Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Neal Shusterman
For ages 12 and up
Simon and Schuster, 1999   ISBN: 1416997474

Beneath the streets of New York City there is a secret world known as the Downside. Very few people on the surface know of its existence. Fearing the noise, light, and danger above ground, the Downsiders rarely come to the surface. However, there is one teenage Downsider called Talon, who is drawn to the Topside world, and when his sister gets ill he goes above ground to find medicine for her. When he tries to steal the medicine he needs, he meets Lindsay, a topside teenager who is fascinated by Talon and his story.

When Talon agrees to take Lindsay Downside, she is thrilled. His world is fascinating and she even dares to wonder what it might be like to live there. Unfortunately, her visit is not well received by the Downsiders, and Talon has to face the consequences of his actions.

This remarkable book is not just a fantasy with a compelling story. It is much more. The story explores the idea that the truth must be faced and accepted even when it is painful. It also looks at the ways in which people can be led to believe just about anything, under the right circumstances. Readers will quickly find themselves hoping that Talon and Lindsey will find a way to save the Downsider world and the people who live there.