Beneath #2: Above

Book Information
Rating: Outstanding
Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Roland Smith
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year: 2016
ISBN: 9780545564892
Pages: 336

On the run since their escape from the Deep; Pat, Coop, and Kate plan to reunite in Oregon. However, their reunion is postponed when Alex Dane—Lod’s brother who helped the teens escape—shows up and tasks Kate to shadow Lod’s members that are gathering in the area. Alex, Pat, and Coop follow Kate’s trail so they can understand Lod’s next move and then notify the authorities. Kate lets herself get captured by Lod’s minions, but she tries to earn their trust so she can hide her involvement with Alex, Pat, and Coop. Eventually she is found out and Pat, Coop, and Alex are captured. Lod takes all his followers and new hostages to an underground bunker known as the Deep 2.0. During their trip to the new Deep, Pat secretly calls the FBI on a satellite phone to alert them of their location. The plan works, but the FBI’s presence only fuels Lod’s vanity in showing off his terrorist acts of shutting down the power grid. But a device Alex has created disables all of Lod’s software and aids the group in escaping from the Deep 2.0.

This sequel to Beneath is yet another rapid-fire read full of suspense, mystery, and deception. Told from Pat and Kate’s perspectives, readers follow the break-neck pace of these teens as they chase down Lod and his demented disciples. Because there is access to Kate’s mind, readers learn more details about her upbringing in the Deep and understand how losing her parents by Lod’s hand caused Kate to turn against him. Compared to Beneath, Pat is not continually confronting his claustrophobia. However, he encounters his patterned, panic-stricken thoughts again as he is forced to enter yet another Deep. A theme Smith carries through his series is that there is no such thing as a coincidence. Smith shows that the events and decisions of a person’s past ideally places them in situations where they can conquer present dilemmas. Both Beneath and Above clearly show that Smith is an expert at crafting quality, contemporary adventures for young adults.