellbinding journey for the reader.