Saturday, September 21, 2013

Texting the Underworld by Ellen Booraem

Opening line: “Death stalked the spider, pre-algebra book in hand.”  I've got to admit, I really like that opening.  

Texting the Underworld is about twelve year old Conor O'Neill who lives in South Boston with his parents, younger sister and next door is his Grandpa or Grump as he is lovingly called. Conor's little Irish neighborhood is home to the frequent sounds of car alarms and the screech of owls, but Grump knows that those sounds are really the “keen” of a banshee come to weep for the person about to die.  So when red-blond headed Ashling appears to Conor foretelling that someone in the O'Neill family is going to die, he knows that he must come up with a plan to protect them.  Poor Conor though doesn't know who it is and Ashling isn't telling either.  Ashling just wants to experience as much as she can of current time before completing her task for the Lady of the Other Land.  But, how will Conor keep Ashling a secret from everyone else while making sure that no one sees her keen, because if they do they too will drop dead.  

One of the strengths of Texting the Underworld is the characters. We have Conor, who is scared of spiders and is afraid to sneak out at night with his Grandpa.  Despite his flaws he is really a likable guy and grows throughout his journey. Booraem also introduces Grumps, who I really liked the best. Grumps brings with the Irish history and traditions of the O'Neill family and fills in all the necessary gaps about the lore.   And then there is Ashling, who provides the humor as she tries to learn about modern day society via Trivial Pursuit cards no less.  Booraem doesn't hold back in Texting the Underworld  with its themes of death and going so far as to place Conor in the difficult position of determining someones fate. Overall a great story that incorporated lots of mythology from Babylonian to Irish to Scottish when delving into the afterlife.  
Review copy received as a part of authors blog tour giveaway at
a big thank you to both.  
ETA: Review copy donated to school library. 

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