Author: Roland Smith
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: January 27, 2015
What waits Beneath? Pat O'Toole has always idolized his older brother, Coop. He's even helped Coop with some of his crazier plans--such as risking his life to help his big brother dig a tunnel underneath their neighborhood in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Coop is...different. He doesn't talk on the phone, doesn't use email, and doesn't have friends. He's never really cared for anything but the thrill of being underground and Pat. So it's no surprise to anyone--even Pat--that after a huge fight with their parents, Coop runs away. Exactly one year later, Pat receives a package containing a digital voice recorder and a cryptic message from his brother. He follows the clues to New York City, and soon discovers that Coop has joined the Community, a self-sufficient society living beneath the streets. Now it's up to Pat to find his brother--and bring him home.
**Thank you to Scholastic for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!**
Beneath follows a young boy named Pat, whose older brother, Coop, ran away after a huge fight with his parents. Coop was always a bit of a strange guy. Everyone who talked to him automatically trusted him and told him everything about themselves as well. Coop had this obsession with digging holes, and one time he even got Pat to help him out. They spent tons of time digging a huge hole in their backyard, until one day there was an explosion and Coop had to carry Pat out of the hole or else they would've died. Ever since then, Pat has suffered from severe claustrophobia.
After Coop left, he never contacted everyone... even Pat. Luckily, that all changes one day when Pat receives a voice recording from Coop, explaining where he's been. He's in New York City and he's perfectly safe. The two of them exchange messages for a while, though all of a sudden Coop stops responding. Pat knows what he must do. He has to go find his brother because he's in definite danger.
This book was a whirlwind of an adventure. I instantly loved Pat's character-he will do anything to make sure that his brother is okay because it's what his brother would do for him. The relationship that he had with his brother was just remarkable and I loved that so much. Pat was even put to the test when he had to go beneath NYC to try to find Coop even though he is claustrophobic. At one point, after meeting Kate who has come to help Pat find Coop, he must travel through an itsy bitsy tunnel for two hours. Yes, you heard me right! TWO HOURS. I don't know how he did this-I was getting claustrophobic just thinking about it, so kudos to him!
The underground world that was created in this story was very magnificent. It was very interesting and unlike anything that I've read before. I like how the underground world was very much like ours except they never much had sunlight and didn't have to use money to buy anything they wanted because some people would go above and dumpster dive to find supplies. The Community was such a scary place and everyone there really freaked me out. I was so worried about what had happened to Coop and if Pat would even find him!
One really cool aspect of this book is that the past is interwoven with the present through old voice recordings of Coop's. He would explain what he had seen on his way to the Community, while in present time Pat would be finding the places that he had pointed out. It was just a very cool set up. I'm definitely going to have to give Roland Smith's other novels a try!