Comments for Below
Below by Meg McKinlay is the story of a town that is gearing up to celebrate its relocation and the creation of a lake (due to the intentional flooding of the old town). Twelve years on, the town is facing a new drought and pieces of the old town have begun to surface at the back of their man made lake. As a Californian watching my state go through its own worst drought in years and seeing old things surfacing as the water recedes, I can say this book struck home.
Cassie who was born the day the town was flooded feels compelled to investigate the true story behind the town's flooding, feeling that something is off on the way everyone seems to remember it. Her best way to do that is through the old town itself, which means swimming in the out of bounds area.
The story of Old Lower Grange rings true. Many towns have been relocated and the old buildings flooded as populations grow and with them the need for water. Near where I live, there is Shasta Lake which sits above Kennett when the Pit, McCloud and Sacramento Rivers were damed in 1948. More recently near San Diego, Olivenhain Dam was built and flooded out a valley near Escondido. Looking at Google Maps, you can see a road that leads right up to the water's edge (and under it).
Suffice it to say, I loved this book. I loved how the true story behind the town's flooding was revealed over the course of the summer. Cassie and her friend who are both outsiders in that they are just too young to have known the old town but are too old to feel a part of the new town were the perfect pair to uncover the ways their lives were forever changed by the flooding.