Publisher's Note:  

When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats—but the fragile peace is about to fall apart.

Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland's uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever.

Rich in suspense and brimming with adventure, Suzanne Collin's debut marked a thrilling new talent, and introduced a character no young reader will ever forget.

Gregor the Overlander

by Suzanne Collins

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Overall Review:  

Gregor the Overlander is told in true Suzanne Collins style (author of The Hunger Games): ‘Regular’ creatures made larger than life, overwhelming odds, strange companionships that just seem to work, and high adventure…all while fighting for your life!  Here is a world where life-sized bats, cockroaches and spiders are your friends and allies; and the rats, well, in the simple words of the cockroaches...excuse me, crawlers..."Rats Bad"!  Life is all played out in huge caverns far underground: The Underland!  Even with all the adventure and intensity, there is a wonderful humorous edge throughout that I loved.  Gregor’s little sister, Boots, is a special 2 year old treat!  That sweet, innocent little toddler stole every heart she met—including mine!  I loved her rapport with her cockroach friends—so cute!  And when her screaming tantrum helps them escape a tight situation?  Priceless!  Gregor the Overlander is not just another generic fantasy series.  There is depth to the story: the characters are well developed and true to life, and there are some great twists that keep everything moving—and keep you wondering how they’ll manage.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

Content Analysis:  

While there is no profanity or sex at all in this book, there is quite a bit of violence.  There is a skirmish where rats attack—a character is knocked out, some are bitten, the two rats are killed by the sword.  A war breaks out and many characters die.  Usually, it’s told matter-of-factly (‘so-and-so is dead’), but once in awhile a small amount of blood is involved.  Spiders eat other insects/spiders and it’s a little gross.  Some characters escape a spider web and it’s a little scary.  A character is crushed by a rat.  A group of rats are running across a bridge, the bridge falls, and they land in water full of piranhas.  A character is killed by a rat’s tail.  Many rats (and a character) fall down into a pit and die.  A character discovers that they are a 'rager', meaning that they are a natural born warrior.  The violence is necessary to the plot, and is actually well done (and for those wondering, there is less violence than in The Hunger Games, as this series is aimed toward a younger age group).  It never became overly grotesque and is fairly tame. 

Some of the more moderate themes are dealing with the loss of a parent or family member, and facing scary enemies and death; some of the mild themes are making hard decisions and facing your fears. 

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Reviewed By Emily
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