Raging Sea

368p. (The Undertow Trilogy: Bk. 2). ebook available. HMH. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780544348448.
Gr 9 Up—Buckley, who dove into the YA world with last year's Undertow (HMH, 2015), continues his scary mermaid dystopia, an allegory for the current American political scene, in this fast-paced follow-up. The story begins where the previous installment left off, with half-Alpha Lyric Walker and her companions on the run from government forces. After the destruction of Coney Island and massive loss of life, which occurs in the previous volume, Lyric has been branded a terrorist, with the entire nation eager for her capture. Determined to free her family from their captivity, Lyric journeys across the Texan landscape, meeting new allies and facing off with all manner of foes. Plot twists come quickly, but some of them rely on a lack of common sense from a previously sensible protagonist, which can distract from the story. Lyric may be the only teen in America who has never seen a crime procedural and is unaware that authorities can track locations through a phone's GPS. The violence inflicted on the captive Alpha at the government facility Tempest can be gruesome, even when it is merely described after the fact, and the government brings nothing but strife to its citizens in this version of the United States. It's a bleak view of the world, which may resonate with politically aware teen readers. Like its predecessor, the book ends with an epic battle and loss of life.
VERDICT Fans of the first title will clamor for this sequel, but the harsh world and large cast of characters may keep new readers from this volume.

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