The Underneath

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Underneath Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 11+

Gripping story is loving, lyrical, but has brutal violence.

Parents say

age 11+

Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 10+

Based on 17 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 9+

Impactfully heartbreaking.

I recall being in the 5th grade and reading The Underneath for the first time; When I finished I was teary and refused to look at the book for months. Yet, it was one of the best books I've ever read. Good literature should be engaging and impactful- Appelt's book is so. This is no fluffy mass-manufactured YA book, dependent on the questionable stability of love triangles, nor an overly farfetched, pointlessly violent work of fiction. Rather, each act of violence has importance and develops the characters and the multitude of views emphasize both the solidarity of the characters and the complexity of their situation.

This title has:

Great messages
age 9+

Not what I expected

Book store recommended this to me to read with my daughter. Arguably, my daughter might be a touch more mature than average. She was a few months from turning 9 when we read it. She did find a few parts upsetting and did cry at least once, but she loves this book. It ended up being a game, "how many extra chapters will Mom read after she says, 'okay, this is the last one'." During the intense parts we talked how "this ain't no Disney story." Teaches about family/love.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

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