Boy Underground

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Pub Date 02 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 30 May 2023
Sweet Cherry Publishing, Clock Tower Publishing

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Boy Underground is the powerful adventure story of Hugo, an autistic boy who decides to go all the way into the Paris underground to find a place where he belongs.

For Hugo, the world can be too loud and bright. He likes the quiet. He likes the dark. And he loves maps.

When Hugo learns that there’s a whole other world under Paris, a network of tunnels, quarries and catacombs mapped beneath his feet, he sets off on an adventure.

Navigating secret passages, narrowly escaping robbers and returning to old friends, Hugo discovers more than just buried treasure …

Boy Underground is the powerful adventure story of Hugo, an autistic boy who decides to go all the way into the Paris underground to find a place where he belongs.

For Hugo, the world can be too...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781782269755
PRICE £7.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 24 members

Featured Reviews

I really enjoyed the story of Boy Underground. It was interesting to see the world through his eyes and to discover how determined Hugo became in pursuit of his interest in maps. I also found the information about the Parasian cataphiles to be really interesting and the perfect background for an adventure of self-discovery and being comfortable in your own skin.

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I started this book, lost a bit of mojo and then came back to it and devoured in a day. Absolutely brilliant writing, had me hooked. The characters were perfectly portrayed so that I was desperate to know that things turned out right for them.

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We read this as a family, having ADHD and autism in our family. It is focused on Hugo's difficulties and his view of how to navigate the world but also the two subsidiary characters have their own problems which makes the book far more balanced. The book shows that we all have our strengths and talents but also everyone's experience of life is different. We absolutely loved it. The story is interesting and exciting and is well paced. This will become a favourite in our home.

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Hugo has a problem, actually, he has a few, but the main one is loneliness. He used to have two really close friends, Julie and Alex, but that's changed and he doesn't understand why. Hugo is autistic and finds the world a noisy, bright, and confusing place; he likes order, rules, and velcro shoe fastenings.

Another of Hugo's favourite things are maps, just like the lady at the library. She tells him all about the subterranean landscape beneath the streets of his Parisian home and he decides he needs to go there by himself as soon as possible. Nothing in the tunnels will be quite as he imagined but his biggest surprise, when he finally ventures underground, is who goes with him. As they explore the unknown  their discoveries take them on a far more exciting and dangerous journey than any of them thought possible.

Isabelle Marinov's first YA novel, beautifully written from Hugo's pov is overall positive and uplifting but also, reading it as the grandma of three boys with autism, heart wrenchingly sad. The author's descriptions of Hugo's gradual awareness of how to help himself gives the storyline a hopefulness but, seen alongside the problems and misunderstanding he regularly faces, shows just how difficult everyday life is for him.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the opinions expressed are my own. I enjoyed this very much, and feel it has given me a different perspective on autism and how it is viewed. Highly recommended.

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An adventure novel of about a 12 year old boy with autism and his quest to discover where he belongs in the world.

Great for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and readers aged 9-12.

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This was such a great concept for a children's book, I loved the use of Paris underground and the environment that was used. It was such a good read and I enjoyed the journey a lot. The characters felt like real people and it worked the way I wanted it to. Isabelle Marinov has a great writing style and I'm glad I read this.

"They’re leaving! Hide!’ I drag Alex and Julie behind a large pillar opposite the wall. ‘Turn off your torches!’ Alex does as I say quickly, but I have to nudge Julie before she turns off hers. I can’t see either of them in the sudden darkness, only hear someone’s – Alex’s? – strained breathing. I peek around the pillar. Seconds later the Vaders appear through the hole."

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Boy Underground is an interesting read, following Hugo, an autistic boy who is struggling to feel like he belongs. After hearing about the Parisian catacombs, Hugo decides to seek solace deep underground away from the world that he feels he doesn’t fit into. His subterranean voyage turns into an unexpected quest. Does he have the skills to survive underground?

I liked this story. It was an easy and insightful read. I wasn’t particularly gripped by it but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

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This is an amazingly wonderful book which puts a focus on the world of an autistic child and the difficulties which they experience in the world that we live in. It shows how they interact differently and how they view the world

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Beneath the streets of Paris is a huge network of underground tunnels. When Hugo finds out about this, he is determined to go exploring and to become a cataphile - a member of the group of underground explorers.

The main reason for Hugo wanting to join this group is because he has no friends above ground. Hugo is autistic, which makes him different, and the other kids don’t want to hang around with him.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I felt the plot became a bit complicated and rushed towards the end, but I was willing to overlook this because of the way Hugo’s autism was described and his special interests and sensory differences were woven into the story. I love books with autistic characters and Hugo is one of the best I’ve ever come across. I enjoyed finding out about the history of Paris too.

This is a lovely, heartwarming story about friendship and accepting people for who they are. I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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This book was fantastic.
I loved how it showed that not all children are the same but they are still accepted and that great friendships can come from a place you least expect.
The adventure they have together is great and the plot was so creative and well thought out. I hope there will be another book to come.

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