Thursday, April 14, 2016

Underlake by Kia Heavey


Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: Unfiltered Creative ()
ISBN-13: 978-0615956046
Kindle: 782 KB
Publisher: Unfiltered Creative (February 27, 2014)
Complimentary review copy

Available on Amazon

The Light Comes From Within

Underlake is a Young Adult novel about 15 year old Katie, who is upset that her mom is dragging her to spend the summer to fix up a cottage in rural upstate New York, in a tiny town called Underlake. She is used to spending summers in fashionable resorts with her mom, who is the busy editor of a New York fashion magazine. She goes to an exclusive private school, her friends are also wealthy kids whose parents, like her mom, pretty much let them do what they like.

Despite this seemingly idyllic arrangement for a teen, Katie often finds herself in tears, for no clear reason. At the lake cottage are some nice, friendly teens who seem entirely alien to her in their clean-cut wholesomeness. The cottage itself seems haunted. Still, not everything is bad. She focuses on her art, inspired by the different quality of light in the area. By the lake she meets John, a cute boy who always seems to be swimming. John is different from anyone she's met, strangely old-fashioned and wise beyond his years. They become friends, and Katie feels a connection to John that she's never felt to anyone before. She brushes off any hints of something odd about John.

Katie starts feeling happy. She makes friends with the local kids, even agrees to go to Church, a first for her, with them, which she finds peaceful. But the summer inevitably comes to an end, and that's where the story starts becoming darker.

I was really surprised at what happens - I did not see that coming. I enjoyed this book a lot, partly, no doubt, because I too have an artistic teen to look after. I think the author captures the pain of growing up unmoored very well. If I have a complaint it would be that I didn't think the story needed to be "epilogued" as much as it was.

For parents considering whether to let their kids read this, the book talks about things like premarital sex, teen drug use, and teen pregnancy but takes a decidedly anti position to them without being preachy. There are no graphic or explicit scenes. There is a definite, but gentle, pro-Faith message in it. I'd be ok with my kids reading it.

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