Title: Gregor the Overlander
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Underland Chronicles
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Publish Date: 8/4/2004
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Source: Indie Bookstore
Buy the Book: Gregor The Overlander
SUMMARY: When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and ratsbut the fragile peace is about to fall apart.
Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland’s uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever.
Rich in suspense and brimming with adventure, Suzanne Collin’s debut marked a thrilling new talent, and introduced a character no young reader will ever forget. (Via Goodreads)
SHAUNTA’S REVIEW: One of the best things about Middle Grade fiction is the way that the characters have the freedom to be truly herotic and adventurous in a way that just doesn’t work in YA or adult fiction. Gregor is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. He’s eleven. Young enough to still believe that he can be and do anything. So, when he’s called upon in this book to be a warrior, destined to save an entire universe, he doesn’t hesitate for very long.
The result is a fun, exciting story about Gregor and his baby sister Boots, who battle the rats, ride cockroaches and bats, save the day with cans of root beer, and ultimately save the one person they need the most in the world.
I would have been crazy about Gregor the Overlander and the entire Underland Chronicles when I was nine or ten years old. I thought it was great, even as an adult. I’m really looking forward to reading this one with Ruby. I might even save it for her to read to herself in a year or two, because sometimes the best adventures happen when you embark on them on your own.
This book is not Hunger Games methadone. It’s written for a much younger audience. But it’s easy to see, reading this first Suzanne Collins series, why Hunger Games worked so well. Collins has a fantastic sense of timing. She isn’t afraid to push the edge of what’s comfortable. Gregor the Overlander is very clearly a middle grade book, but Gregor sees things and does things that are scary and difficult, and Collins never backs away from them. She is a master storyteller, and that shines through even in her first novel.