Friday, March 25, 2011

Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne Collins

Also reviewed by Heather.

Summary:  When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment building, 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.  (Summary from back of the book and image from

My Review:   I feel behind the times that I'm just now reading this series. After reading Collins' trilogy, The Hunger Games, and recommending it to my students, I discovered that they already knew and loved this author.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book.  Collins has a wonderful way of making her characters real and endearing.  I absolutely loved Gregor's sister Boots.  She practically made this book.  The idea that humans migrated (is that what you'd call it despite the location?) underground and created another world is fascinating.  The way they grew their food and traveled on large bats that stealthily flew in darkness, took away the impending fear of constant darkness one would normally associate with being stuck underground. However, there was still that sense of fear with the larger than life insects and rodents. 

Collins, despite having violence in all the books I've read of hers, manages to write in a way that does not glorify the violence but instills in the reader a real sense of loss.  I think despite this being a book written for a younger audience than my 8th grade students I'll still recommend the series if they enjoyed the Hunger Games.

My Rating: 5 stars--warning for parents: since this is aimed at a 5th or 6th grade reading level, I think parents should know there is death, and particularly death related to war, in this book.

Sum it up: A modern day imaginary adventure, sure to capture children's attention and entertain adults.

1 comment:

TisforTonya said...

this is my most recommended book... after discovering it I have bought MANY many Many copies to give away to children and teachers... this series is the reason I was waiting for the stores to open the day the Hunger Games was released! Definitely for a slightly younger audience than her Hunger Games series, but I love them - my boys all loved these as well... actually ended up calling one of their sisters "Boots" for awhile after reading them :) (although none of us actually began loving cockroaches... that's just going too far)


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