Seventeen-year-old Loretta Lynn Duvall has spent her life cleaning up her mother’s messes. When her mom leaves on a summer business trip, Loretta and her friend Cora get stuck working at Willow Grove, the house and property owned by crazy old Noleen Deerborne. Meanwhile, Loretta’s friend Ethan has grown suspicious of his parents’ involvement in a survivalist organization called The Group. What’s more, Ethan suspects that a connection between Willow Grove and The Group lies in an underground maze of tunnels dating back to the Civil War. After a series of suspicious incidents, these inquisitive teens decide to investigate further. Soon Loretta and her friends have tunneled themselves into a mess of their own.


Tunneling is a thrilling adventure story that explores profound messages about life. The characters—especially Loretta, Greer, Ethan and Granny Noleen—are unforgettable. This book reads like a classic. I was captivated, filled with the sense that I cared about Loretta’s world and wanted to be part of it.

--Dr. Kate Evans

I was drawn in by the characters of Loretta, Ethan and Lone Pine itself to a story that quickly establishes suspense and anticipation. As befits a young adult novel, the adults are secondary, although their ranks are populated with color and authenticity as well.

Loretta strides through the angst of a teenage crush and lonely home life with spirit and self-sufficiency, strengthened by her trusty sidekick Cora. But for me, Ethan, observant narrator of the evil that is afoot, portraying eloquently both the limitations and strengths of his Aspbergers challenges, is the one who anchors me to the story. And the tiny desert rat of a town, Lone Pine, is brought to life through revelations of history as layered as its landscape. I immediately went searching for more information about the fictional landmarks that were set amongst the geographic ones I knew from experience.

--Connie Corcoran, Librarian