When I was in middle school, I remember reading a novel (or possibly a series of novels, I don't remember) about a young boy (or possibly teenager) who goes through a hole in the wall of a building. This leads him into some kind of tunnel that he follows to an underground civilization below the city he lives in.

To summarize, the people below-ground face some kind of persecution from an above-ground authority who wants them exterminated, and that's the central conflict. I remember the story ending with the protagonist finding a bunch of abandoned floors in an old skyscraper where the below-ground people relocate to permanently. I think he also decides to join their society at the end, leaving his old home behind.

Anybody know what I'm talking about? I'd really like to know what the book(s) was/were called.

Feel free to ask me for more info, and I'll tell you whatever I can remember.


Possibly the Gregor the Overlander series? By Suzanne Collins, before the Hunger Games started...

There are some differences between these books and what you describe, but there are fundamental similiarities such as the urban setting of the protagonist, access to an underground civilization through a hole in the wall, and male protagonist.

The underground civilization was peopled by intelligent versions of urban wildlife: roaches, rats, bats....

Differences include that I don't think the underground civilization was threatened from above, but instead had internal conflict. But it's been quite a while since I read these.

  • I thought the civilization was made up of people, but I could be remembering it wrong. I'm going to check into Gregor the Overlander, and see if it rings any bells. – IronLightning Feb 26 '15 at 18:42
  • There were people down there too - I think. – Organic Marble Feb 26 '15 at 18:55
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    I read up on the series, and a few character names triggered my memory. In addition, the years when the books were being nominated for awards are approximately when I would have been reading them. Thank you! – IronLightning Feb 26 '15 at 23:25

The book in question is "Downsiders" by Neal Shusterman.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia entry for the book https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downsiders

  • Welcome to SFF.SE! Could you add some detail (e.g. quoting from the link) as to why this book matches the OP's description? Link-only answers are discouraged here, as the link might go dead and render the answer useless. – Rand al'Thor Sep 19 '15 at 15:06

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