Cover Image: Geo


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I read about 30% of this book. I tried to go back to it a couple of times, but wasn't able to get very far.   I found the language a bit heavy whilst struggling to figure out what was happening.  I do think it is a nice premise , and loved the underground aspect.  But overall not for me.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

DNF at about 15%. I just couldn't do it anymore. This book is super weird and it was just way too weird for me. I was so thrown off by the funky world and just couldn't get my bearings in the story. The worldbuilding was distracting and I was just hoping that this book would pass faster. IT's not a bad book at all-- it's just not for me.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to finish this title and give it a fully fleshed out review. I think this title will work and be an amazing fit for many other readers. It just wasn't for me.
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A fantasy adventure with a message of the power of friendship and not letting the mundanities of life interfere with the pursuit of your dreams. The author brings various minerals and gems to life and imbues them with colorful personalities. Readers encounter several different types of wild critters with a section of the book dedicated to some facts on each one that makes a cameo appearance in the story. References to the classics are interwoven into the tale as well as nice easter eggs for adult out-loud readers or students who have studied Greek mythology. The rich descriptions of each character makes the whole book read more like it would make a bang-up graphic novel or has potential as an animated movie.
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Geo is the first novel by American author, Topher Allen. It is aimed at middle-grade readers. This year, for their one-week annual vacation, Geo, and his friends Howard and Carver, have decided to go camping outside their underground city. Geo is a miner at the Noble General Specialists Inc. New Frontier Mine, and exhaustion, mingled with tales from Grampa Theo, and their trips together when he was a young crystal, spurred a desire to go further afield.

Negotiating dark tunnels on instinct, trying to find the Blue Orchard, Geo and his friends get lost. Then unstable ground, earth tremors, a landslide: suddenly it looks like they can’t easily return to the city. Luckily Selwyn appears, apparently a local tour guide, although it’s quickly clear she’s a novice at guiding.

In quick succession, they are washed through the gorge by a raging river, narrowly escape a horde of hungry salamanders, try to navigate that river in a wooden(!) boat without oars, and find themselves stranded by a strange little cottage. The old lady they meet there, apparently a librarian, if her house full of books is any indication, reluctantly agrees to help them get back to the city.

Before Geo, Howard, Carter and Selwyn eventually get back to civilisation (as they know it), there are encounters with wild, fanged, beasts, bizarre (and voracious) sea creatures, cute but poisonous organisms, and bats. Along the way, they (eventually) learn a lot about themselves and each other, getting into quite a lot of arguments and even a few brawls, before they realise they need to work as a team.

Allen populates his novel with some quirky but relatable characters: Howard, a safety officer, who would have preferred to go to Funderland, gets the nickname Captain Panic for his extreme reactions to every little thing that they are confronted by; Carter, an appearance-conscious lawyer, is cool, calm and laid-back in the face of adversity; Selwyn, never comfortable in the city, finds she feels less invisible with Geo and his friends; and Geo is bored with his work and life, and looking for something more.

There’s plenty of action and adventure for young readers, as well as a few life lessons about friendship and loyalty and priorities, but after already including a good helping of action scenes, at about 75% Allen throws in another 20% of action that might translate well to animated cartoon, but becomes rather tedious in print. Not all readers will skim to locate the resolution in the final few chapters. This will likely appeal to those younger readers who enjoy an overdose of action scenes.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and BooksGoSocial.
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