Sunday, February 20, 2022

Review: Buried by Kennedy Plumb

Today's review has been sitting in my pile for more than a few months as an ARC and was released this last November. Still, I refuse to ignore it and pass it up...and no, the publisher really doesn't mind. They gave a huge time frame on this one. 

I've been excited to dive into this one. Doesn't seem like it, I know, but my pile has been super huge. Honestly. Not only did the blurb catch my attention, but science fiction seems to get the short-end when it comes to young adult reads. Granted, this one does take place in a dystopian world, but even those aren't nearly as plentiful as they were a few years ago.

Am I babbling? Yep, with the best of them! So, off we go!

by Kennedy Plumb
YA Science Fiction
410 pages

Life in the Underground United States really freakin’ sucks.

No freedom, no sunlight, and the whole place smells like armpit.

That‘s what life has been like for Sam and his little sister Ella for the past eight years, ever since the Draft took their parents. So pretty much hell. But at least they had each other.

​Until they didn’t.

​As if Underground life couldn’t get any worse, Ella mysteriously goes missing without a trace. Sam must now embark on a dangerous journey through the unknowns of the Underground to find her.

But will he find her before it’s too late?

Will a brother’s love be enough to save her?



The wit and humor of the main character give this dystopian an unique spin, while still weaving through more serious themes.

Sam's parents were forced into the armed forces, while he and his much younger sister were forced to join those living underground. He never saw his or heard from his parents again. Life underground is separated into different levels, which he and his sister reside in the lowest class. They work for credits to pay for their food and such, and he is well-liked by one of the heads. Life isn't great, but when his sister goes missing, it takes an even worse turn. Now, he can only hope it will be possible to find her.

I do enjoy a good, YA dystopian, but this one was not what I was expecting. While there are cliches and things that remind me of other books in this genre, there's a humorous touch, which makes it unique. The main character, Sam, isn't happy with the state of things...nor should he be...but he packs sarcasm and keeps humor up. It's not that he cracks jokes, but rather, the way his thoughts flow and his comments give him a touch of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. This was strengthened by the illustrations of diagrams and notes he'd create. So, unlike other YA dystopians, which harbor serious circumstances and danger, this one takes a lighter twist...and still, adds in serious circumstances and, toward the end especially, danger.

The writing in this one flows well. It's written in first person from Sam's point of view, but even here, it's a bit original in that Sam speaks to the reader, at times, and switches between acting as a narrator and really sinking in as a character in the story. It makes it hard to say, which audience this book is intended for. Much of it screams middle grade, and I'd recommended it to that group if it weren't for some of the tougher scenes later on. Honestly, I'm not quite sure where to put this one.

The world building is well done and makes the underground world easy to picture. I also adored the sibling relationship, although I would have liked to have gotten to know his sister a little better. The other characters are very varied, and there the basis for the series is well set. While it is a longer read, the illustrations do keep it from bogging down and add a little fun. Still, there were more than a couple holes in the background information and reasoning to the world, which I do hope will still be explained in the next book(s)...but I am missing it already now.

This is an original and fun dystopian with a different flair. I'm going to recommend it for the very upper end of the middle grade and the very lower end of the young adult audience, and am sure the right readers will enjoy it quite a bit.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Probably a little young for me but the humor sounds interesting.

Heather N. Quinn said...

I'm not usually a fan of dystopian fiction, but the new spin you're describing makes this one tempting.