What a heart wrenching story. I could not put it down, read it without putting down.
I love this author her stories are always so close to life and how we are made to feel.
I am such a fan of Catherine Ryan Hyde. This is probably one of my favorite books of hers. She develops characters so they could be your neighbors down the street. And what a great story teller. This book is about four 15-17 year old boys. They are still in school and just becoming young men when Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. They are kinda misfits even in their own families. Steven was having a hard time fitting in with the other kids at school. Suki’s parents are Japanese. Ollie and Nick are the other two in the group. I will recommend this book to anyone who will listen. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advance copy for my honest review.
What a beautiful story. This story is definitely one i will never forget. It deals with racism, homophobia, injustive and several other sensitive issues. I loved most of the characters especially Steven he is loyal to his friends despite the obstacles. We learn The Japanese internment camp at Manzanar which reminds me so much like the slave camps in Europe which completely disgusts me.
Overall, this is a very thought provoking and emotional book which I’m glad to have read.
thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union for the much appreciated arc in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own
This is my second Catherine Ryan Hyde book to read. She does not avoid controversial or hard subjects. Her characters seem so real you feel like it’s a non-fiction story. 1940’s, in California; Steven, Suki, Nick and Ollie - all considered outcasts. The lengths we go to protect those we love.
Wartime stories are difficult and heartbreaking to read. The aloneness and the distrust. The.feeling like you don’t belong anywhere; that you're not loved and accepted. 1940’s America, times were different. But the question is: Have we really changed?
I always enjoy her books and this was no different. The characters stick with you long after you finish the book. Can't recommend this book enough!
Catherine Ryan Hyde has done it again! I love her books, this one included!
Now in his 90's, Steven tells of his journey living as young teenager through the war with his friends Ollie, Nick, and Suki. Steven always felt like he never fit in until he met these 3 friends.
We follow these 4 through their intense time of living as a child during the war, and then brought to the current present day through Steven's story.
What a great read! I couldn't put it down!
I was not sure what to expect from this novel and it’s title. This story takes place in small-town America in 1941. Things were about to get very scary and dangerous for many people with the bombing. As an old Steven narrates this story, I was pretty much drawn right into his young life with all of the decisions and emotions it entailed. As he notices another young man, named Suki, at baseball tryouts, he notices things in himself that he wanted to pursue or grow. Suki was obviously trying to not make the team and Steven was only being pushed by his father to try out. He follows Suki and meets a small group of the boys that he attaches himself to. As the boys go off on a camping trip in early December, their worlds change forever. I loved the way the author peeled the skin on these young men and the dangerous and closed-mined times that they lived in. I got one third of the way through in my first reading! It is very hard to read about the racial hate of any people especially the young people caught in between their families, the law, and their friends. The bravery of some people always amazes me in the dark history of our world. May we all seek to be the braces ones. A wonderful read!
Yet another gripping, heartbreaking, yet heartwarming story from Catherine Ryan Hyde. Boy Underground is a coming-of-age story of Steven Katz, just a boy at the start of World War II, along with some new friends whose lives quickly intertwine and shape each other into the men they will become. Hyde's ability to draw the reader into the story and care about the characters continues to amaze me, and each story leaves me thinking, "This is the best one yet!" So, until next time... This truly is the best one yet. Five stars indeed!
A very emotional coming of age book, love and loss in war times. I do enjoy reading Catherine Ryan Hyde books. but this was such a special read, it follows a young boy trying to find himself and has been written in such a way I couldn't put this book down.
Simply loved it.
Thank you NetGalley.
I can never say enough good things about Catherine Ryan Hyde’s ability to weave together the perfect story. This is a story about war, loss, friendship, acceptance, hate, and resilience. She touches on many of the injustices in society in such a manner that serves to bring everyone together and leaves you touched by each character and their story.
Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan Hyde a five-star story. This was once again a fantastic story from this author, this is such an inspirational story, the characters and details will hook you, the strength of friendship that runs through this story, is what made it so powerful. The humility and strength in this story will absorb you.
I really enjoyed this book! I usually listen to books, so it is sometimes hard to keep my attention long enough to actually read one. This book gives a perspective(s) on WWII that I think is often overlooked or bypassed in our US History classes; that of the Japanese US citizens and what happened to them here in the US. I could also feel the agony and pain of what is was like to be a gay teenager long before it became anything close to acceptable. I love this author and this book does not disappoint.
If you are a Catherine Ryan Hyde fan, you know you are in for a good read when you pick up her newest novel. And you will not be disappointed. The story of a 14 year old lonely boy set in California during 1942-45. He makes three friends and they are in separable, until WWII hits. It’s the coming of age of the main character....Steven Katz and how he deals with his own feelings about who he is and what is right and wrong in the world. Well written, quick paced.
