Read Surface Tension by Meg McKinlay Online


When Cassie and Liam start swimming at the lake neither of them realises the dark secrets that lie beneath. As summer heats up and the lake waters become lower and lower, the shocking truth is slowly uncovered. And soon, both their lives will change - forever...

Title : Surface Tension
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781921720284
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 234 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Surface Tension Reviews

  • Andrea
    2018-12-01 21:38

    First, I didn't really realize this was a 'middle grades' YA book until about nowish, coming here to review it, but actually - that makes me all the more impressed with this book. It's a quiet sort of narrative - lots of inner monologue and a slowly unfolding plot that does a good job of keeping up the suspense. I really liked the main character and the way her relationships with her family were developed because I think the narrative choices made by the author keeps it very true to the age of Cassie. There is this huge gulf between self and family in the early teens and the things that you don't tell your parents are an important part of creating your self-identity. I really liked the few false leads used as a central mystery unfolded because they felt very true to life. Overall, I am super impressed at how well written this is and frankly it's a heck of a lot better than a lot of "adult literature" (Please mentally read that LIT-tra-chure") that I've read.

  • Michelle
    2018-12-19 00:38

    I found Surface tension quite slow yet it was still intriguing to keep me reading. Around half way through the book takes a turn and the pace picks up. This is a rather quiet novel with unique characters. As the characters open up, the story really is quite captivating. My age recommendation – 10-14 year olds plus anyone else who enjoys reading lower end YA

  • Chrissy
    2018-11-29 20:13

    The day that I was born, they drowned my town. The mayor flipped the lever, and everybody cheered. There were streamers and balloons and a really lame brass band. The people of Old Lower Grange ate sausages and potato salad while they watched their lives sink beneath a wall of water.Cassie was born early. As a result, she has been plagued with breathing difficulties throughout her entire young life thus far. Her doctor has instructed her to swim six laps a day, every day, to make sure she is strengthening her lungs as much as possible.Cassie was the first baby born in the new town, after the old one was completely drowned -- on purpose. Old Lower Grange was a town in the perfect location -- the problem, though, was that it was the perfect location for a dam, to provide easily accessible water to surrounding areas. So, the town was ceremoniously drowned with the switch of a lever and all of the townspeople were relocated to a new place, intended to look nearly identical to the home they left behind.Although the old location is clearly sectioned off with signs warning that no swimming is allowed, Cassie has never really been one to pay attention to signs. After all, Old Lower Grange is a modern day Atlantis, hiding many secrets under the waters. And with the summer being hotter and drier than ever, the water has been gradually receding, threatening to expose the dark secrets that someone intended to hide.You'd think that when you sink something under five thousand swimming pools' worth of water, it'd be drowned and gone. You'd think it would be done with. But somewhere inside me, I knew -- you can't just drown a town and call it over. Eventually, things have a way of floating to the surface...Can Cassie discover what is being hidden by the waters of Old Lower Grange? Or will those who have secrets to hide do everything in their power to stop Cassie -- and everyone else -- from seeing what lies below?----I really have to give kudos to McKinlay for the concept of Below -- I mean, what could be more exciting and intriguing than a literal hidden city and a teenage girl who is curious enough to uncover its secrets? The whole imagery here is just fabulous -- I was really able to picture this modern day Atlantis being explored by two curious, imaginative teens, which really helped to make this a compulsively readable little novel that seems geared towards the older middle grade or younger young adult audience.Now, I can't deny that I was a tiny bit let down once I learned the secrets of Old Lower Grage, because although the discovery was definitely huge and scandalous for the town, I think I was expecting something a little more frightening down there in the depths of the floods. To be fair, I don't think BELOW is intended to be a scary novel, and it *is* intended towards a bit of a younger crowd, so I do think the outcome is probably entirely fitting and relevant to its audience.BELOW is definitely worth the read, overall, and I encourage anyone who wants a quick read with a unique premise to go ahead and pick this one up when it is released on May 14.Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to preview an electronic version of the novel.

