Under The Surface

Under The Surface
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Release Date
August 13, 2024
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Ruby is terrified to cave to her feelings for Sean and risk him crushing her heart.

Sean is pumped to spend a week with Ruby in Paris on their senior class trip, and he’ll wait however long until she’s ready to take things further.

But when Ruby’s best friend sneaks out the first night to meet a mysterious French boy, Ruby goes after her with two classmates, but caves to another temptation: attending mystery boy’s exclusive party in the Paris catacombs, the intricate web of tunnels beneath the city, home to six million long-dead Parisians. Only they never reach the party.

Underground, as something sinister chases them, they get lost in the endless maze of bones, uncovering dark secrets about the catacombs…..and each other. And if they can’t find a way out, they’ll die in the dark beneath the City of Light.

Aboveground, Sean races to find the girl he loves as a media frenzy over the four missing teens begins.

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Under The Surface
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Ruby is excited to be with her friends on a school trip to Paris. One of the things on her must-do list is to visit the catacombs. When her friend Val is distracted by a cute Parisian guy's promise of a party, Ruby's gut feeling is to make sure Val doesn't do anything foolish. When the so-called party is supposed to be in the catacombs, Ruby is excited thinking filming it will help her travel YouTuber channel Ruby's Hidden Gems. But things go wrong right off the bat and what at first seemed to be a fun adventure has turned into a very real horror show that can have deadly consequences for all involved.

What worked: Edge-of-the-seat suspense with vivid descriptions of the catacombs kept me totally engaged. Alternating POVs drive the tension and adrenaline-packed action of this story.

I liked the interactions between Ruby and Val. The two at first seem to be opposites. Add Selena, the former best friend who has never forgiven Ruby for a betrayal. When Selena insists on tagging along on the adventure, none of them can even begin to imagine what is in store for them.

There's also Sean, the best guy friend who wants more. Ruby also wants more to their relationship but fears her feelings are one-sided. It doesn't help that the one time she did act on the attraction, it came back to haunt her. Sean has his own struggles and doubts which include his father's assumption that he'll go to West Point after high school.

Once readers are down in the forbidden parts of the catacombs, the descriptions ooze with creepiness. Urban did her research! The endless rolls and shelves of bones of the dead are haunting. Add to that a conspiracy theory. Plus, the element of trust is one that all the characters must come to grips with. Can Ruby trust Selena even though a painful friend breakup hangs between them? And who really is Val? It seems all have secrets. The biggest thing though is to overlook those and work together.

There were a few things I didn't know like what is a Cataphile? It's an urban explorer who illegally tours the Mines of Paris which are the tunnels that are no longer used. The Catacombs are a subset of that network. Or the idea of people sneaking off into forbidden parts. Plus, the Catacombs is a 200-mile-long ossuary. That's longer than I thought! And it adds to the really real threat of actually getting lost if someone isn't paying attention on a tour.

Creepy thriller set in the underground caverns of the Paris catacombs. Darkness and the very real possibility of being lost forever bring confessions, reveals, and also hope of forgiveness. This is one emotion-packed ride through Paris!

Good Points
1. Creepy thriller in the Parisian catacombs
2. Vivid descriptions make you feel as if you're actually there!
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