Release Date: September 13, 2011
From the Publisher: When does falling in love become a crime?
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.
336 Pages, Bloomsbury
Del’s story was not the usual sort of story that I read, but I’m very glad I did. It took me a little longer to get into the main character’s head than normal, but I think that’s because I don’t often read books with a male main character.
The story is so very relevant to today’s society. Though the story doesn’t fully reveal what Del’s crime was until nearly two thirds of the way in, it’s not surprising when you finally get the whole picture. The way Vaught led up to the final reveal left me feeling exactly the way she wanted me to feel: sympathetic, outraged at the system, and silently cheering for Del to succeed in life. The reader is not meant to judge Del for his “crimes” but to see past them into the person that he is, the person that cannot be seen underneath his convictions.
This is not an easy subject to read about, and I’m certain it was not easy for Vaught to write. She did it beautifully and nearly flawlessly. I found myself with tears in my eyes on more than one occasion.
I give Going Underground four out of five stars, and I recommend it for both boys and girls. It should be mandatory reading for all junior high kids who don’t understand that seemingly innocent actions can have very serious consequences.
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