Knee Deep by Joe Flood
Published on September 16, 2023
Reviewed by Samantha Calderone
Set two hundred years in the future, survivors of the environmental collapse took refuge underground in a subterranean utopia referred to as the sewers. Those who live in the underground maze of tunnels are referred to as the “sewerfolk”. Their community is made up of scavengers, thieves, misfits and mutants. Those living on the surface work for PERCH, an overzealous mining company set on remaking the world for their own gain. Cricket and her sister Amy have lived on the PERCH compound since they were young. After the disappearance of their parents, they were granted refuge and assigned to their own tasks above ground. When Cricket’s teacher returns from the sewers with a strange illness and news that her parents are still alive, Cricket sets off to find them.
Fleeing the compound and the overbearing Colonel Grazer, Cricket makes her way to the sewers with a canister left behind by her teacher in the hopes it contains the key to finding her parents. Underground, Cricket finds herself facing a savage new world, and must make quick decisions about who she can or cannot trust. Cricket quickly finds herself involved with two different gangs, both of which have been instructed by James, her teacher’s former student, to watch out for her.
Knee Deep is a dystopian novel that reads like a science fiction movie. While the characters are new, they feel somewhat familiar, and although Cricket is portrayed as a teenager, she feels younger than she is. In her search to find her parents, Cricket leaves behind the world she knows for a newer harsher reality and its impact on her is obvious. Cricket appears to be overexcited and does not seem to grasp the danger she faces until the end of the book. While this book was action packed, it was also witty and fun. This novel sets the backdrop for the next book in the series, and ends with a cliffhanger that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.