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The Orchard Underground

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  118 ratings  ·  30 reviews
An explosive, suspenseful and utterly brilliant middle-grade mystery for fans of Louis Sachar’s Holes.

Not-quite-twelve year-old Pri Kohli knows the town of Dunn’s Orchard better than anyone. After all, he was the first kid ever to live there. He knows its mysteries (none), its secrets (also none) and the best ways to have fun in it (climb a big tree and sit there).

So why c
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Hardie Grant Egmont
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  118 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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jaidyn l attard
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I’m one of those readers with three shelves of unread books, but you’ll still find me buying ten new releases every month. I blame my 30% QBD Discount. So when soon-to-be author Mat Larkin came to my Young Adult Fiction class and told us how it felt to hold, for the first time, an advanced copy of the book he’d poured his time and work into, I was completely in awe of this guy. He was so sweet and genuinely proud of himself. And when he read an excerpt from the middle of the book it had me dying ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A clever and fun story, full of wonder.

Just after declaring I was taking a break from middle grade fiction and going back to reading some ‘adult’ books again for a while I picked up a copy of this book for my son, then I met Mat Larkin at a bookshop and after hearing about this ‘world’ he’d created I just HAD to read it.

Sure, he’s a really nice guy, but could he really have written all of that into a book? Yes!
I have to admit it took me a couple of chapters to really get into it, but I fear th
Aleks Stapmanns
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is quirky, brilliant and hilarious for adults and children alike. You'll never forget Pri Kohli, Attica Stone and the amazing Slotcar, nor will you be able to forget the beautiful wonders they stumble across in Dunn's Orchard, a town that's supposedly got no wonders (and no orchard). I don't usually read middle grade fiction and damn, I feel like I've missed out on a magic orchard's worth of amazing books. I want to read this one again now :) ...more
Michael Earp
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is Just plain fun. Great characters. Brilliant banter. And the kind of adventure that's just on the right side of plausible (ie. the other side). ...more
Harry W
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Orchard Underground was shouting my name as soon as I read the blurb. An exiting book full of adventure mystery... and sometimes motorcycles in trees.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A riveting, suspenseful fast paced read centered around the characters of Pri Kohli and Attica Stone and their quest to find the orchard. A must read for kids and adults alike- full of fun and endless adventure
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-kids-read
My rather fussy and extremely critical 12yo bookworm absolutely loved this, despite it being parent selected. I'm now continuously being read extracts. Bring on the next! ...more
Belles Middle Grade Library
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finished this last night! Yet another MG that when I picked it up yesterday I was at 65%, & read the rest in one sitting! I LOVE MG!! Lol This book was amazing. It was a little weird & kooky-& I LOVE that! I was a little confused in the beginning-but I think I was supposed to have to read it to understand.😆 it was hilarious & still managed to have the amazing underlying messages MGs are great for. Pri was a great main character! His monologuing his thoughts was 🤣🤣every time! I LOVED At ...more
Carly Mitchell
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The cover blurb by Leanne Hall reads: "I loved every big weirdo in this magical, unpredictable and wondrous adventure!" and I want to just say DITTO. ...more
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the most WHOLESOME thing I have ever read. Bless every character in this. It’s honestly so magical and beautiful and so fun to read.
Renee Mihulka
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully imaginative and funny.
Liz Pardue-schultz
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a hilariously clever joyride from start to finish. Listen, I don’t rave about books very much and certainly not about those in the YA genre, but this one blew away my expectations. How incredibly refreshing to read such a fantastic story with nuanced characters who all had story arcs and plot reveals I didn’t see coming (despite trying my hardest.) It was a warm, brilliant, enchanting book I realized I could not put down and I cannot wait for the prequels. In the meantime, I plan on tell ...more
Clare Rhoden
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First up: I knew this guy in a former life, so I had some trepidation reading Mat Larkin's debut middle grade novel. What if I didn't like it? What could I say? I planned some soothing platitudes in advance, crossed my fingers and eyes, and started to read...
Well, all my planning was a waste of time. The Underground Orchard is seriously good. It's smart, funny, accessible, well-structured and a wonderful read. I'm SO sorry that I didn't get to read books like this when I was in middle school. Su
Book Bazaar
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this quirky adventure and gave it to one of our junior book clubs as their holiday read.

