Published: July 31st 2017 by Text Publishing
Format: Paperback, 383 pages
Genres: Science Fiction
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Reading Challenges: 2017 Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge, Australian Authors 2017
Jules looks down. Ryan is hanging on to the ladder with one hand and reaching down to his boot. Her pulse stutters when she sees the blade. It's short and deadly looking and there's no mistaking it for anything other than a weapon.
Eighteen-year-old Julianne De Marchi is different. As in: she has an electrical undercurrent beneath her skin that stings and surges like a live wire. It can spark a dire, maybe even end a life - but she can't control it.
Then she meets Ryan Walsh.
She doesn't know he's a soldier working for a secret unit that has her under surveillance. He doesn't know what it is that's making sparks fly between them.
And neither of them knows who caused the explosion that has them trapped in an elevator together.
It’s no secret that I love Paula Weston’s books. Her writing has a wonderful flair, and her stories are the perfect balance of humour and action, romance and friendship, adventure and introspection. So you can imagine my excitement when I walked into a bookstore and saw The Undercurrent, only being vaguely aware that a new book was coming sometime in July or August.
I devoured The Undercurrent. I would have read it in one sitting except that my health isn’t what it used to be. Instead, I read it in three.
Jules and Ryan are the kinds of protagonists I love but often miss in YA. Flawed, unsure of themselves, independent but surrounded by loving and supportive adults. I liked them both, and particularly liked Weston’s choice in narrating this tale in third person so we knew what was happening in their heads at all times. I liked the relationships they had, not only with parents and parental figures, but also with their siblings and friends. It felt authentic because Weston didn’t isolate the leads and make them fight the Big Bad alone, she gave them a lot of support and love.
I liked the chemistry between them as well — there was so much of it, and it was brought to life realistically. The protagonists are older, having finished high school, so I guess The Undercurrent is technically New Adult (does anyone use that term anymore?). This allows for an exploration of attraction, lust, and sex that may not have occurred if Jules and Ryan had been younger.
This is an action-packed adventure that still finds time for some amazing character development. I think the pacing was perfect! I liked all the action sequences but I think my favourite things were the moments in between, the moments where we got to see what makes the characters tick.
I love reading books set in Australia because I see so much of myself in them. The Undercurrent is set in the near future, so a lot of it is still recognisable. I find that I never quite realise how much I miss Australian-isms in my books until I read something like this — it’s so seeped in Australian diction and culture that I immediately feel at home.
I enjoyed The Undercurrent! It was great to read something by Paula again and to immerse myself in such an engaging story. This is a stand-alone novel which might be perfect for those looking for a new Australian author to fangirl over! I highly recommend it!! And of course, everyone needs to check out Paula’s other books, The Rephaim series, when they have a chance. Because they are still my favourite books ever!