  • Emily Chanez
    2018-11-19 00:34

    The day Cassie was born, her town got submerged. While her mom was going into labor with her they were going the opposite way from the other people. As her town was slowly getting rid of water she felt like she was drowning with all the mysteries.It all started the day Cassie was born. The day Cassie was born it was a chaotic day because she was eight week early, her town was being submerged, and instead of going to safety she was going to the hospital because she was giving birth to Cassie. Twelve years later Cassie feels like she was a mistake and that her parents thought that too. There would be two types of conflicts in this book. One would be considered person vs. person because Cassie has doubt about herself and she thinks she was a mistake. The other one would be considered nature vs nature because the town was submerged by water.The title relates to the book because Cassie's town was "below" water. The setting adds to the conflict because she has doubts about her self or her town. There isn't the only conflict in the book. She slowly starts discovering secrets from her town as there is less water.I was satisfied with this book because of all the things that happen and how she reacts to them. If I were the author I would have added more twists. I would have added more twists to make the book more interesting. I give this book a three out of five because it needs more twists to make it more interesting. Not one of my favorites but not one of the worsts.

  • Melanie
    2018-11-23 22:23

    Cassie's family was not present when the mayor flipped a switch and drowned the town of Old Lower Grange. Residents then moved up the hill and formed the town of New Lower Grange. Cassie decided to enter the world when the old town was drowned; 8 weeks early. Having been a preemie baby Cassie has breathing trouble and therefore swims 6 laps a day. She gets tired of the local pool and decides to swim in the lake that is Old Lower Grange. School friend and town-pity case, Liam, soon joins her. Liam was involved in a horrible accident with his father when he was only 5 weeks old, resulting in awful scars covering his legs.Cassie and Liam quickly realize that something is wrong with the lake; it's shrinking. When they mention this to the town mayor, he becomes quite upset about it. Why? What's at the bottom of the lake that he doesn't want anyone to see? Readers would expect a murder mystery, or something truly awful. But all that's found is a rusty Mercedes, once belonging to the mayor. It becomes known that the mayor was involved in the crash that permanently maimed Liam. It was a hit and run.Yes, a hit and run is shocking, but it's not what reader's expect at the end of this story. Not a good ending, anyway. It's rather anti-climatic.Recommended for reader's who have nothing better to read.

  • Abby
    2018-12-18 00:39

    Below is a dystopian/fantasy-esque book that follows Cassie, a girl who was born on the day that her town was drowned. Yes, literally drowned—the mayor flipped a switch and the whole town that they once new was submerged in water. Twelve years after the drowing and relocating to Upper Lower Grange, Cassie and her friend Liam are determined to fill in the gray space. They know something is weird, and they are going to figure it out.I think this was a very good middle-grade read. While it wasn’t personally the most captivating story, I felt very connected to Cassie and Liam and was rooting for them the entire time. The book definitely had its lulls where I drifted off a bit, but the end was especially incredible—I was not expecting that whatsoever!

  • Susan
    2018-11-28 01:40

    Overall, I enjoyed this book.I very much appreciated Cassie, the protagonist. I thought Cassie was a thoughtful, sensitive, likeable character, who read a very realistic. I also enjoyed the friendship that developed between Cassie and Liam, especially as McKinlay wisely refrained from turning that relationship into a cheesy love story. Finally, the supporting cast of characters seemed to be realistic and interact with one another in the way that I would expect them too, including the dysfunctional relationships between Cassie and her family members, and they amongst themselves. For me there were only two minor drawbacks. One is that the book had a few too many repetitions - really how many times do I need to have the spiky ladder on the fire tree described to me? (fewer than was in the book). The other is that I was also looking for a bit more depth, but then again, this was a short book aimed at the average young reader, so it is possible that aspect is a function of me being outside the target audience. Yes, overall, an enjoyable read that dealt with some serious topics but without ever feeling bogged down or heavy with them.

