Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Underneath
by Kathi Appelt


I have mentioned this book on so many blogs recently, that I decided I needed to post a review. Right off the bat I want to say, if you have not read this book, READ IT. Even if you don't like the storylines (and you will) you should read it to study Kathi Appelt's mastery of craft.

I don't know anyone who has read The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and not marveled at the beauty of the language and the cadence of the sentences. The Underneath is the upper MG equivalent of The Kite Runner. Seriously. Within the first chapter, I was captivated by the originality and beauty of the writing. I fell under the spell of the sentences and the words and the rhythm of this book. I did not want it to end. But wait - there's more...

In addition to the magic of the individual sentences and language choices, Kathi weaves together three seemingly unrelated storylines. She gets and holds our attention while shifting between characters and their stories, and then expertly brings them together for a stunning conclusion.

I can't explain the overall beauty of this book. When I think of it or share it with someone, I'm never sure whether I love it more for the story or for the beautiful way the story is written. It is a masterful example of craft.

What book/s have you read that blew you away because of the beauty or power of the writing?

22 comments:

Angie Kate said...

Oh man, Slaughter-House Five. It was the most powerful book I ever read. I must have walked around for weeks adding "so it goes" to the end of every sentence I could.

Does The Underneath correlate with The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns? I've never read any of them but you've got me intrigued now.

Jennie Englund said...

Doesn't the Southern Voice just blow you away? Rebecca Wells -- my hero.

Am now hanging on every word of THE HELP. "I hide my mad inside me." Voicy and true.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Angie Kate - It does not correlate with either of Hosseini's books. I was just trying to make a comparison between the amazing beauty of the writing. I remember wishing The Kite Runner wouldn't end, because I just wanted to read Hosseini forever. I had that feeling even more strongly with The Underneath.

Jennie - I want to read The Help. It's on my TBR list. :)

Catherine Denton said...

Oh you've got me curious now! Gonna have to get that book.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Hey, Shannon! The most recent book I fell in love with was Lisa McKay's "My Hands Came Away Red". I love her voice. Isn't it incredible when we find treasures like that?

Stephanie Thornton said...

Ohlala! I loved The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns so I'll have to check this one out.

I'll say that even though I despised the last few chapters, The Lovely Bones was lyrical. My all-time fave for beautiful writing is The English Patient. It's like reading poetry in prose the entire book. Of course, I also adore the movie. I'm a sucker for romance!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Alright, Shannon, now I'll have to add that one to my list, then pile of books. I just blogged about my latest/greatest read, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." So good. I'm still in love with the characters...

Tamika: said...

You've piqued my curiousity! Adding it to my TBR list. I hope to tackle that too in the coming year!

Have a Happy New Year!

Jemi Fraser said...

This sounds like a must-have for my classroom. Thanks for the heads up!

storyqueen said...

The Book Thief was the most beautiful book I read this past year...although The Graveyard Book blew me away as well.

Shelley

Terresa said...

The red tent by Diamant is a gem. Her story lines, characters and setting and descriptions shredded my heart and expanded my mind, in a very good way.

Thanks for the book suggestion!

Sara McClung ♥ said...

ooooh I'm trying to think of one that I've been so affected by recently... But I can't :( I get so much more caught up in storyline than I do in writing style, so I come up blank! But I will definitely check out The Underneath if I ever get through the mountain of books waiting to be read, haha!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Sounds like a great book. I'd say this year, the one that did it for me because of the simplicity, the authentic voice, and the message was 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

quillfeather said...

The Kite Runner is one of my favorite books. Deliciously well written.

Must check out, The Underneath.

Thanks for that!

Happy New Year:)

Katie said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR Shannon!!!!!!! I hope 2010 makes all your dreams come true :-)

Katie Ganshert said...

Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee. This blew me away!

Robyn Campbell said...

I gotta get this book now, you know that right? As if my TBR pile isn't big enough. And this will have to be at the top. Sheesh!

Can't wait to read it. Thanks Shannon and I hope 2010 is your BEST year yet!! :-)

Diana Paz said...

Great topic! Mine would be The Poisonwood Bible, though it's kind of a downer I couldn't put it down for the incredible writing.

The Underneath sounds outstanding, I need to add it to my tbr pile. Thanks!

Lisa and Laura said...

I can't wait to read this book! I love the title. Thanks for the recommendation, Shannon!

choco (In Which a Girl Reads) said...

Wow, this book sounds great! I love books with beautiful writing.

For me, the most beautifully written books I've read;

1. The Book Thief
2. The God of Small Things
3. The Great Gastby.

All wonderful books with breathtaking prose :D

Bane of Anubis said...

Great praise. I loved The Kite Runner's cadence (can't think of a better word choice to describe it). Thanks for the recommend.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Anything by Gary D. Schmidt.

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