Steven Katz has a hard time fitting in at school until he meets Suki (Itsuki). Ollie and Nick at baseball tryouts. The boys decide to go camping together in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and set off on 6th December 1941. It’s a life changing decision for all three of them. Steven narrates looking back on these events in 2019 aged 94.
This is a beautifully written and poignant novel which handles sensitive topics with great care and respect. It’s an emotional story of tragedy, sexual orientation, homophobia, racism and injustice in more ways than one, as each of them faces one or several of these issues. The landowning Katz family dynamics are something else, even before war broke out Steven’s cold mother dislikes all these friends, initially because of different social status but she gets worse unfortunately. You soon realise there is something very basic missing in the home which fills you will sadness for Steven. You feel like an uncomfortable voyeur at some of the family diner table discussions which are just as unpalatable as the food. Some of these are pivotal at severing any connection Steven has with his family and at times there’s a disconnection in the writing which I’m assuming is deliberate on Stevens/the authors part. Steven is a really good central character, he’s constant in his loyalty to his friends despite the obstacles, he grows braver and bolder towards those he believes are wrong, challenging their views. Mr Cho becomes Stevens mentor and I really warm to him as he’s so wise and his counselling helps Steven immeasurably. The Japanese internment camp at Manzanar is also pivotal in bringing about further change in Steven, it has a deep affect on him as on those of us reading in in 2021.
Overall, this is a very thought provoking and emotional book which I’m glad to have read.
With thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
This YA exploration of the effects of WW2 on 3 teenage boys living in a small town in California was more affecting than I had anticipated. It offered some historical commentary to the US involvement. A pleasant read.
This is the first book I am reading from Catherine Ryan Hyde and i am very much impressed. This is such an emotional read, the characters are well-developed and memorable and they stay with you even after finishing the book.
The book is about standing up for your beliefs, about hardships of life and to learn and know how being true and staying true to yourself, is rewarding.
This is probably a 4.5 star for me. I love Hyde’s writing. I love that she always uses historical settings and gives us the point of view of a progressive thinker. I will definitely be getting myself a copy!
A book about standing up for what you believe and making choices that may ostracize you. A book about long lasting friendships ,tragedies and growing up in a dysfunctional family and community. A book about knowing that life is hard but being true to yourself means you can survive and be that better person.
Catherine Ryan Hyde is a favorite author of mine, as her standalones are typically heartfelt, focusing on everyday people trying to make their way through life.
Boy Underground is a touching story told through the first-person narration of Steven Katz. As the 14-year-old son of a large farm owner in rural California, Steven turns to a new group of friends in 1941 when his current friends disappoint him with their prejudices. Nick, Ollie, and Itsuki ("Suki") are not as well off, as their families are field workers, but the four boys quickly bond with each other. They embark on a thrilling mountain camping adventure together, only to find out upon their return the following day that Pearl Harbor has been bombed by Japan, leading the United States to join the Allies in WWII.
From then on, nothing is the same for any of the boys. Ollie, who is a bit older, enlists as a soldier and is sent overseas. Suki and his family are ordered to give up everything they have and to live at Manzanar, an internment camp for US inhabitants with Japanese heritage. And Nick, with whom Steven is developing a relationship that goes beyond friendship, is accused of beating and putting a man in a coma. Nick's father is the real culprit, but he opts for incriminating his son in order to save his own skin. Steven knows that Nick was with him and the others when the assault took place, but no one will listen, so Nick has to hide out to avoid being sent to reform school. Nick is the titular "Boy Underground," as Steven allows him to use his family's root cellar to avoid capture.;
What ensues are spoilers, so you will have to read the book to learn the details. What is important about the story is encapsulated in a philosophy on how to "practice living" espoused by Gordon Cho, an elderly Chinese townsperson who takes a liking to Steven:. " Enjoying the world just as it is. Understanding that many things are incomplete. Allowing it to be so." And: "Stop trying to change things that are out of your control to change." That philosophy is especially difficult to embrace for a boy who is coming of age and is forced to deal with such huge issues as a global war, homophobia, and xenophobia. Steven is feisty, inserting himself in confrontations that could harm him and trying to find his own voice, but even his parents are not supportive.
The book ends with a moving epilogue, which wraps things up in a mostly satisfying manner.
I enjoyed this unique perspective on one boy's struggle with extraordinary events that threaten to overwhelm him. The story is told in a straightforward manner, and I feel that most of it could qualify as a historical YA novel. I would have liked a little more character development and nuance to enrich an already interesting story.
Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.
The story of four young teenage boys growing up in a small town in California in the 1940’s.
I really enjoyed this book, the wonderful storyline, the description of the era and the memorable characters.
I was totally hooked from the first page until the last page.
This is only the second book I have read by this author and I was delighted to learn that she has written many more books for me to read and enjoy.
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.