Book Review #1324
Going Underground by Susan Vaught
Rating: two stars (out of four)
It was a little hard to wrap my mind around this book. It was completely different from what I had expected. I'm glad I didn't read the plot teaser on Goodreads or another site, because I just picked up the book and started reading without the foggiest idea what it was about. I liked going into it with a clean slate because the suspense kept me turning the pages.
After I had finished this book I couldn't decide if I liked it or not. It dealt with a tough subject I hadn't even heard about. My initial reaction was not good because I could sense the author's bias in the subtext of the plot and it bothered me because I didn't have the same sentiments as her. But after thinking about Del and his life, I realized that while I didn't whole-heartedly agree with the author, I did share some of her sentiments. Del's life was completely messed up and his whole situation should have been handled another way, because it was not fair.
I had never realized how severe the law could be for this type of situation. And it really shined a light on teenagers and choices they thought were harmless but could lead to drastic consequences, which I thought was portrayed well. It was morbidly fascinating to see how messed up Del's life had become because of things he had done when he was younger. But at the same time, I do think that those sorts of things (I know, I know, I'm being cryptic, but I don't want to give away any spoilers) should have pretty severe laws because of the way it could damage someone else's life.
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It was a lot to think about, and while I wouldn't say that I loved this novel, but I was glad I read it. The story was pretty engaging, but I did feel like parts of it were unrealistic or brushed over. I wasn't sure why Livia was so interested in Del or equally, Del's fascination with her. Their whole relationship seemed fake and underdeveloped. I also thought Cherie was completely crazy and needed to get a life, I felt extremely sorry for Del throughout their entire interactions. I think the author was trying to soften us up to Cherie near the ending, but I wasn't buying any of it, I just wanted her to go somewhere else. I also wasn't sure about the parrot. She was just weird.
I applaud the author for writing about this and bringing it to people's attention. Hopefully it will open the eyes of teenagers who might not realize the legal ramifications of their actions. I don't know if I would recommend this book per se, but I wouldn't unrecommend it either. It just isn't one of those books that's chipper and engaging, but it does handle a difficult subject well.