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Going Underground

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  716 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Del's not a bad guy. He's just a misunderstood criminal.

Seventeen-year-old Del is a good kid, but one mimro mistake three years ago was all it took to turn him into a social outcast. Now, with a criminal record, the only job he can get is digging graves-not exactly your typical after-school gig. But it's in the graveyard that Del meets the beautiful yet sad Livia, who
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  716 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Meet Del. He’s a seventeen-year-old gravedigger with a secret. He owes his parents a debt of gratitude for the way they stuck by him during the worst of a terrible time. All of his childhood friends had to leave the state and scatter across the country just to escape the stigma that attached to them all … Del has few university prospects, because who’d accept a student with a criminal record? And he has regular sessions with a psychiatrist who is constantly asking Del to explain his anger.

Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Things I was expecting this book to be:

1. On the cover of my copy there is a quote that says "Few will be able to look their cellphone[s] in the screen without a shudder and a 'what if...?'" - BCCB. Which made me incredibly excited, thinking that this would be a book about mobile phones taking over people's brains! Like The X-Files episode Blood (everything is an X-Files episode, and if it's not it will have been a Simpsons episode). I do so love technology controlling us and turning us evil (in
Melissa (i swim for oceans)
Del never meant for any of it to happen. Neither did Cory. They were children, but they liked each other, and they decided that before they went too far too soon, they'd test the waters with photos of themselves. That one simple act sent Del's world spiraling into a dark abyss of beign a convicted felon and registered sex-offender. Years later, he's desperate to put the pieces back together, go to college and find a good job, but his past is still haunting him. Can he find peace with his past, ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Going Underground is a provocative, topical and thought provoking novel exploring the issue of sexting and it's repercussions for one young man. Fourteen year old Del was popular, athletic and planning a career in medicine or law, until the exchange of risque texts with his girlfriend, Cory, blew his world apart. Now a few months shy of his eighteenth birthday, his dreams in tatters, Del is waiting for a chance to reclaim his life.

While media cases have focused on instances where an explicit
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What’s the point?

My name is Del Hartwick and I have a felony conviction. In the eyes of the law, I am a criminal. I can’t tell you it was right, but I’m not sure I was wrong. .. The law says it was wrong, so I have to accept that, but I would like you to know the rest of the truth. I am not what those charges say about me. I’m not anything like that.

My name is Cain Delano Hartwick, and I want a future.

Judge me on what I can do, and give me a chance.


Gaah! I
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Seventeen-year-old Del has kept to himself since getting in trouble three years ago. Big trouble. He accidentally committed a felony three years ago, but is punishing himself worse than the legal system ever could. While at his grave-digging job, he sees a beautiful girl. Legally, he's allowed to date, but will he break his self-imposed restrictions and risk forgiving himself? And, there's a sidekick female African Parrot named Fred.
GOING UNDERGROUND is a cautionary tale about the dangers of
Alanna (The Flashlight Reader)
Oh my. Ohmyohmyohmy. This was a great book! I knew this would be good because of the content, but I had no idea how great it was going to be. I have to go ahead and put out there that the style of the writing in Susan Vaught's book Going Underground reminds me a lot of Chris Crutcher. (He is an awesome YA writer, BTW.) The story does alternate between the present-- Del's senior year-- and the past. It's not a choppy flip flop either; it flows really nicely. The only thing that would make it ...more
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Having read the back of the book blurb and based on the cover, I wasn't sure how I would like this book. I mean the idea behind it is clearly something young adults should think about and understand the consequences of their actions in the eyes of the current laws, but how would it work as a story plot? Would it come off preachy? Or would it just be a back drop to an otherwise generic young adult novel about two kids in love? Since I hadn't read Vaught's work before, I had no idea what to ...more
Miranda Lynn
I didn't know what this book was about before I started reading it, but I am surprised that it's something that I ended up not liking. A quirky YA novel about a boy who works as a gravedigger? Sign me up! It sounded exactly like something I would love. But I was so underwhelmed.

