Book Review: Gregor The Overlander–Susan Collins

Gregor_the_OverlanderBefore Susan Collins’ career caught fire with the Hunger Games, she wrote a series of books about a boy named Gregor who falls through a grate in the laundry room of his New York City apartment building, and into the Underland, a place where a few humans have chosen to live amongst giant cockroaches, bats, rats and spiders.  Gregor’s fall doesn’t hurt him, but it does leave him and his sister, “Boots” stranded in a strange and mystical land, full of danger and mystery. He becomes known as Gregor the Overlander, and this is the first book in the series.

This book is targeted more towards the nine to eleven year old crowd, than towards the YA matter I normally read, and as such, it’s a bit of an adjustment. The vocabulary is, of course, simpler, the dialog very plain, and the conflict far less gory than most of the books I read.  It’s a quick read as well, at somewhere between 60000-65000 words.

It’s a good tale for the crowd it is targeted to, and I would have no qualms about giving it to my kids when they reach that age, as long as it doesn’t give them nightmares. I’m not a big fan of creepy-crawly things, and am a life-long arachnophobe. Scenes with giant spiders, especially when well written, scare the bejesus out of me.  But these spiders weren’t over-the-top scary, so I think most kids will be able to handle them.

If you’re an adult though, and you ‘re looking to pick this book up because you liked the Hunger Games and like YA and want to read more of Susan Collin’s writing, be forewarned, that this is nothing like the Hunger Games. It’s a completely different genre, and you are likely to be disappointed. But if you like children’s books, or just want to pick up something you think your pre-teen kids will like, give this a try.  It’s a good re-introduction to a genre you probably haven’t read in a long, long time.

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