Going Underground

Grade Level: 
7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Character Education: Responsibility
Civil Society
Fiction Literature
Philanthropic Literature
Book Title: Going Underground / Author: Susan Vaught This literature guide was written by teens for teens to accompany the reading of this "resilience literature." The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions to guide reading comprehension and promote dialogue about issues of resilience, trust, independence, family, and community. This guide was written as an assignment in Mrs. Gresham's 11th grade literature class, and includes suggestions for community engagement.

Reading Level: Ages 12-17

This literature guide was created as part of an 11th grade project at Castle Park High School in Indiana. The students chose the book to read and wrote the following questions and project ideas to stimulate thought and action about real issues.



  1. What questions do you think this book will answer?
  2. Why do you think the author wrote this book?
  3. What genre is this book?


  1. In the real world we all make decisions that are not the best, and Del made a bad decision even though he didn’t realize it would turn out bad at the end.
  2. We all do wrong things, nobody’s perfect. Livia’s family runs away from their problems. They don’t try and face them. Some people in the world do that, but others face the problem and get it through it. If you run from your problems you will never get anywhere in life.
  3. Del is a grave digger because that’s the only job he could find since he’s a criminal. These days they let criminals work at fast food restaurants and everything.

During Reading


  1. Why did the author add the second paragraph on page 7?
  2. Why does the author use flashbacks to three years ago?
  3. What makes the fairy girl so captivating to all that see her?
  4. How would you rewrite the last chapter from Cory’s point of view?
  5. Which character would you like to spend the day with and why?
  6. What do you think would have happened if Del told Livia about his past?
  7. If you were Cherrie what would you have done differently to get Del’s attention?
  8. What are the pros and cons of telling the truth to Livia?
  9. Do you agree with the actions of Del when Livia’s dad goes to his house?
  10. Hypothesize what would happen between Del and Marvin, if Marvin didn’t leave?
  11. What are the consequences of Livia and Del being out late?
  12. How do you think you would feel being in Del’s position?
  13. If the pictures never were taken, what do you think the outcome could have been?
  14. Do you think the title of this book fits so far? If not explain, and give an idea of the title.
  15. How is Livia similar to Cherrie? How are they different?



  1. -Harper died from internal bleeding from cysts that burst open in his throat. He was an alcoholic. A lot of people today die from drinking too much. It may not be the exact way Harper died, but its alcohol related.
  2. -Some of Del’s charges got dropped. The court systems finally realized what he did was not a crime. The laws got changed and Del got some charges dropped. This happens every day in the world, whether the wrong person gets convicted of a crime, or the “crime” they committed wasn’t really that big of a deal.
  3. -When Cherrie comes to the cemetery to tell Livia lies about Del, she’s just making a fool out of herself. I see this sometimes in high school but it happens mainly in middle school. People like Cherrie get jealous that somebody like Del is happy, and she wants to ruin his life.
  4. -Del reminds me of the song “Addicted To” because he’s always thinking In his mind of what he wants to do with Livia and what he did with Cory. A big part of the story focuses on that so you know that’s probably all he thinks about.
  5. -Harper is Del’s boss and he constantly drinks. Del minds his own business and doesn’t say anything to him. Harper has a major drinking problem and so do many people around the world. I think more help needs to be offered and provided for alcoholics.
  6. -Drinking and driving. Livia tells us the reason why her family moved. The reason behind the move was that her sister was drinking and driving and crashed into another vehicle killing 4 people. This happens every day in reality. They need to make harsher laws so people will be scared of  the consequences and not drink and drive.




After Reading

  1. Questions:
  2. Which pre-reading questions did this book answer?
  3. What were the main ideas of this book?
  4. What cause and effect relationships were revealed?
  5. How did the author reveal descriptive situations?
  6. Would you recommend this article to others? Why or why not?


  1. -One of the major themes in this book is injustice.  Injustice means lack of fairness or justice. Del is not treated fairly in court. Cory doesn’t get charged with anything because she’s just a few months younger. Del gets charged with pornography and he’s a convicted rapist. They both took part in the act, so they both should be charged with the same thing. They were both willing, so it’s really not considered rape. A book similar to Going Underground is Until Proven Innocent. In both books both of the boys were innocent, they didn’t do anything wrong. The law says they did, but eventually the law got changed so that their charges would be dropped.
  2. -Being a criminal and not telling someone you love about it. I recently saw an episode on Criminal Minds that was breathtaking. What happened was this guy was a criminal (rapist) and he met a young girl and they both liked each other. They had only been dating a week and he raped her and killed her. She didn’t know he was a convicted rapist. This is related to Going Underground because Del and Livia are really starting to like each other, and Del still hasn’t confessed that he’s a criminal. Also Del didn’t kill Livia, but what if she doesn’t want to do anything with him, and he decides too?
  3. -Our book, Going Underground, is similar to My Big Manifesto, which is by the same author Susan Vaught. They both involve romance, and they both make you want to keep reading more and more.




  1. -Research the victim’s aid support services available in your area.
  2. -A community service project that would work out well for the book Going Underground would be working with the local government to start a victim's aid support service.
  3. -I think it would be a good idea for a police officer or some kind of professional speaker to come to the school and talk about sexting. They should explain what would happen if they got caught, and all the consequences.