BOOKS
Where She Fell
304p. Scholastic/Point. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338230079.
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Gr 7 Up—Timid caving enthusiast Eliza lets her friends talk her into going to a dangerous swamp on a dare, only to fall into a sinkhole and subsequent caverns deep underground. She stumbles onto the Colony, a ragtag collection of subterranean survivors like herself. Quickly accepted into the odd underground settlement, Eliza is confused by the group dynamics and puzzled at their lack of desire to find freedom. She bonds quickly with fellow teens Eleanor and good-looking Grayson and becomes an intern to the cryptic geologist Mary. A routine of hunting and fighting off massive insects, cleaning the cave, and social interaction becomes her new normal, until Eliza rebels. She leads a small group on a bloody and deathly journey filled with animal and humanoid enemies, while constantly battling the desire to return and live safely at the Colony. Diary entries contain reflections about her friendships, mental health, and tidbits from famous geologists. This is a survival story that works on several levels—physical survival and overcoming negative self-perception. With a scenario similar to Land of the Lost, this adventure novel will have some readers suspending disbelief in some places, despite references to actual geological science. The constant obstacles Eliza and her group face can veer toward the tedious rather than being suspenseful. But many will root for Eliza to reach the surface so she can be the person she became underneath it.
VERDICT A solid purchase for middle and high school libraries where survival fiction is in demand.

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