  • Carolynn
    2018-12-17 23:39

    I loved this middle grade book! It was short but not to short, didn't include any tacky love stories and had an awesome mystery! I do so hate it when people try to make twelve year olds fall in love, instead of just be twelve. This book is a perfect slice of life, and I need to check out more of this authors books...

  • Jill
    2018-11-18 21:14

    Part mystery, part a story of courage and self-discovery, I loved this. The author does an awesome job with the characters, making them at once vulnerable and strong. The setting of the lake, the fire tree, and other elements made this come to life.

  • Abby
    2018-11-30 20:40

    This book was pretty good. Not necessarily one of my favorites. Honestly I was expecting a very awesome book. This book was good but was a bit....uh....well, boring!I would recommend you to read it though cause it is kind of good!4/5 stars

  • Abigail
    2018-12-12 23:12

    Interesting/weird/cool book. I personally enjoyed this book at certain points. It is a little boring at some parts but enjoyable. Worth a read Actual Review: 3.5/5 stars

  • Lucy Gottfried
    2018-11-21 23:40

    I think the book is good for young adult. i'm 16 and it's a quick read for me. but i enjoy the story. there's a bit or mystery and longing.

  • Heather
    2018-12-07 19:28

    Interesting imagery, of literal and figurative surfaces and things buried beneath them. The mystery element adds suspense -- but it's not a horror book at all (though bodyless heads are involved).

  • Bailee
    2018-12-07 00:12

    This book surprised me, which is something that rarely happens and it is typically something small. However this book was an all around surprising book for me and I definitely wouldn't have been able to guess how it ended, let alone what happened in the middle. Trust that it has a happy ending. Truthfully I hadn't realized that the town was legitimately submerged underneath water and so was the town's secrets. The plot flowed easily which made it that much easier to slip into the life of the main character as she struggled between who she is and the past that she didn't have a chance to be a part of. Cassie, the main character, was born early - that much was made clear. Perhaps, she shouldn't have been born at all or so some people believe. It would be hard to tear your family away from the triumphant moment when the town sunk beneath the water especially when it seems to haunt you since you were born. Despite all of the things that seem to be against her, she is amazingly smart and she has a vast knowledge about the town that she never saw - a town she never got the chance to know. Her lungs, under developed from her early birth, only seems to encourage her desire to see the town even if it is just from the surface of the lake as she swims across. Her intuitive nature and her desire for answers are what drives the whole story and it definitely brings about answers that will shock people. I was actually surprised with Liam, simply because he became a character that was so different from what I had conceived he would be. His life is what I would think would be the definition of hard, at least for me. He was born along with his twin brother in the original town, awhile prior to the idea of drowning the town was discussed. However he became deformed when his family got in an accident which killed his twin brother and forever changed his father from the man he once had been. Liam partly blames himself and because of that Cassie was able to form a connection with him. I think he has a crush on her though and in many ways I think they are perfect for each other. He is a great kid that loves his family and looks out for his dad. Not what I expected but something I definitely loved. Her parents are polar opposites from each other and yet they both attempt to show Cassie love in their own unique way which sometimes only seems to hinder their relationship with them. It's clear they didn't want another kid and didn't need one, so how can they have some deep bond that most claim to have with their kids? Her mom is a history teacher, who had taken off time to raise a family and once the two older kids had gotten older, returned to work. She practically raised Cassie in the class room. She is overly protective of her and certainly treats her other kids different. Cassie sees that it is unfair. Her dad is the artist of the family and a free spirit. He doesn't see the world like everyone else and he takes a more gentle approach with how to love his youngest child. He allows Cassie to watch him create and shares secrets with her that he would not share with anyone else.Her siblings always seem to be miles away from her as though they realize they have a younger sibling and yet sometimes refuse to acknowledge the bond that definitely could've formed between them. Her sister is perhaps the toughest one of all to understand. She works for the mayor, a character that has a great deal of charisma and has an addiction to his power, and doesn't question everything - not like Cassie. She is always trying to make the city government look better and I can't decide if that is admirable or annoying. She is the sibling that constantly rains on Cassie's parade and point out that when important things had happened, Cassie wasn't alive. Her brother tries to be supportive of his sister and not make things so awkward for her. He realizes that she is struggling with the age gap so he just doesn't push like her sister does. He manages to bring humor to some of the hardest moments. He helps Cassie find her place in the world, even if it is not with their family.I really liked this book. So check it out!

