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Going Underground by Susan Vaught

Del used to have a normal life. Back when he was still fourteen, he played sports, hung out with his friends and girlfriend, and listened to his parents. But now, at seventeen, everything’s different. He keeps his head down at school and there’s really only one person that he can truly call his friend. He knows he’ll never be able to get a job other than the one he has digging graves. He knows that no college will ever accept him as a student. The dreams that he used to have of doing things and going places are long gone. And for what? All because of a stupid text and an innocently taken picture, Del is now considered a felon. Because of the cold eyes of the law, Del’s future has been taken away from him. But with the help of a new friend, a girl that Del thinks he could fall in love with, he’ll start to realize that no matter how hard his life gets to be, he still might be able to find a way to be happy.

Going Underground is a heartbreaking yet hopeful novel that draws upon real stories of juvenile sexting scandals. I’ll admit that when I realized that this was the reason Del was in such a bad place in life, I wasn’t sure if or why I should care. I’ve had no previous exposure to how the legal side of this issue can damage personal lives, and I thought this problem only applied to creepy old men. However, Vaught quickly showed me the other realities of this issue. Del is no creepy old man; instead, he’s a hardworking high school student and dedicated friend who’s paying for a mistake he made as a kid. I loved getting to know his character through his interactions with his best friend Marvin, his boss Harper, and even his parrot Fred. Vaught presents such a vivid and realistic portrait of someone who is just such a good guy that it’s truly heartwrenching to find out how his life has been utterly destroyed. I commend Vaught for writing about a lesser known side of a controversial legal and political issue and for this incredible and touching story.

This review does little justice for how much this book moved me. Going Underground should be read by those who also enjoyed This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas, Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, and Candor by Pam Bachorz.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from BEA

1 munch(es) :

Ashley said...

I have a copy of this one and this review is REALLY making me wish I had already read it. It sounds wonderful and you've compared it to Vera Dietz, which I absolutely LOVED. Great review.

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