Review & Giveaway: Going Under by S. Walden

Posted May 3, 2013 by Yesi in Book Reviews, Giveaways / 7 Comments

Going Under Cover
Title:  Going Under
Author:  S. Walden
Publication date: March 19, 2013, by Penny Press
Genre: NA Contemporary
Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars (mind-blowing, shattering, etc…)

Review: Yesi


Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls.

Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret.

(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains graphic sex and language and a description of sexual violence.)


Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble


I don’t even know where to begin. I love, love, love to read. I find myself getting lost in the story, being mesmerized by the words, and feeling all sorts of emotions over fictional characters. I am always left with something special in my heart when I finish. Some books leave a lasting impression and some really don’t. To say that this one left a lasting impression would be an understatement. Sure, I have cried and laughed with books before, but for some reason, this particular book made my heart ache, my mind swell with overflowing emotion, and in the span from beginning to end, left me with a healing heart. I say healing because even though I was completely satisfied with how everything turned out, the events leading up to it are still fresh in my mind leaving hurt in my heart. To me, a book that does that is special in a way others are not.

“You think you have it all planned out. But something in you always surprises you and its buzzing undercurrent that keeps you silently guessing…”

Brooke is a fun-loving 18-year- old girl who made some bad choices that affected her relationship with her best friend Beth. We meet her as she getting ready to attend Beth’s funeral.  We see her struggle with living with the choices she’s made without ever making amends with her best friend.  She knows her friend’s death isn’t because of her betrayal; she knew Beth’s secret, yet she carries the guilt of that betrayal with her.  We get a flashback of what it is she did, and for that moment I questioned whether Brooke was a character I would like.  The author does a great job in making us see past that betrayal and really paints a picture of a girl who made a mistake but cannot forgive herself.  At the funeral she meets a handsome boy, who she later refers to as funeral guy, and finds herself in instant lust.  The feeling becomes mutual to this reader because Ryan (we do learn his name eventually) is pretty darn awesome.

This is where the story really begins.  Brooke decides to attend Beth’s high school, and because she does know her best friend’s secret, she concocts a plan to take down the boy who she is sure is responsible for her friend’s death.  As it states in the blurb, Brooke figures out that there is more to the story. This boy and other boys on the swim team have a Fantasy Slut League (FSL) and earn points by “scoring” with girls.  As she learns more about this, she devises a plan that is downright scary and dangerous.  She is bound and determined to take these boys down no matter the cost, even if it means sacrificing herself.  Here is the curve ball though–remember hot, funeral boy?  Yeah, he goes to the same high school and is a bit of a social outcast.  It does not stop her attraction to him, and she wants to know all about him as well as the mystery that surrounds him.  As a reader, I too wanted to know more.  He was sweet, quiet, insanely handsome, mysterious, and little does Brooke know at that time, just how important he’ll become in her life.

“He looked at me with those ocean blue eyes, his brow furrowed in thought, and I decided in that moment I didn’t want to hang out. I wanted to make out. Hard.”

Now Brooke has to decide what to do, continue her Veronica Mars sleuthing and take down the boys who run the FSL with whatever it takes or let this amazing boy into her life and forgive herself enough to be happy again.

The journey that the author takes us on is filled with so much emotion, and it is done perfectly.  The tone of the book could have been depressing all the way through, but on the contrary, Ms. Walden makes the reader fall in love with the right characters and feel hate towards the ones who are despicable and deserve the worst.  She does that with lightheartedness in the right places, funny even sweet, and lets us heal right along with Brooke. The author also brings on the full feeling of hatred, loathing, and pure sadness too.  There is a particular scene towards the end that was so hard for me to read that I had to step away, but it was written so well that I felt that it was a necessary part of the story.  In my opinion, that is a hard task to accomplish.

“I’m talking about the kind of indignity that changes you as a person, makes you withdraw, hide from the world because suddenly it’s turned into something frightening—full of dark corners and monsters.”

This book is emotionally captivating, beautifully written, absolutely riveting, and I am so glad that I took this journey.  Definitely a must read!


About the Author:  S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about it.  She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at and follow her blog at where you can get up-to-date information on her current projects.


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7 responses to “Review & Giveaway: Going Under by S. Walden

  1. Yesi,

    Thank you so much for a thoughtful review of Going Under. I’m so glad you took the journey–I know it wasn’t easy–and that you emerged feeling happy with the way it ended. I hope your book club liked it, too! <3


    • Yesi


      You are most welcome! It took me a couple of to gather my thoughts so I am glad you liked it. Thank you for giving us this heartfelt story. Book club meets on Monday…I will let you know how it goes. So far everyone is raving about it. 🙂

      Yesi 🙂

  2. Heather C

    This book sounds amazing! I’m definitely adding it to my “to read” list! Thanks for posting about it. I feel lucky to have found it!

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