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The Secret Underground

4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  84 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Twelve-year-old Ally is the only witness to a bank robbery in her small town. Unable to block out the memory of the robbers, a notorious gang known as the Gauze Men, Ally joins her little brother and a bunch of neighborhood boys digging a hole in her backyard.

Only the hole isn't just a hole - it's a massive set of tunnels snaking beneath the neighborhood and heading for an
Published September 28th 2012 by NLA Digital Liaison Platform LLC (first published August 19th 2012)
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108th out of 336 books — 616 voters
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48th out of 208 books — 111 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I had the privilege and honor of reading this story early (releasing Sept 28th!) and it is fantastic. I felt like I was digging up secrets and adventure right alongside the main character, Ally. The Secret Underground was a delightful blend of fun, excitement, and neighborhood drama. This story will forever have a special place on my all time favorites shelf.

The author, Natalie Bahm, is super sweet and giving. In true Natalie Bahm style she is donating all proceeds from this book to help a prec
Rhoda  Crowell
Twelve year old Ally, and her irritating little brother Eric are surprised on their way home from the movies one night when Ally comes across a bank robbery in progress. Terrified by the dreams of the "Gauze Men", especially the robber with his scary light blue eyes who knocked Ally over, she starts isolating herself from the group of girls in her class and joins her brother and the other boys in the neighborhood who start digging holes in the backyard. Except, they aren't just building a hole! ...more
This is a really fun read, a coming of age novel for probably eight to twelve or thirteen-year-olds about digging tunnels under the neighborhood. (I always wanted to do that growing up, but our water table was too high). Natalie does a great job building suspense, but the bittersweet looks into the characters' lives were what I enjoyed most. It helped me to remember what it was like as a late grade-schooler when everything in life is changing so fast. My wife and ten-year-old daughter and I read ...more
Wen Baragrey
I was lucky enough to be an early reader for this book. I am also little Jayden's grandma (the little boy who Natalie is helping with the proceeds from this book) and Natalie's friend. So, of course, I'm hardly unbiased, although I stand by my rating 100 percent. This is a story that deserves to be read and loved for what it is, quite apart from who it benefits.

What I can tell you in a completely unbiased way is what a wonderful person Natalie is and how much I wish her all the luck in the worl
Katie Rayl
Bravo Natalie Bahm! What a wonderful book. I liked it from the beginning, but about half way through I couldn't even put it down. The author did a great job with the voice of the main character. Just enough adolescent to be believable, and just enough maturity to be relatable.

I am embarassed it took me this long to pick up the book since the author is on my list of all-around awesome people. I cannot wait to read what comes next from her!
Caroline Rose
"What kid doesn't imagine digging a hole and discovering something amazing? Natalie Bahm opens a world of adventure and intrigue for readers of The Secret Underground."
-Caroline Starr Rose, author of May B

Patricia J. O'Brien
A mystery is brewing in Grantsville. Ally thinks it odd that her younger brother, Eric, is digging in the backyard every free moment, and the boys at school all have dirt caked under their fingernails. They whisper and pass notes. Something is up, and Ally decides to snoop.
THE SECRET UNDERGROUND by Natalie Bahm is a fun, spooky middle-grade novel about the adventure and also trouble kids dig themselves into when they sneak around behind their parents’ backs, trying to gain access to the secrets
When I was a little girl (like 7 or 8 years old) my older brother decided to dig a hole in a back corner of the backyard.
And he dug. A lot. For a long time.
The hole ended up being somewhere around 4'x6' in size and maybe 4 feet deep. A kid could sit in there with some head room to spare. It also became a 'Boyz Only' fort for my brother and his dippy friends so I was only 'allowed' in there a handful of times... sometimes willingly, but more often than not on a dare or something because my brot
Lynn Kelley
This is a wonderful book for boys and girls and adults, too. It wasn't what I expected. The title lead me to believe it might be a fantasy, but it's not at all. It's a realistic story with universal appeal. The tunnel digging is something most kids are intrigued with but usually don't have such an opportunity. The secrecy behind the tunnels and the end goal pulled me right in, as did the scary gauze men and how they spooked Ally off and on throughout the book. There are many interesting layers t ...more
Jaideep Khanduja
Book Review: The Secret Underground By Natalie Bahm: Simple WOW Read


The Secret Underground is a neatly woven story line by Natalie Bahm who has an active blog site where she keeps pouring her beautiful thoughts from time to time for over 400 fans who follow her there, and also has her own website. I was lucky to win The Secret Underground autographed by Natalie Bahm through giveaways on Goodreads. The book is available on almost every global bookstore on i
Medeia Sharif
Ally is terrified of a set of pale blue eyes. As the witness of a bank robber committed by the “Gauze Men,” she is fearful of bumping into them again, particularly the man with those chilling eyes. Still, she will have her adventures, and she does find something amazing in her town.

