Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 7
- Reading age: 8 to 12
“A swift-paced survival tale that’s a cool blend of Lord of the Flies and Journey to the Center of the Earth.” —School Library Journal
“A sharp meditation on the seemingly universal difficulties of being young, smart, and uncertain.” —BCCB
“A multifaceted journey from darkness to light.” —Kirkus Reviews
Winner of the Red Maple Fiction Award
A class field trips turns into an underground quest for survival in the latest middle grade novel from the author of Edgar Award winner OCDaniel.
Mr. Baker’s eighth grade class thought they were in for a normal field trip to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. But when an earthquake hits, their field trip takes a terrifying turn. The students are plunged into an underground lake…and their teacher goes missing.
They have no choice but to try and make their way back above ground, even though no one can agree on the best course of action. The darkness brings out everyone’s true self. Supplies dwindle and tensions mount. Pretty and popular Silvia does everything she can to hide her panic attacks, even as she tries to step up and be a leader. But the longer she’s underground, the more frequent and debilitating they become. Meanwhile, Eric has always been a social no one, preferring to sit at the back of the class and spend evenings alone. Now, he finds himself separated from his class, totally by himself underground. That is, until he meets an unexpected stranger.
Told from three different points of view, this fast-paced adventure novel explores how group dynamics change under dire circumstances. Do the students of Mr. Baker’s class really know each other at all? Or do they just think they do? It turns out, it’s hard to hide in the dark.
About the author
Wesley King is the author of the Edgar Award–winning OCDaniel, which Booklist praised as “complex and satisfying” in a starred review. It was named a Bank Street Best Book of the Year and received Canada’s Silver Birch Award. Its companion, Sara and the Search for Normal, received a starred review from School Library Journal. King’s first middle grade novel, The Incredible Space Raiders from Space!, was called “a well-drafted coming-of-age story” by Publishers Weekly. King is also the author of Kobe Bryant’s New York Times bestselling Wizenard series. He lives in Nova Scotia.
Excerpt: A World Below (by (author) Wesley King)
The quick-paced adventure and positive message of setting aside past hurts are sure to appeal. A multifaceted journey from darkness to light.
When Mr. Baker shares with his eighth grade AP class that they will visit Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico instead of the two-night stay in Albuquerque that last year’s class experienced, his students are not pleased. They reluctantly show up the day of the trip with snacks in tow and sensible shoes for all the walking they will be doing. What they did not prepare for is the earthquake that strikes suddenly and swallows the class deep into the earth. . . . The students discover the deeper they progress in the caverns, the more bizarre underground life exists—including oversize bugs and spiders. They even discover a secret society underground but are sworn to secrecy about its existence. . . . A swift-paced survival tale that’s a cool blend of Lord of the Flies and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
School Library Journal
Other titles by Wesley King
Butt Sandwich & Tree
Sara and the Search for Normal
The Wizenard Series: Season One
The Wizenard Series: Season One, Collector's Edition
The Wizenard Series: Training Camp
The Incredible Space Raiders from Space!
Space Adventure Books Sampler
Blast off with excerpts from new books by William Alexander, Stuart Gibbs, Ken Jennings, Wesley King, and Mark Kelly!