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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Book Review: The Secret Underground By Natalie Bahm: Simple WOW Read

The Secret Underground is a neatly woven story line by Natalie Bahm who has an active  blog site where she keeps pouring her beautiful thoughts from time to time for over 400 fans who follow her there, and also has her own website. I was lucky to win The Secret Underground autographed by Natalie Bahm through giveaways on Goodreads. The book is available on almost every global bookstore on internet - Landmark, Flipkart, Amazon, and many more.

Ally is the central character of this book with a number of strong supporting characters. Excellent characterization is one of the expertise of Natalie, sequencing story line beautifully is another. Ally is sixth grader, 12, sporty, social, intelligent and good by heart. Though the novel starts with a light read but becomes quite intense as you start nearing the end. Ally's younger brother is fond of digging in their backyard and nobody took it as a noticeable point when this digging kept on going for over a month, except Ally, who became curious to understand few points at this moment of time. One, what was driving Eric, her younger brother, for keep on digging for such a long period. Second, Where was the mud going if the digging was still on, as no addition to already existing dump was noticed by her.

Ally had been a solo witness of a bank robbery, during which she has a smash with one of the robbers, a blue eyed man. This notorious gang, identified by police as Guaze Men, were not into big thefts but focused on robbing small sized banks looting away small amounts at a time. Ally, after this encounter with one of the Gauze Men, became to frightened that her mother had to put her in piano classes forcefully, just to divert her mind away from these frightening memories. Each of the character in The Secret Underground has been created so excellently by Natalie Bahm.

Paul, one of the schoolmates of Ally, suffering from mild asthma, but otherwise a smart and sweet boy, is star of the eye of almost all the girls of their school.  Paul is a childhood friend of Ally and for a long time she never understood that he is her heartthrob. Gradually Ally got to know that it is not only her brother Eric, but all the boys of her locality and school who were engaged in this digging operation. An it was not a single underground tunnel but multiples being done from various parts. Where were all those tunnels leading to? Well, that operation was being overall handled by Paul and All became the solo girl being part of this later.

Regular robberies happening in nearby small banks by Gauze Men kept on frightening Ally time and again. The underground tunnels leading to a closed factory was just a curiosity point on part of all the boys in locality as they had an excitement of getting into the closed factory through underground tunnels and hence avoiding the barbed electrical fence to witness the huge machinery used in the factory when it was operational. That was really an excitement point for the teen boys and girls. The suspense about tunnels, hiding it from their parents, and ultimately finding out a big connect with the Gauze Men is all that is part of this suspenseful novel.