Public speaking tops the list of the most common fears, followed closely by claustrophobia and the fear of the unknown. The latest heart-pounding novel from Newbery Award winner Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Shiloh) taps into these fears in very real ways.
Small seventh-grader Buck stutters and suffers from bullying at the hands of his peers, even as he pursues a path of self-improvement and tries to reduce his stutter. He and his best friend, David, spend their spare time secretly exploring the caves of Northern Virginia, where they dream of finding a never-before-entered cave. Their fun explorations end when David moves away, but Buck continues to search, ultimately finding an opening that leads far underground. But Buck breaks the cardinal rule of caving by exploring this new fissure by himself, and readers will find themselves holding their breath as Buck struggles to free himself from the tunnel.
Cavers use the term “going down in” for descending deep into a cave. Readers will enjoy “going down in” this book, traversing Buck’s above and belowground worlds, right up to the story’s intense climax.