Length: 368 pgs / N/A audio

Overall: 🐢🐢🐢🐢


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Writing Style:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Character Development:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

So, tell me about the white flakes that fall from the sky… do they taste sweet?

Under Central Park by D.W. Spinola

The Story:

A shy orphan with peculiar eyes in search of his father. A mysterious vanishing. An ancient manuscript filled with strange potions. An underground brotherhood keeping the world safe from a looming horror. A world deep below Central Park where all the answers will be found, and the darkest secret will be revealed.

Join 12-year-old Matt Church as he plunges into a world of dark mysteries where he will face his worst nightmares and discover the truth. Self-belief, friendship, and the unbreakable bond of blood ties are at the heart of this enchanting and gripping saga.

Key Elements:

Fantasy, Young Adult, Fungi, Religious, Mystery, New York City, Middle School, Central Park, Orphan, Multi-world Travel, Secret Society, Family, Animal Companions,

Others in Series:

Book 2: TBA

Book 3: TBA

Why This Rating?

Full disclosure, I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for a voluntary honest review.

This is such a fun story! I really enjoyed the multiple elements this story brought in and the characters we met along the way. I mean who doesn’t want a secret society helping save the world!? And to be able to meet members and SEE one of the hidden locations in Central Park no-less! Heck Yes! I also enjoyed the way Spinora wrote everything. The vivid descriptions added to the magical feel this book has. You never have to worry about down time or boring moments while reading. There is always something around making you turn those pages. If there wasn’t something actively happening, you can see the set up building just before the ball starts to roll. The conversations felt pretty fluid with some jumping around scenes occurring. There are some pretty vocabulary words that would have some of the young readers pausing and probably needing some help with. Considering this is targeted to Middle School/Young Adult readers, this is a going to be a good challenge for them.

Also, side note, I didn’t think I was going to be learning stuff, but I sure as freaking did! I learned so many things about space, mostly related to the stars and constellations, and about mushrooms. A crazy amount of knowledge on fungi you guys. But that makes sense since fungi are a major part of the Knights of the Forest of the Order of Saint Benedict’s way for saving the trees and the world (I know, hell of a name, but this is the secret society I mentioned). The young readers might find these subjects quite intriguing after reading this. Who knows maybe this will inspire someone to follow their interest and become a mycologist (someone who works with fungi) or become an astronomer. That would be pretty amazing!

We got to visit another world and what a world it is! So much of this story takes place in New York City, Central Park, and within the Order’s church underneath Central Park. To be able to travel into this new world was super cool. I love when new worlds are SO different from our own daily life (this is actually why I chose the quote I did for this review). I don’t know if including this much into a first book was needed though. The adventuring that happened with the Order’s location was a bunch to unpack. We learned so much and we were starting to get into the habit of the Order’s activities. I felt like it was going at a solid pace. Then we mange to get out and we have to head straight into an entire other place. Making us have to learn and unpack a whole new place. It seemed like quite a lot to have for a single book especially if the target audience is MG/YA. Heading into the other world also just felt like a new book to me, not a part 2 for the same book. Not complaining to much on this one though! I loved that the adventuring kept going and I didn’t have to wait for the next book, which is the worst part of being an avid reader.

It was a very unique story! There were so many things that I really enjoyed while reading. My heart goes out to the father in the very first chapter and after reading this completely thru the beginning makes WAY more sense. This might be a second read-thru type of a read to see and catch all the things we learn as the story progresses. I do think this is going to be a fun read for any of you who also enjoy reading YA books. Yeah, this one might be a little on the younger side, but I can see a young reader picking this one up and becoming engrossed in the writing which is always a wonderful thing to see! Or if you are intrigued by mushrooms. Trust me this one is created for you all. The second one hasn’t been announced yet for this series but I am looking forward to finding out what is going to happen next! Don’t worry, the ending wraps things up kind of nice and doesn’t leave you with a horrible cliffhanger. However, there is absolutely more to come!

Time to get lost in the next story!

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