The first problem is the male protagonist. I don't have anything against male protagonists in general, but I do think that it's the kind of thing where, if you're going to do it, you need to do it right. And, while this
Cassie Gutman (happybooklovers)
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 ...more
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a book that parents HAVE to read. If you have kids, especially teenagers, then you must read this. I have to say that this really made me think about our legal system. Things are not always black and white and when it comes to sex offenders we often think of sick perverted people (adults) that do horrible things to someone else. Well, this was not the case in this book.

Del had a normal life. He was 14 years old and into sports and top of this class. He played baseball and had a sweet
Trisha W.
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
For what ever reason this book started off slow for me. And I am amazed now to think that it did because I really liked this book. It was only slow through the first chapter and a little of the second but then I started to really get into it and read it in one sitting. I actually stayed up until 11:30 last night just so that I could finish it and see how it ended.
One thing that I absolutely loved about this book was all the music. I am a huge music lover. I always have music playing if i'm
Jolene Haley
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I read this book in one day, in a matter of a few hours. I attribute most of this to the exquisite story telling of this author Susan Vaught.

I must say that originally, I was beyond drawn to this story, because the macabre side of me loves anything involving graves, cemeteries, and boys who live or dwell in them. But I wasn't prepared for how good this novel actually turned out to be!

Vaught does an amazing job portraying the voice of a teenage boy. I fell in love with Del, the protagonist,
It just goes to show you that expectations ruin everything. Lately, I've read a bunch of books that although I was super-psyched to read them when checking them out the library, turned out to be wholly disappointing upon actually reading them. Weird, right? So, in truth, I had no expectations regarding Susan Vaught's Going Underground. I liked the cover a lot. I'd heard some good stuff. But that was about it.

But man, it was really good. Not kick me in the ass stupendous but easily the best YA
I liked the premise and this was very readable story. As a young adult book it was still thought provoking. I have had lots of conversations about the unfairness of statutory rape charges and that when two people are similar in age, they should both (not just the boy) be held accountable.

I wasn't quite sure that Del would be quite so guilty. I get that he'd be angry and that he would feel outcast, but I would have expected more righteous resentment (rather than guilt) over the issue. I
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of the best books I've read this year, and it's one that would make such a good pairing with WANT TO GO PRIVATE? Del is a fantastic character and the story is heartbreaking. Oh how much I wanted him to succeed. It's rare I love a good character so much and want nothing more for them to succeed, but Vaught was so successful in eliciting these feelings from me as a reader. Does that make me sound crazy? Sometimes you want the good ones to have a rough road, right? This time, I didn't. Because, ...more
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
I really didn't care for this book. It is about a kid who commits a crime, unknowingly, a crime which isn't dramatically revealed until about halfway through the book. The book starts in the present and flashes back and forth three years in the past, which is when the crime was committed. The crime, sexting, was done without the character knowing what he really did wrong until after the fact. And while i do realize this is a social issue that many teens know nothing about, I got the feeling that ...more
Jun 08, 2013 rated it liked it
So improbable that it's got to be based on a true story.
Zach Braggs
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I have been reading the book Going Underground by Susan Vaught for about a week now and have enjoyed it a lot. I found this book in the U.H.S library just randomly and decided to read it because it sounded kinda interesting. Susan Vaught is the author of many books for teens including Trigger, My Big Fat Manifesto, Going Underground, and Freaks Like Us. She is also a practicing psychology in Kentucky where she lives.

