'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 7 August 2017

Review: The Undercurrent

Eighteen year-old Julianne de Marchi has a secret that could cost her her life. There's an electrical undercurrent that constantly hums beneath her skin and she needs to release the charge when it surges. If only she could control it.

Since the explosion at her school science lab two years ago, everyone knows who she is, not helped by the fact that her mother Angie is a renowned activist and journalist and her late father a war hero.

Jules and Angie have become socially withdrawn since the blast and live in the shadows of threats and blackmail. Jules needs to find work to support them and has no choice but to accept an interview at Paxton Federation, the agritech corporation linked to her dad's death and responsible for forcing farmers to use genetically modified grain.

The job interview is a trap and triggers a chain of events that sets this action packed story on its path.

Jules meets Ryan Walsh when they become stuck in an elevator and he saves her from being blamed for another catastrophe. Their chemistry is instant. Ryan is a soldier working for a secret army unit monitoring Jules and her mother but then Jules is pursued by a corrupt member of Pax Fed who has hired assassins to kill her.

Ryan is charged with Jules's safety and to protect her they go off-grid from Brisbane to his family's farm in remote South Australia. At the same time, the political activist group Angie was famously affiliated with, the Agitators, are planning a major demonstration at a nuclear facility in Port Augusta and Angie needs to infiltrate the group to find out who is trying to harm Jules. Packed with action and intrigue, Ryan will protect Jules and her secret at all costs, even when he's torn about his own family's plight.

Jules tries to harness the electrical current, find out why she has this ability and why she's a target. Pax Fed, the Agitators and the Army are all interested in her and she doesn't know who to trust. Only Ryan makes her feel calm and safe and their chemistry is simmering and unavoidable.
Told from varying points of view, I enjoyed reading different characters' backstories whilst trying to figure out who is trying to harm Jules.

Paula Weston raises the bar for an intelligent, page-turning speculative young adult thriller full of complex issues and wonderfully varied and sculpted characters worth caring about. The Australian setting highlights our urban and rural landscape, heartbreaking battles farmers face, and sobering current and near-future issues relating to genetically modified crops, technology and morally corrupt corporations. A superbly written book with a gorgeous cover. A book that will make you think and learn and hide away until you've read the last page.

Paula Weston is also the author of the Rephaim series.

Title: The Undercurrent
Author: Paula Weston
Publisher: Text, $19.99
Publication Date: 31 July 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925498233
For ages: 13+
Type: Young Adult Fiction