  • Leanna
    2018-11-28 22:26

    What a wonderful story! I read it all in one sitting; once having started, I wasn't able to stop reading until I got to the end. It was extremely easy to settle into the charming narrative; I loved the way Meg McKinlay wrote. The writing was so readable- descriptive parts, dialogue and the thoughts of the narrator were all done well.The little blurb about this book hooked me for reasons I don't really know. I was promised some mystery from the past that would be uncovered, but I wasn't quite sure if I would even enjoy the story. However, I soon found that Cassandra (Cassie) Romano, the twelve-year-old narrator of this book, was a really interesting character. She was born "too early", and as a result suffers from breathing problems, due to her lungs not having fully developed before she was born. The day she was born, the town of Old Lower Grange was drowned - flooded purposefully with water and dammed up, turning what was the town into a lake. Cassie doesn't remember much about the Old town, but she has always been fascinated by it, and likens it to a modern-day Atlantis.Liam, a classmate of Cassie's, also has some shadows in his past. His twin brother died in a car accident when they were babies, and he was deemed the "miracle baby" as a result of surviving. His father, driving the car when it crashed, has never been the same since.Together, Cassie and Liam dig into their town's past, and discover the secrets that lie beneath its surface.I have to admit that I did manage to figure out the big secret a bit before Cassie did, but that didn't really lessen my enjoyment of the story, since part of the interest came from watching how Cassie puts things together. I don't remember a lot about being twelve, but Cassie seems like a pretty smart kid! I'd have liked to hang out with her, separating leaves carefully along the middle seam (I actually remember doing this as a kid, too).So yeah. I really loved this whole book. I'd read it again, as the writing style is so enjoyable I know I'd get more out of a re-read. Favourite lines of the book: ""he was that kind of guy - always smiling and joking and popping up anywhere, anytime, especially if there was a chance of a party or a ceremonial sausage or two." I know people who fit this exact desciption. There's something enjoyable about reading a book and constantly being able to identify with it, which is probably what made me like this one so much.Thank you to the publishers, who via NetGalley provided me with this advance e-copy for review!PS- this book was previously published under the title "Surface Tension".

  • Rabiah
    2018-11-28 20:14

    Originally posted at: will be honest– it was the cover that caught my attention. Reading the blurb, I thought this was a dystopian of some sort (cause I mean come on, who drowns a town?), but that totally wasn't the case when I came about to reading it. It's actually a contemporary, but it had a touch of magical realism to it. I found myself drawn to the mysteries that the lake holds and it's past.Below was a quick read, but I found that there were a couple things here and there which I didn't get (and still don't). The band-aids for instance... what was the whole significance of that? I just thought that there was still bits that needed explanations, because I found myself just confused whenever things came up that I had no idea what they stood for or meant.Cassie was a really great main character, and so was Liam. They're younger characters, so I didn't feel that connection to them a whole lot, but I did enjoy their story, and how determined the both of them are to get to the bottom of the mystery. I liked the progression of friendship that bloomed between them. Both of them have had pasts that made them stand out from everyone, and it was cool that they found that to link themselves together.Like I mentioned previously, I really loved the mystery beneath the surface (literally!). I thought the author very effectively used a selective detail technique, so little by little the clues came and in and left a shocking conclusion. The supporting cast was fantastic as well– we see through interactions between all the characters how they all come about to be apart of the mystery, and it's just such a great climax that the book reaches to.Below was a fast-paced read, one that young readers as well as older readers will enjoy. I'm looking forward to reading more from Meg McKinlay... she definitely knows how to tell a unique story!