The Book Going underground by Susan Vaught shows how Del, the main character,
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I picked up this book hoping that it would be... something? I don't know really. It was kind of slow for me. It wasn't the worst book I have read, but it wasn't the best either. It was just average for me. I don't know what to say on this book apart from the fact that it was slow in the beginning but it picked up around half way.
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
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, young-adult

When Del was 14, he got caught up in a sexting scandal that labeled him a felon. Now, at 17, he’s a pariah of society, can’t get into college, and digs graves for a living because no one else will give him a job. After living three years in near solitude, save for his parrot, Fred, and only loyal friend, Marvin, Del has met a girl who may be the one. He’s afraid to get too close though, because he fears she will leave when she learns of his past, or that he’ll find himself in trouble again.
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I try not to give away too many details about the books I read, as I don't want to spoil it for the readers. In this case I am going to give away more, because of the content, it's not going to be a book for everyone (although maybe it should be).

Del is 17, and when he was 13, he had a girlfriend who he loved. They didn't want to have sex, they thought they should wait, but they did send each other naked pictures of each other. When a teacher confiscates their mobile phones, the matter falls
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Going Underground wasn’t an easy book for me to read, mostly because I knew during the flashbacks what the end result was going to be for Del (since it’s revealed at the beginning of the book that he got into huge trouble for something and it’s basically destroyed his life). But it is also very tough subject matter, because it’s an issue that should be black and white – punishment of a sex offender – but this book shows you that there is a very, very large gray area. There were no criminals in ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Rating - 3.5

The Short Story? - I'm completely floored by this bittersweet YA contemporary. Vaught has created this highly controversial scenario that deals with a very authentic teenager and his problems with the law. Firstly, the male POV is a real highlight and treat, Del is such an aspiring character. Beautifully written, deeply moving and thoroughly enjoyable. Going Underground is a very unique YA contemporary!

The Long Story? - When I first started Going Underground I wasn't too keen
Reading Teen
READ THIS BOOK!! If you are a teenager, the parent of a teen, or have a teen in your life in any way, READ THIS BOOK! It will scare you to death, make you want to scream and cry and hurt your heart. I hesitate to put too much detail into this review because part of my emotions were drawn from wondering what exactly had happened. The main character is Cain Delano Hartwick, who goes by Del. He is a 17 year old high school senior who is a talented athlete and good student. Del has a part time job ...more
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Del was deemed a felon at age 14. It wasn't really his fault though. Now he's stuck at seventeen with no conceivable future in front of him. The only thing he has in his world is his parrot Fred and digging graves. It's here, at the graveyard, where he meets a girl who shines a little light in his life. He has to tell her about his past, but Del doesn't know if he can say the words out loud. If he wants a future though, he has to overcome his past as best he can.

Wow. This was an amazing story. I
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Before anything else, I would like to thank this book and it's author for introducing me to Snowball, the dancing Cockatoo. Seriously, I'm forever grateful. (If you don't know who Snowball is, head on over to YouTube and search for the video. Like, NOW.)

Fun and games aside, Going Underground is a very thought-provoking book that deals with a controversial and relevant issue.

This book could've easily come off as too political or too preachy but what saves the story is a very strong protagonist
Alicia Papp
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This novel opens with the main character, 17 year old Del, digging a grave and pondering his life in the 'deadzone' a place 'without life, without feeling, without air'. He has no prospects, despite still being at school and a good student, is not permitted to apply to college and the only job he can get is working for an alcoholic cemetery caretaker.

What could this boy, who was bright, funny and friendly, a child that any parent would be proud to call their own, have done that was so dreadful
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astrology sign: Libra

favorite book: Harry Potter (all of them) and His Dark Materials
(all of those, too)

favorite song:I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab for Cutie

current pet total:12 if you don't count the chickens, peafowl,
turkeys, ducks, geese, pigeons, or guineas.

names of my schools:
Vanderbilt University (MS, Ph.D.)
University of Mississippi (Ole Miss)
“Her lips taste like mint from toothpaste or gum, or sometimes like cherries or grapes from her lip gloss. She's soft when I hold her, with curves where my hands rest, and when I touch her I think stupid caveman things like, mine and totally mine—oh yeah, and all mine.” 21 likes
“Avoiding life, avoiding making any concrete plans for your life--that's just one way you're pretending you can keep bad things from happening to you again.” 13 likes
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