I adored Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booream (my thoughts), so when I discovered that Booream had a new book coming out about a Banshee and a trip to the Underworld I was excited as could be. I was even more excited when I won a copy of Texting the Underworld via a giveaway at Charlotte's Library.
Conor O'Neill has the fright of his life when a banshee girl named
Ashling shows up in his bedroom. Ashling is--as all banshees are--a
harbinger of death, but she's new at this banshee business, and first
she insists on going to middle school. As Conor attempts to hide her
identity from his teachers, he realizes he's going to have to pay a
visit to the underworld if he wants to keep his family safe.
Conor is not a kid looking for adventure. He likes his world safe and predictable. And spider free. He is not a coward however, no matter how much he thinks he is (and his sister claims he is). When push comes to shove, he rises to the challenge and I liked him all the more for his certainty that he was not cut out for this. Conor is faced with a crazy situation and a horrifying choice that could possibly break anyone. Watching as he found his inner strength to do what was required was fascinating. He has just the right amount of snarky humor to keep a reader like me smiling all the way through too. I loved Ashling, the banshee, too. She has a job, a reward coming to her if she finishes it, and is being manipulated by the Lady who controls the Underworld (for the Irish). I loved how enthusiastic for life she was and how much she craved the world and all it had to offer. She and Conor made great foils for one another, and a great team.
The story is one that plays with Irish mythology and the idea of reincarnation. There are interesting flashbacks to Ashling's life in the world and how it connected with a past life of Conor. I enjoyed how the story moved between this and Conor's life in the modern world, with its typical middle school problems. I appreciated the interactions of Conor's family, the parents who cared, and the role is grandfather played as well.
Texting the Underworld is a fun adventurous mix of myth, modern technology, humor, and hard choices. I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys any of these.