  • Sarah
    2018-11-30 22:36

    I read this book very quickly and when I was done, I definitely wanted more. I wasn't quite sure where this book was going -- it was one I picked at random on my kindle on a long train ride -- so I didn't know what to expect, and was pleased to see that it was a simple story about Cassie trying to unravel a mystery.At times this story just felt like sketches of a larger universe. We get enough detail about the characters and the history of the town to be able to make the story work, but also the sense that there could be a much fuller picture if we spent more time in the story. The writing has a dreamy quality about it, and there's almost a feeling of magical realism, although the story isn't fantasy in the slightest (that I can tell). I really enjoyed McKinlay's writing style here, and it worked very well with the whole theme of an underwater/drowned town.I did at times forget how old Cassie is supposed to be. She's around 12, but sometimes the narration felt much older than that in tone, and sometimes she just seems more mature and thoughtful than your average pre-teen. I really liked her, though, as well as her relationship with her family (both of her parents are actually there! and involved! and don't just disappear!) and friend Liam. I kept expecting romance to bloom between them, whenever I forgot that she was 12. There's nothing of the sort happening there, though, Cassie and Liam are just friends who learn to work together to uncover a mystery that they didn't even know they were searching for in the first place.The ending of Below approaches quickly, with the mystery being solved in just the last few pages of the book. This is where I would have wanted a little more, because the "and then this is what happened" wrap up felt very rushed. Overall I enjoyed the read, though, it was a great way to pass an hour or so. It's a clean read, with only a few references to a violent car crash and a past character death that is only mentioned.

  • Anthony
    2018-12-07 00:18

    What if everything you should have known and every place you should have been was gone. How would you feel? Well, it makes twelve year old Cassie feel disconnected. Reconnecting to that past is going to open up a big secret that will affect her family and friends.“My Lower Grange is two hundred feet underwater.” On the Day Cassie was born her town was flooded intentionally because the town built a hydroelectric plant. Now there is a new town on the edge of a lake that exists where her town used to be. Unfortunately, many of the stories that Cassie’s family tells all take place in the old flooded town. That is where her parents got married, where their home was, and that is where they had their first two children. But Cassie was the third child in the family she missed all of the happy times in the stories that her family shares. She doesn’t feel as connected to her family because of it. She wants to be able to share the history of that old town. Soon Cassie will gain a connection to the old town. There is a drought and the water level of the lake is going down. While Cassie is swimming in the lake she spots something sticking up out of the lake as if her old town was reaching up to meet her, and when it does she is going to find a secret that has been buried for years.“Below” is an enjoyable middle grades mystery set in Australia. (So remember to read it with an Australian accent.) It highlights the importance of family and history. It also points metaphorically that some times to get the truth you have to look below the surface; do a little digging, or diving in this instance. This is a great read for 4-8 grade students who like a little mystery and mild peril in a realistic story.

  • Jen Bigheart (I Read Banned Books)
    2018-12-06 18:37

    I saw this book and was immediately struck by the cover! The concept of swimming over a ghost town covered in water completely freaked me out. Who knows what is down there and what could float up? Turns out, that all comes into play. My favorite part of this story was Cassie's description about how she doesn't quite fit in - not with her town and certainly not with her family. She was born unexpectantly on the day the switch was thrown and the water covered the town. Ever since she was born she has seen herself as an outsider. Her family has fond memories of the old house and the laughs they all shared before Cassie came along. I identified with Cassie a lot considering she has much older siblings like me. I've been in many similar situations where I couldn't relate or I didn't get the inside joke. Feeling like a fifth wheel with your own family is for the birds. Cassie would agree.Cassie uses swimming to relax, vent, and to heal her born too early lungs. This is where the creepy lake (with possibly floating cats, okay that's just my imagination) comes in. See, she isn't supposed to swim there - it is completely off limits. Cassie and her friend Liam, a boy who is living with his own family tragedy say to hell with it and swim there anyway. They begin to notice the lake is getting low and certain people are determined to keep the two out. Mysteries start unraveling and they aren't all perfectly predictable. My mind kept inching towards the worse possible scenario and then back to reality again. Several times...The first half of this book is excellent and there is quite a scary story arc in the middle that made me hold my breath for several pages. All in all, I really enjoyed! Ages 9+

