Sunday, February 26, 2012

Going Underground

Going Underground by Susan Vaught
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 336
Format Read: ARC from publisher (thank you!)
Summary: Del is a good kid who's facing horrible circumstances. At 17, 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 whole sea of complications that threaten 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. Del is guilty in the eyes of the law — but readers will have to decide for themselves if he's truly lost his innocence.
To begin with, I absolutely loved the fresh idea that Vaught came up with as a story plot. It had me from the description, already making me wonder what happened to Del and what caused him to be a felon. Vaught also wove a wonderful tale together using flashback chapters sporadically throughout the book. They were placed in exactly the right places, sometimes making me angry that it would switch so suddenly back to the present because I desperately wanted to find out what happened when Del was fourteen.

I also loved Del's personality. He was such a great character to watch grow as the story developed, and there were about 6 or 7 different elements in which he did that, making the story line much more complex than a simple felon story. In addition to Del, I also fell in love with Harper, the owner of the graveyard; Marvin, Del's best friend; and Fred, Del's female African parrot. I literally could not get enough of these characters. Marvin was outlandish and weird, and seemed a little bit like my friends at times. Harper was so lovable and an alcoholic, and from the moment Vaught brings him into the story, I wanted to help him and be his best friend. And don't even get me started on the parrot. At first, I was very confused. I mean, a parrot? But it was SO COOL! I ended up loving Fred way too much and the fact that she insulted people in Spanish. 

The only character I didn't really like was Livia. She was the only thing I didn't like about this story, bringing my review down from a solid 5 to a 4 stars book. She just wasn't... anything. There wasn't much to her character, and since, from the beginning, she's the girl Del really likes, I just wanted something more from her. But there was no development, no anything to her character really, other than a quick explanation of why she comes to the cemetery. I was just so disappointed with her.

I also really liked how Del's personal story wove in with the legal story. It was so interesting to see his case develop and how he would handle and react to certain things. There were so many different elements to this story, and I really liked them all. Vaught did a wonderful job of weaving them all together without making it utterly chaotic and impossible to follow — everything was just right.