My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Most of you are probably familiar with Suzanne Collins from her incredibly successful YA series, The Hunger Games. Gregor the Overlander is the first book in Collins' earlier MG series, The Underland Chronicles. The star of the series is Gregor, a brave and loyal boy who journeys to the Underland, a mysterious world deep beneath New York City. Gregor ends up in the Underland completely by accident, thanks to his toddler sister Boots, and this book tells the story of his struggle to return home with her and bring his family back together.
Gregor faces all kind of unfamiliar, terrifying, and often disgusting on his journey to retrieve his sister and get back home to NYC where he belongs. Enormous cockroaches, spiders, and rats thrive in the Underland. Along the way, he meets new friends, from pale Underworld royalty to the giant bats they fly with, eventually partnering with them to battle their creepy crawly enemies. Every detail is rooted in reality, as though Collins has merely put to paper the fantastic fears we all share about what lives deep underground.
As would be expected, there's a fair amount of violence in Gregor's story, as well as situations involving his toddler sister that made my heart race with fear--endangering a sibling looks to be a favorite plot device of Collins'. With these details in mind, I'd say this is definitely an upper middle grade selection, although I am admittedly wimpy when it comes to cockroaches, not to mention four foot long specimens! Journey with Gregor to the Underworld, and you'll definitely be in a place you've never visited before. Plus, the good news is, there are four more books in the series!
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The even better news is, I'm giving away a copy of Gregor the Overlander in my first ever GIVEAWAY! Yay! *confetti* *trumpets*
All you have to do is leave a comment below by Wednesday 12pm EST, and preferrably your Twitter handle if you have one. I'll draw a winner at random and announce it on the blog next week, when I'm reviewing Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu.
And don't forget to visit all of the other wonderful Marvelous Middle Grade reviewers at their blogs--you can find the list right here.