The Secret Sea by Barry Lyga

Zak Killian hears a voice. Could it be a guardian angel? A ghost? No, that’s crazy. But sometimes the voice is so real…It warns him of danger—directs him to safety.

Then one day Zak is standing on the subway platform when the voice warns him to run. The tunnel starts to fill with water. His friends Moira and Khalid believe this is more than a premonition, and soon all three find themselves in an alternate universe that is both familiar and seriously strange. As Zak unravels the mystery behind the voice, he faces decisions that may mean the end of their world at home—if they can even get home!





The author makes a note that inspiration for this story came about when he read a story that a ship had been unearthed under the ground zero rubble. A boat, so far inland and how it got there and the message is sends to today. After reading that this story made a lot more sense to me. But going into the book not knowing that led to some very weird times when I was trying to piece together what was happening and how the events made sense blended together.
This story is a mixture of a thriller-adventure with science fiction and a bit of paranormal. Zak begins to hear somebody calling to him, and soon he finds that is is being drawn to the subway system downtown trying to get him to cross over to where ever they are. With some prodding and accompaniment of his two best friends Zak does find his way over the border into a new dimension, following the clues to who the voices belong to and their connection to him.
I found myself flying through this book, there was always something happening and ramping up the story lines as it goes. There were times that I would find some pause trying to figure out how certain events could play out in the story. For example Zak has a condition and when the jump to this new dimension he must find whatever version of the antidote the new world had so he didn't end up dead. At first leading me to believe that it was something the author did to add some drama to the story to give it more of a thriller feeling, being on a deadline to find the medicine, or die.
What I found is that it made me think a lot about how it is just the small things that can make major changes to our futures, medicine, weather and ideas. In this different dimension that they have to find their way around is a mixture of the current day New York City and what could be a slightly different one. One of the main focuses of this story is New York City itself. As I only have a very small idea of the streets, monuments and buildings are like there. I believe that people who are more familiar with the city will really enjoy this story as it does compare a lot of the landscape between the two worlds.
I came away from this book with more thoughts of "that was interesting" than anything else. I didn't love the story but I found it very entertaining and attention grabbing, especially in the end where it took a bit of an angle that I didn't see coming. 

This review was originally written for and posted on readingteen.net

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