  • Ryne
    2018-12-05 23:36

    This is probably one of the "musing-est" books I've ever read that wasn't actually a slow read. The mystery of exactly what happened in the protagonist's drowned town (and the idea of a drowned town by itself) kept me intrigued until some real plot threads started to draw me in more. Honestly, I think this cover art for the book did it a huge service. I kept thinking of this imagery throughout my read, even though the drowned town isn't really visible from the water's surface in the actual novel. I don't know if I would have kept going without this cover art, odd as that may seem.(I just realized I need to go research drowned towns. Ghost towns, but scarier/weirder!)I had two qualms, the first minor and the second more pronounced: I wish sense of place were stronger in this novel at places other than the lake; I didn't realize it was taking place in Australia until someone mentioned this more than halfway through the book. (My only real clue was several mentions of "Devonshire tea" a few times earlier on.)What really does bother me, though, is the book's treatment of Liam's father. That was the only element that felt a bit less realistic or more novice/forced. Specifically, it's weird and kind of comes out of nowhere that (view spoiler)[he's frightened of the color red, which Liam mentions once sort of randomly and then we never actually see or hear about again until it becomes relevant to the plot. And thank goodness the protagonist remembers that one weird fact! (hide spoiler)]There was a certain plot twist that I did not predict successfully, and I appreciated that.

  • Celina
    2018-12-05 18:16

    Below by Meg McKlinlay is a fantasy/mystery book which are two genres I don’t read. It was a strange fantasy/mystery book for me it was about a town submerging under pools and that for me is a bit strange.I would recommend this book to people who like reading mystery books that have to do with running out of time. People who like books that have the strangest conflict and ideas that had twist with fantasy books would enjoy reading this book.The book is about a girl named Cassie who was born the day her town got drowned beneath five thousand swimming pools worth of water. Twelve years later, Cassie feels drawn to the manmade lake and the mysteries it hides and wasn’t the only one. Her classmate Liam joins Cassie in her daily swims across the off-limits side of the lake.The Cassie fells like she’s an outsider because she was born the day her town got drowned which means she didn’t know how they looked before. Cassie didn’t really quite fit in, not in her town and of course not with her family. Her family had fond memories of the old house and the laughs they all shared before Cassie came along. I couldn’t relate to Cassie because I haven’t been in a situation where family or friends have had inside jokes and memories before I came. I do understand that Cassie is felling like she’d kind of different which made this fantasy/mystery book have a really teenage life problem. Overall I think this book has an interesting plot and have characters that have really life emotional problems but also has fantasy problems. It was a very different book for me.

  • E. Anderson
    2018-12-12 18:25

    Cassie was born on the day her town died. Or rather, the day that her town was purposely flooded and everything was rebuilt around a manmade lake. Everything is supposed to be the same. But Cassie, the youngest of her siblings, feels like she doesn't belong. She doesn't remember the old town, but her family does. Her sister and brother have memories from their old house, and she can never, ever be a part of that.Cassie has always been fascinated by the lake, and, ordered by the doctor to swim regularly to strengthen her lungs, she finds herself there, instead of the pool, doing her laps. At first, it's just to avoid the crowded pool. But soon, it's discoveries. The off-limits side of the lake. A friend she didn't know she had. And -- on the edge of the town's highly anticipated centennial celebration -- a mystery that could unravel everything, especially for a few pillars of the community.BELOW is a beautiful novel. The writing, the characters, the town of Lower Grange -- all gorgeous and filled out perfectly, like summer should be. And, also like summer, it's fleeting. A page-turner that keeps you up at night, waiting to find the next clue. And while this doesn't read like a whodunnit, it is a mystery, with themes of growing up, family, and friendship. Meg McKinlay's latest is a work of art, and I hope many summer readers are finding it as refreshing as I did.