There were only a couple of us this month due to holidays, but we had a great conversation about The Orchard Underground, other books we loved and Star Wars!

We enjoyed the adventure, the fact that we were given a multicultural main character with no fuss and some great feisty female characters, particularly one who seemed a bit unusual in the way she thought and spoke. We loved the little twists that
Tim Armstrong
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book for middle grade kids. Really, really well written, we'll plotted, and funny to boot!
But it is the subtlety that won me over - the environmental subtext comes through, (and kids will get this) but for me it's the characters I loved. And I'm sure everyone else who read this will feel the same.
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book. I'm not a big middle-grade fiction reader but this book completely captivated me from the first page. The mystery at the centre of this book was so engaging and I'm sure could keep any child reading way into the night. Also I need a slotcar in my life stat! ...more
Anna Davidson
A fun story with plenty of adventure, mystery and a touch of fantasy. A great debut novel.
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pri Kohli takes a lot of things for granted in hist town, Dunn’s Orchard. After all, he is “The Face” of Dunn’s Orchard and his picture has been on every billboard, TV ad and advertising tourism brochure for ten years. Although this modern purpose built town seems predictable and planned it has deeper secrets. When Attica Stone, an inquisitive newcomer to town, starts questioning his beliefs Pri is forced to take a closer look at the town’s mysteries. Both Attica and Pri are intelligent protagon ...more
Liz Pardue-schultz
This is a hilarious, clever joyride from start to finish. Listen, I don’t rave about books very much and certainly not about those in the YA genre, but this one blew away my expectations. How incredibly refreshing to read such a fantastic story with nuanced characters who all had story arcs and plot reveals I didn’t see coming (despite trying my hardest.) It was a warm, brilliant, enchanting book I realized I could not put down and I cannot wait for the prequels. In the meantime, I plan on telli ...more
Alex Patterson
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I actually know the author through friends and he is a great guy
The book fast paced suspenseful and allowed you to put the puzzle pieces together creating an environment that you thought was real, and it has characters that you actually care about
Gemma Wilson
Took me ages to get into this book but glad I did. Funny, quirky characters, subtle humour throughout and a kid taking on the world.

Would be a good follow on from Holes too. Will certainly be promoting amongst students in 2021.
Exciting, fun adventure story with a well-plotted mystery, unexpected twists and turns, some really cool weird stuff, and a great bunch of characters. Dead brilliant, innit?
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
The story is really fun and I like all the whacky characters, but only giving it an "ok" 2 stars because I found the dialogue didn't ring true, between the two main characters. ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I raced through this - good quirky fun.
I loved the adventurous nature of the children.
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cool concept, interesting characters. Note for parents that there is some cruder language in the book. 10 year old enjoyed it.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book; I thought it was a very interesting book; it had a lot of mystery and adventure and I defiantly recommend it.
Jessica Gallagher
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a fun little book! Was a little disappointed the sloth didn't play a bigger part, but the characters were divine, and I especially loved the communications of Pri's stomach. ...more
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was ok
Very complicated explanations of the machinery in the House of Doors. May cause younger readers (ie grades 6 and lower) to lose interest in the ending.
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
This was a wonderfully charming read - full of spirited and wacky adventures. I loved that our main character and his family are POC in a way that is so natural and not forced upon the plot or simply there for the sake of diversity. I loved that we get straight into the action from first chapter. This book is also written so visually - I was honestly picturing the story as a graphic novel, and really think it would be suited for that format!
An intriguing little mystery with some sweet messages about family, friendship, and finding the magical in the everyday. It felt a little long, but overall I enjoyed this quirky little tale. And I loved Pri's habit of obliviously monologuing! ...more
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Mat Larkin writes children’s adventure stories with heart. After starting out on the Zac Power junior fiction series, his debut middle-grade novel, The Orchard Underground, was voted Best Children’s Book of 2018 by Readings Books customers. His follow-up, The Chameleon Thief, will be published in 2022. Mat lives and works on Wurundjeri land in Naarm/Melbourne.

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