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Going Where It's Dark by Phyllis…

Going Where It's Dark

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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This novel is realistic fiction. If you are claustrophobic, you will have your stress level go up!

What I like I about this novel. I like the family--they are old-fashioned. They like each other; they eat together at the same time at a table; they aren’t addicted to technology; and, they are free to be themselves and go about freely. I will admit I was surprised when I discovered that it was a modern novel because our main character, Buck, might ride his bike ten miles. In fact, he hikes or rides and does whatever without telling anyone. He knows he is to be at the dinner table on time, so that’s when he’ll be home. He respects his parents even though he keeps secrets from them. Usually, modern novels have the cell phone front and center and the kids and parents argue about knowing where they are and texting each other constantly. In this novel, they live in a small town, which explains the freedoms Buck has that most parents are afraid to give their children.

Buck’s secrets:
He’s bullied by three really annoying teen boys.
He likes to go caving and does this activity alone, which is very dangerous.
He gets help on his stuttering without telling anyone.

What I don’t like about the novel. Buck goes caving--the scenes where he is crawling through these tiny passages where he could get stuck and he doesn’t even know where the passages go and if he can turn around make me claustrophobic. I had to skim these passages. The other odd thing about the novel is that it will suddenly call Buck’s parents by their first/last name instead of saying Buck’s mom/dad. Sometimes that confused me. For your reference, their last name is Anderson.

Buck’s best friend who likes to cave has moved. Buck now faces his bullies and his passion of caving alone. Summer is arriving quickly, so this novel mostly takes place over the summer with Buck helping the family by weeding the garden, helping some at the sawmill, and biking/caving/hiking through the day. He has a twin sister who is nothing like him, but they get along. His grandfather owns the house, so they all live with him. Buck’s uncle lives with them as well; he’s a truck driver, so he is gone frequently. When he’s there, he likes to help out. He asks Buck to help the neighbor, Jacob. Buck is pretty busy, but he still find time to go caving. All of these people and activities come to a head at the end of the summer.

It’s a good book with good people. Buck is much braver than I am. I would never, ever do what he does at the end. Would you be as courageous (or is he stupid?)? ( )
  acargile | Oct 27, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553512420, Hardcover)

From the Newbery Award–winning author of Shiloh comes a middle-grade novel that combines adrenaline-fueled adventure with a poignant coming-of-age story about a boy who loves the challenges he faces when caving but finds daily life dealing with his stuttering problem a most difficult challenge.

Buck Anderson’s life seems to be changing completely. His best friend, David, has moved away; his anxious parents are hounding him more than ever; he has reluctantly agreed to fill in for his uncle and do odd jobs for a grumpy old veteran in town; and his twin sister has a new boyfriend and is never around anymore. To top it all off, Buck is bullied by a group of boys at school—mainly because he stutters.
There is one thing that frees Buck from his worries. It is the heart-pounding exhilaration he feels when exploring underground caves in and around his hometown. He used to go caving with David, but he's determined to continue on his own now. He doesn’t know that more changes are headed his way—changes that just might make him rethink his view of the world and his place in it.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 29 Jul 2015 08:19:47 -0400)

"A coming-of-age novel about a boy whose daily life is difficult because he stutters but who discovers enormous courage when he goes on heart-pounding cave adventures"--

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