  • Barbara
    2018-11-30 01:34

    Cassie Romano was born on an eventful day--the day that water from a nearby dam was released to cover Old Lower Grange, her hometown. The town's citizens were all relocated to another nearby area, New Lower Grange. As the town prepares for its anniversary, Cassie and her friend Liam begin swimming in the part of the lake that is off limits since it covers the remains of the old town. The water level has decreased so much that they are able to dive down and explore an old shed containing a secret. Although I enjoyed much of the poetic language and was intrigued, as was Cassie, with the notion of a town being drowned, I knew most of the way through the book what the mystery involved and was therefore not surprised. I was also disappointed in the lack of character development of some of the story's important characters such as Liam's father who seemed to wander the town, lost and confused. I enjoyed Cassie's persistence and determination not to give up while I was also frightened by the risks she was taking. The author makes it clear that what seems to be the truth is often not, and that even official records may contain lies or distortions of the truth. In the end, though, as the author points out, "It turned out that you could break through the smooth surface of anything if you just kept pushing hard enough" (p. 218).

  • Sam Musher
    2018-11-29 18:26

    Even though I figured out the mystery about halfway through, I remained engaged to see how Cassie would solve it and what would happen when she did. (Middle schoolers probably won't figure it out as quickly as I did. It's certainly realistic that Cassie didn't.) The tone is quietly ominous. I appreciated the philosophical questions: when we tell history, what gets left out and why? What's the value in knowing the history of a place? Is home about people or places or some combination? I felt beat over the head sometimes with literary metaphor -- yes, I get it, a lot is hiding "under the surface of the water"! -- but overall I found it an enjoyable read. Not sure which kids I would give it to, though. It's too short for the middle schoolers who are ready for weird and challenging, and too slow and non-linear for the more reluctant readers or concrete thinkers. Maybe advanced 4th or 5th grade readers who like unusual mysteries?(view spoiler)[Maybe I missed something, but I was still confused by the timeline by the end. Did Finkle push for the town to be drowned because of the accident, or did he just take advantage of the plan for his own ends? I live in Boston, which pushed for towns to be drowned to build the Quabbin Reservoir at the turn of the last century, so I found that whole decision-making process an intriguing part of the book! (hide spoiler)]

  • Ryan Gropel
    2018-12-08 20:12

    The book "Below" by Megan McKinlay is a great book about a middle-aged girl and boy who want to find more about their old city, which has been drenched in water. So what they do is they swim out and look for wooden planks or something rusty. After a couple swims, the mayor finally catches them swimming in the lake. It turns out that he didn't want anyone in the lake because he was trying to find something, too.I rate this book a 3 out of 5 stars only because the book wasn't that interesting until the very end. Also, the author could've been better at explaining the setting because sometimes the book won't make sense. But other than that, the book was pretty good.This book would be good for readers that like mystery and adventure. The book has tons of adventure, but only really tells you the big mystery until the last few chapters. But the adventure part of the book is continues throughout the whole book. But even if you don't like those themes, you'll still probably like this book.

