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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

What waits Beneath? Pat O'Toole has always idolized his older brother, Coop. He's even helped Coop with some of his crazier plans -- such as risking his life to help his big brother dig a tunnel underneath their neighborhood in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Coop is . . . different. He doesn't talk on the phone, doesn't use email, and doesn't have friends. He's never really cared for anythin…


by Roland Smith

Overall Book Review:

Have you ever wondering what goes on underneath us, especially in a city like New York that is sitting on top of miles of underground tunnels and caverns? In Roland Smith’s new novel, Beneath, we find out just what that is as we follow the adventure of two brothers, Pat and Coop. Coop, a quirky 18 year old, has always been drawn to the ‘underneath’ and eventually goes down a little too far. Pat, his claustrophobic, younger brother braves his fears to pull him back to above ground. Along the way they discover a little about themselves, their relationship to each other and make a new friend, Kate, who needs a little rescuing herself as well as a little self-discovery.

The journey to the ‘Beneath’ and back up again is an exciting, action-packed adventure that will have you turning pages to see what happens next. It’s also a journey about love of family, overcoming fears, and helping others along the way–all something the leader of the dystopian-like society of the Underneath fails to understand. The contrast between the two sides, those willing to help others and those willing to dominate at all costs, gives this novel a nice moral hidden in a compelling and exciting adventure that you won’t want to put down!

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation.

Violence/Gore:  Explosion causes burns to 2 characters and damage to homes; secondhand account of character getting attacked by rats; character receives death threat; fictional account of character being pushed, hitting head on rocks and falling into the river; secondhand account of someone blowing up buildings in a terrorist attack; threat made a few times (4) of never leaving group alive; secondhand account of how someone’s parents were murdered; newspaper account of a murder; description of how guards are willing to kill people; assumption made that some people were murdered; extended scene of 3 characters being chased/hunted by guards with dogs; description of how guard dogs will chase someone and rip them apart; animal shot and killed; man shot at and tasered; account of how a character was shot and left for dead; description of plot that would result in death and destruction

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Runaway youth, divorce, homelessness, terrorism, death of parents, dystopian-type mentality/society.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

I remember as a young girl sneaking out of my bedroom to read by the hall light my parents left on, just so I could finish an exciting book. I’ve always loved books and reading is somewhat of a passion for me–something I’m passing on to my kids. I have four children and I have a hard time making them turn out the light when they say, “But I just got to the good part”.