Undercurrent – Paul Blackwell

Undercurrent – Paul BlackwellTitle: Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell
Publishing Info: July 23, 2013 by HarperCollins
Genres: Parallel Universe, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 10, 2014

That's all Callum Harris remembers from his tumble over the waterfall. But when he wakes up in a hospital bed and finds his best friend trying to kill him, Callum knows something is seriously wrong. Unfortunately for him, the mysteries are just getting started.
Why are his parents acting like he's some big sports star all of a sudden? And why are all the buildings in town more run-down than Callum remembers? Worst of all... what happened to Callum's brother? Either Callum has gone seriously crazy or something happened when he went over the edge of the falls. Something impossible. Callum needs answers, and now. Because in this twisted new version of the life Callum knew, his former best friend isn't the only one who wants to see him dead.


To continue my kick with male POVs, I was hoping UNDERCURRENT by Paul Blackwell would hit the spot. I had seen a lot of mixed reviews, but right from the start, I was really enjoying Callum’s voice and his perspective. I don’t know what it is, but male POVs just really sound authentic to me — well, good ones anyway — and I think I read soooo many female protagonists that a good male character is just so well-appreciated!

So in UNDERCURRENT, Callum knows he went over the falls near his house and survived… But doesn’t remember anything about how it happened and why his life is so different from what he “left”. His family acts entirely different, stores are missing, his friends aren’t the same, and even he is being treated like he’s a totally different person. I was curious to see exactly what would happen because clearly the story was leading somewhere but I was really suspicious as to where…

I had peeked at a few reviews that compared it to The Butterfly Effect, so obviously I knew something similar was up, but it really wasn’t quite as psychological as that and didn’t jump around as much as that movie had. I really can’t say if it was because I had this expectation that I felt like the book moved a bit slowly or if it was just that I wasn’t as into it as I had hoped. There were a lot of questions brought up and Callum only slowly gets answers. It wasn’t so much of a story about how to fix his current situation so much as figuring out what happened to him and how he got there so I think I was hoping for just so much more action and less set-up. Either way, I did enjoy what I read, and even though I tried to keep my expectations a little bit lower due to very mixed ratings amongst friends, I still found myself not as into the book as I had hoped.

I really wanted a bit more character development as well. Obviously since Callum’s entire world has been turned upside down, we’re mostly in his head, spending time with his thoughts and surroundings. That allowed very little opportunity to really explore other characters and get to know them since they’re not even the people he once knew, and I think as great as that concept for a story line is, it made it hard for me to really connect with the book because I wasn’t really able to connect with the characters at all.

I did enjoy UNDERCURRENT, but my feelings do still fall somewhere in the middle. It was an interesting read, but it wasn’t something that made a lasting impression on me. I think others could enjoy it too, but it’s not really something that’s going to blow you away.


“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 7.19.01 AM


Callum // Character Obsessions: Recovering, discovering, the falls. 
Hmmm, Callum. You know, for as much as this whole book was really about him, I still don’t feel like I got a really strong feeling from him. I enjoyed reading about him as I did, but his character isn’t one that’s sticking with me when I go back to write the review. I think he handled the situation sort of like I would — he’s more of an unassuming type and just kind of goes with the flow for a long time, unsure of what happened and how to fix things. He’s not really a pro-active type of person most of the time so it was hard to really push the story forwards sometimes.


Kept Me Hooked On: Mild sci-fi. I’d say this is sci-fi lite. We spend the most time knowing that something happened but we don’t know what. If your’e not big on sci-fi, this is the best way to try out something new!
Left Me Wanting More: Action. Is it bad that I expect more action from a male POV? Probably. But nevertheless, I was hoping for more. I think the book needed a little something extra, more fast-paced, and exciting to keep the plot moving.

Addiction Rating
Library read

This is a hard recommendation for me. I did enjoy the book, but it definitely wasn’t as catching as I had hoped. I think it’s an enjoyable read, but didn’t really knock me over. Maybe grab it from the library to give it a no-strings-attached shot!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE UNDERCURRENT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

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Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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1 thought on “Undercurrent – Paul Blackwell

  1. Kay

    I have yet to hear any raving reviews on this book. I have yet to read it as well, I think I will just be getting it from the library.

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