  • Ryan
    2018-12-12 00:35

    On the day Cassie was born, they drowned her town. The mayor flipped a lever and everyone cheered as Old Lower Grange was submerged beneath five thousand swimming pools’ worth of water. Now, twelve years later, Cassie feels drawn to the manmade lake and the mysteries it hides — and she’s not the only one. Her classmate Liam, who wears oversized swim trunks to cover the scars on his legs, joins Cassie in her daily swims across the off-limits side of the lake. As the summer heats up, the water drops lower and lower, offering them glimpses of the ghostly town and uncovering secrets one prominent town figure seems anxious to keep submerged. But like a swimmer who ventures too far from shore, Cassie realizes she can’t turn back. Can she bring their suspicions to light before it’s too late — and does she dare?the Genre is Mystery Fiction. I would read it to grades 3-5 as a read aloud book to promote thoughtful and deeper interactions with text. Example asking questions, modeling fluency and expression.

  • Jenni Frencham
    2018-12-01 00:23

    Cassie was born eight weeks premature, so her family missed the drowning of their town while they were driving to the hospital to welcome her into the world. Their town was intentionally drowned when a new dam was built, and the town moved a few miles away to higher ground. Now Cassie spends every day swimming to strengthen her lungs, but when she decides to swim in the lake that covers the old town, she finds secrets that some preferred to keep hidden.I was initially intrigued by the plot of this story, but it takes a significant amount of pages for the plot to be revealed and for the tension to build. Even though this book is short, I don't think many of my weaker readers would stay interested long enough to find out that there's a mystery involved. The book sounded like it should be intense and mysterious, but it sort of fell flat in that area. Nonetheless, I am sure some of my students will enjoy this book. Recommended for: tweens, middle gradeRed Flags: NoneOverall Rating: 3/5 stars

  • J.C.
    2018-11-20 19:29

    Fun-filled and mystery-loaded, Below by Meg McKinlay was a interesting read. The summary and back cover were really intriguing, and the book definitely lived up to my expectations. Cassie Romano’s town was purposely drowned the day she was born, and now she lives in the new version of the town. Still, she’s interested with the manmade lake that once was her town, so she and a classmate, Liam, explore it when they can. When they start discovering objects in the lake, suddenly mysteries appear—the question is, can they figure them out?I enjoyed it; the one thing is, it was very vague and sometimes it takes a long time to find out something Cassie discovered pages ago. However, all the mysteries are answered in the end—It just takes a bit of patience, to wait for the answers until the few last chapters!A good read, overall. The writing was acceptable and I liked the author’s style. It wasn’t anything amazing, but was still enjoyable and entertaining. 3.5 stars.Like my reviews? Follow my blog:

  • Nicole
    2018-11-24 19:39

    Below by Meg McKinlayCandlewick Press, 2013 (first US edition)Realistic Fiction218 pagesRecommended for grades 5-8An interesting story set in an Australian town that had the damn opened up, and was drowned. The town was rebuilt nearby with residents all starting over in a fresh new location. While not heard of all that frequently, this is not an unheard of event. In fact, it happened here in Maine to a town called Flagstaff. The idea of a town sitting at the bottom of a lake is enough to get your mind spinning. How creepy, how sad, fun to explore! In Below Cassie is drawn to the sunken town and the allure of the unknown. The story starts out slow. By starts out I am referring roughly to the first 100 pages...But once you add in a kind male classmate with a mysterious past and a shifty town mayor trying to keep the old town well below the surface of the lake, things do become interesting.

  • Jasmine Rose
    2018-11-25 00:28

    This was one of those "just okay" reads. It was a quick enough read and fairly entertaining, but I wasn't terribly invested.The mystery was kind of interesting, but I figured it out for the most part from the beginning. The hints seemed a little obvious to me, but I'm not exactly the target audience either.I felt a bit for Cass when she talked about being the odd one out in the family, because it did seem that way at times. At the same time, I didn't quite understand how this feeling made her so obsessed with the drowned city. I definitely understand thinking it's interesting, but she seemed bitter and angry that the town was drowned, though it seems pretty reasonable to me. The Nutshell: I don't really have too much to say about this one. I probably would have enjoyed it well enough when I was around Cass's age, but I've always been into fantastical stories more. Had the book been much longer, I probably would have been bored, but it was a quick enough read.Near Miss