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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan Hyde

1941 America. Steven Katz from a well to do farming family, who are ultra conservative is different. He has found friends which are not in keeping according to his mother of their status in the community. One of them is Japanese origin, born and bred in America but with Pearl Harbour harsh treatment meted out to the Japanese on the one side and his friend and his family get incarcerated in a camp. Another close buddy of his is on the run, because his own father has lied to the police on a battery charge intimating to them that it is the son who is responsible when Steven knows very well on the day in question four of them were on a hike. The actions of the adults in the situation draw the four boys closer and closer together. One volunteers for the Army and on the journey out his ship is torpedoed. So then there were three. Nicky is hidden on the farm away from detectives and kept till it is safe for him to try to find his mother who had abandoned him as a child. That does not end well either. The Japanese are releaed eventually and Steven finds that the insularity of his family is holding him back and he is just waiting for his eighteenth birthday to leave home. The fact that he has discovered he is homosexual and has feelings for Nicky does not help the situation, and once his family knows this it certainly makes him very isolated. The story of a young boy facing responsibilities and pressures well before his time, facing situations which he cannot imagine and trying to deal with them whilst at the same time being under his parents control being under eighteen was hard. Steven did not openly rebel which would be the option of most. He bided his time, waiting for the opportunity to do what he had to do. A fabulous coming of age story, set in hard circumstances of family who were constrained by their upbringing and could never see the bigger picture. A family who preferred to lose their son, rather than acknowledge him for what he was. Sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley.


  1. This sounds quite good. Lake Union has some fine book offerings - glad you enjoyed this one.

  2. This sounds like a tough read but a wonderful one! I've enjoyed some of this author's other books and will have to pick this one up.