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Summary

During WWII, a teenage boy finds his voice, the courage of his convictions, and friends for life in an emotional and uplifting novel by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

1941. Steven Katz is the son of prosperous landowners in rural California. Although his parents don’t approve, he’s found true friends in Nick, Suki, and Ollie, sons of field workers. The group is inseparable. But Steven is in turmoil. He’s beginning to acknowledge that his feelings for Nick amount to more than friendship. 

When the bombing of Pearl Harbor draws the US into World War II, Suki and his family are forced to leave their home for the internment camp at Manzanar. Ollie enlists in the army and ships out. And Nick must flee. Betrayed by his own father and accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he turns to Steven for help. Hiding Nick in a root cellar on his family’s farm, Steven acts as Nick’s protector and lifeline to the outside world.

As the war escalates, bonds deepen and the fear of being different falls away. But after Nick unexpectedly disappears one day, Steven’s life focus is to find him. On the way, Steven finds a place he belongs and a lesson about love that will last him his lifetime.

©2021 Catherine Ryan Hyde, Trustee, or Successor Trustee, of the Catherine Ryan Hyde Revocable Trust created under that certain declaration dated September 27, 1999. (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

“Fans of Homer H. Hickham Jr.’s Rocket Boys, Andrew J. Graff’s Raft of Stars, and Hyde’s substantial backlist will savor this heart-opening and meticulously researched coming-of-age tale.”Booklist

What listeners say about Boy Underground

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Profile Image for Rusty Hudson
  • Rusty Hudson
  • 30-03-22

Good story, but not really an M/M book

I really liked the story and bought it because the coming of age/gay element seemed interested. Quite honestly the story would have stood on its own without it. If Nick and Steven had just been friends and the last chapter left off the plot wouldn't have been detracted from at all. Just have a realistic expectation as to what the M/M aspect is (it doesn't go beyond hand holding and one chaste kiss).

16 people found this helpful

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  • Thelma
  • 23-12-21

MAnificent

Boy Underground is another great story by Catherine Ryan Hyde, I really love the way she always brings a story to life making it very down to earth with situations that are very normal in our daily lives.

Boy Underground is about finding yourself no matter if your whole family is against it, about supporting your friends and sticking and following what you believe in. about being humble, empathic, and working hard to achieve what you have been dreaming.

Steven Katz didn't have the family he wanted, they didn't support him and had many beliefs that weren't exactly what Steve felt, he was constantly chastised and criticized by his own mother, making him feel like he was never good enough in her eyes. Steven had a very kind heart and he had a true friendship with Nick, Suki, and Ollie, sons of field workers. his parents didn't approve of this friendship, especially because of the heritage some of these boys had. in his mother's eyes, they were traitors of the United States, and they didn't deserve a friendship or a second chance.

Steven knew the real truth about what his friends were enduring and this was enough for him to forget about everything and help them in any way he could even if that meant hiding stuff from his family and even the police.

Boy Underground is the story many Japanese endure during WWll, an era they were being deported for the mistakes of others, without giving them any second chance to explain or even revoke such a terrible idea. they didn't have a home or family left and they were robbed of their citizenship, their family, their home.

I cried so much with Steven, the many times his family didn't see him or spoke so illy about his preferences and ideas. is like for them he didn't exist, it was more important what the neighbors will think of them than what Steven felt.

Steven's character was amazing, he was kind, humble and he had a heart of gold. I really love how he embrace his friend nick and helped him and the other in any way he could without caring if he would have any problems with his family.

The narrations by Dan Butler were amazing, this is my first time hearing his work and I really like what he did with Boy Underground he brought so much to the story and the characters.

Another great book by Catherine, I enjoy so much all of her books, and Boy Underground was not the exception it was beautiful, it was emotional it was hopeful, I enjoy it so much

16 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-02-22

Another great listen

I absolutely love this author. This story was written well about the lives on some young men growing up during the war. I did not expect 2 boys to be attracted to eachother and typically I wouldn't listen to a book with that kind of storyline, not that I'm against anyone who chooses to be gay, it's just not something that I typically would choose to read. anyways the story came together beautifully and it followed the young group of boys throughout their lives. I loved how they all carried their friendship even though how they thought things might work out didn't. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for a new book from this author. She's a great writer and I haven't been disappointed by one book yet. Highly recommend.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Cynthia H.
  • 05-01-22

Friends Forever

Very good rendition! Well worth the hours spent listening. Good friends are those who are there when you need them.

7 people found this helpful

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  • MissAngel26
  • 31-12-21

Absolutely beautiful

Wonderful, poignant novel that follows a young man's struggle, or a few young men actually, to come to terms with themselves and the hands that they were dealt in this fickle life. A lot of worthy topics are discussed here, and I'm SO glad Catherine was the one bringing these topics to the table. She always does it so well!! Easily 10/10. 5 gold stars!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Sher
  • 17-03-22

Great in all levels!

Beautifully written and skilfully preformed (audio version). The pain of how things were before and during the war for all Japanese citizens. All of the intolerance that went in that era should be a reminder to us all.....be kind to one another. I really loved this story. One of the best audio books I have listened to, ever.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Phyllis Hicks
  • 27-02-22

Incredible Story

I have hundreds and hundreds of audible books in my collection. This ranks as one of the best books to which I’ve ever had to pleasure of listening..

3 people found this helpful

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  • Savannah
  • 10-01-22

Beautiful story, wonderful audiobook

A story of friendship, love, and resilience. Author was able to make me feel a deep anger, deep sadness, and well, a deep happiness too. The voice actor did amazing too . Brought the story of Steven to life. Story flowed well and by the end I was sad it was over. Recommend 100 percent.

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  • Genie
  • 25-12-21

Excellent!!

Loved the narrator. Excellent book. Characters very realistic. I highly recommend this book by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

3 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Prinny abraham
  • Prinny abraham
  • 26-04-22

YA Historical Fiction with a Heart

You think you know the story of US Japanese Internment until you read Boy Underground. The author made me see the historical facts from multiple perspectives; including the family dog. We all need saving from public policy gone awry. The story draws a tenuous connection between US and the European camps. My heart ached for these characters for so many reasons. Fortunately there was a beautiful but bittersweet ending.

2 people found this helpful