Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: Going Underground by Susan Vaught

Hardcover: 336
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Author Info: Website | Twitter 
Buy the Book: Amazon | IndieBound
Add It: Goodreads
Del is a good kid who's been caught in horrible circumstances. At seventeen, he's trying to put his life together after an incident in his past that made him a social outcast-and a felon. As a result, he can't get into college; the only job he can find is digging graves; and when he finally meets a girl he might fall in love with, there's a sea of complications that threatens to bring the world crashing down around him again. But what has Del done? In flashbacks to Del's fourteenth year, we slowly learn the truth: his girlfriend texted him a revealing photo of herself, a teacher confiscated his phone, and soon the police were involved.

Basing her story on real-life cases of teens in trouble with the law for texting explicit photos, Susan Vaught has created a moving portrait of an immensely likable character caught in a highly controversial legal scenario.
 Let me first give you a brief history of my relationship with this book. First I was told that this is a funny, dark comedy (it kinda is, but really isn’t). Second, I was punch-drunk tired one night when I did start reading it, got stupid and looked it up on Goodreads. Third, I read a spoiler on Goodreads that made me frustrated and I ALMOST didn’t continue because of that spoiler. Thank you, unnamed blogger. Ugh. But the idea of giving up on this book hurt me, so I sallied forth. And I am VERY glad I did.

This is the story of a kid who has his life shattered. I don’t mean ‘my girlfriend just broke up with me’ or ‘OMG. My parents are moving right before my senior year’ or even ‘my life is over, my parents are divorcing’. This more like ‘my life will never, ever be the same as long as I live’ and the finality of THAT is something most teens can’t grasp. Hell, *I* can barely grasp that.

But that is Del’s reality and it’s heartbreaking as much as it is completely inspiring. Because this book is about LIFE. I put that in caps because LIFE is an awfully big concept to anyone under a quarter of a century. To most people it is what our parents told us it would be, limitless. To Del, it isn’t. Not only is he having to accept his limited life, but is dealing with the understandable fear of something else possibly happening.

Now I will share a quote that when I read it, I actually sat back and absorbed it before moving on.
None of us can see nightmares like William Kaison barreling down on our lives, or we’d run like hell and never, ever get hit. Avoiding life, avoiding making any concrete plans for your life - that’s just one way you’re pretending you can keep bad things from happening to you again.”*
I have read hundreds of young adult books, a good portion of them contemporaries, and I can honestly say that I have never read one that deals with this particular issue. Especially one that has a teenager on probation. It’s something that didn’t really happen in my academically driven high school and in reading this book made me feel as though I was lucky to survive my teenage years without something awful happening cause it could have so easily.

I would HIGHLY recommend parents reading this book. I recommend ANYONE reading this book, because it applies to LIFE in it’s broadest concepts and how to deal with LIFE. Lastly, read it because it hurts my heart that this book is SO GOOD and has SO FEW ratings on Goodreads. Don’t read the reviews, just look at the sad little rating number.

*Quote taken from the ARC.

If you liked this review and want to read it for yourself, here's your chance! We have one ARC to give away. Just enter below :) This giveaway is US/Canada only.

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  1. Well....after that review I'm definitely intrigued. I saw this cover months ago and knew that I had to check it out. I'm SO glad you really liked it. Tough issues are definitely worth reading about.

  2. This sounds really interesting, especially in light of how prominent this has become in the news lately...

  3. This is a story that all teenagers should read! I know that as a middle school teacher, I find this topic not only intriguing, but also a necessity. Our kids need to know what will happen if you make a mistake this big!

  4. I've seen this book at the library where I work, but I just haven't had the chance to pick it up! It sounds like a really interesting book. I am definitely going to try to read it sometime!

  5. This book reminds me of this other book I've read, Not that kind of Girl, and since I loved that book, I'm hoping It'll be the same with this one.