Boys are digging a network of tunnels leading to an abandoned steel mill and Ally is the only girl to join them in this endeavor. It’s hard work and dangerous work, especially with the coming rains and the possibility
Mike Kalmbach
Oct 12, 2012 Mike Kalmbach rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Middle grade students, lovers of mysteries, and folks looking for a fast, intense read
What a fun read!

Intense, suspenseful novel for middle grade readers--and adults will enjoy it too! I had so much fun with this book, and didn't want to put it down, even for dinner!

What did I like? The mystery and suspense introduced by the tunnels, and the wonderful characterization of the main character, Ally, and her female friends. The Gauze Men made wonderful villains, and I loved the conflict surrounding the bank robberies, keeping secrets from parents, and early relationships.

My only iss

I personally did not read this book myself, but I did loan it to my 11 year old cousin who loves reading, hoping to get a fair review for this book. And she loved it for the most part. I explained to her what this book was for and she thought it was so nice. But anyways she told me she really liked it. She thought it was really thrilling and wondered if there would ever be a sequel. She thought Ally was awesome and I can tell she left an impact on her. Thanks!
Author Natalie Bahm combines everyday middle school troubles (friends, crushes, parents) with a genuinely suspenseful and heart-pounding adventure. I enjoyed the characters, and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough at the end! An excellent gift for the tween in your life, especially for spooky Halloween, and as a bonus, ALL proceeds of the book go toward helping a sick child. You really can't go wrong with this one!
I love finding books that have good role models for young girls! The main character is not afraid to defy stereotypes. She goes digging with the boys but still likes makeup sometimes. And as others mentioned, the premise of the book was so imaginative! The kids, who are way smarter than any 11 year olds I know, manage to make a secret network of tunnels that lead to a forbidden part of the town. How awesome is that?
Loved everything about this book! One of the best middle-grade books I've ever read.

Not only does the author have a huge heart (all proceeds go to help Baby Jayden), but this story captivates! The pacing and plot were excellent and the characters interactions and personalities brought me back to a time long forgotten. Very fun read. :)
This book is a perfect read for my 9 yr. old daughter- plus it happens to of been written by a dear friend whom I had the pleasure of attending elementary school with when she herself was just like Ally! It's a sweet little read with big heart- all of the proceeds go to helping Baby Jayden. Buy it NOW!
This is a really charming book that I think is great for everyone 10 and up. I couldn't put it down. I liked the suspense and was happily surprised at the unpredictability of it. Natalie does a great job at bringing the reader in.
I really enjoyed the book. It's a perfect middle grade fiction. I especially liked the parts about Ally, the protagonist, taking piano lessons and her recital. Ally was a very believable.

Fabulous job, Natalie!
Read it a couple of times now and absolutely love the thing. It's witty and engaging and would make a great read for pretty much any kid. It's a little intense at the end so keep it 8 and up and you should be fine.
Jayashree R
Jul 22, 2013 Jayashree R rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All suspense lovers
Recommended to Jayashree by: got it from giveaways
wow... no words... to explain it more

i loved it!!!!!!!!!!! sooooooo much..... finished it straight in a single read!

too good...

Thanks for gifting such a wonderful book.

warm regards

Amanda Lloyd
This book was so fun and so easy to get through- I read it in a day. It was gripping and entertaining, everything that makes a great "middle-school aged" book :)
This is an awesome middle grade read and is great for boys and girls. It's a fun adventure and I love Ally's voice. Any kid would love it! I do!
Instantly transported me back to my teenage years. I would have liked to know more about what happened at the ending. Good job Natalie!
Aug 12, 2013 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: middle school & up
Recommended to Mary by: overdrive
Great read for middle school students - believable. Fifth going into Sixth graders will relate well with this story.
Great mystery read for the adventurous 10 - 12 year old. Class read aloud material.
S.L. Wallace
This was an enjoyable book for kids.
Jemi Fraser
Loved it! :)
Jalynn Patterson
About the Book:
Twelve-year-old Ally is the only witness to a bank robbery in her small town. Unable to block out the memory of the robbers, a notorious gang known as the Gauze Men, Ally joins her little brother and a bunch of neighborhood boys digging a hole in her backyard.

Only the hole isn't just a hole - it's a massive set of tunnels snaking beneath the neighborhood and heading for an abandoned steel mill. Ally is old enough to know the danger, but she reasons spending time with sixth-grade h
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Natalie has four very little children and one normal-sized husband. When she’s not changing diapers, scrubbing toilets, picking up toys, making food, or cleaning dog vomit off the carpet, you might find her writing stories.
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