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Rich Stowell

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Historical Fiction

Publisher:  Ekot Literary ISBN-10:  0983344507 Type: 


Copyright:  March 16, 2003 ISBN-13:  9780983344506

Four boys in high school in the 1990s find adventure and friendship while discovering the secrets of the legendary, ancient schoolhouse.

Barnes &
Rich Stowell

 In 1990, four boys entered high school just as countless kids before them. But this was no ordinary high school, and these were no ordinary students.

The Salt Lake High School East was in transition, some would say in decline. From all walks of life they came together in the quest of a legend: a secret, underground swimming pool. Daryl, Hiram, Earl, and Allen were the founding members of the Tunnel Club, dedicated to finding the lost pool. Early in the school year, they heard the rumors of a subterranean pool, long ago sealed up and nearly forgotten. Their search leads them into discovering all sorts of things about their school—its history, people, and their place in the community.

Determined to find out more, they uncover secrets, like burnt-out stairwells that lead to catacombs and other strange features of the ancient edifice. They also learn about the people behind the building, and the demographic and political forces behind its changes. While sneaking around the tunnels of the old East High, however, they discover more important things: friendship, loyalty, and trust.

Tunnel Club is the story of growing up in a very unique community and attending a school with a remarkable past. In many ways East High School represents the Salt Lake community from its early provincialism to its growth into a distinct American metropolis. The four protagonists represent what many boys experienced while growing up in such a peculiar time and place. Their curiosity and adventurism put them in a path where they meet the city’s history head on, and realize truths about life in Utah that most teenagers never consider.

Any graduate of East High School (96 classes since its opening) will love reading about its untold history, as will friends of family of the East bench community. The story has wider appeal, too—Salt Lakers, Utahns, and Latter-day Saints will all recognize themes that will interest, entertain, and uplift. Finally, Tunnel Club is a teenage adventure that adults and adolescents alike will love.


Past the tiny family room, stuffed with a giant sectional and large television set, was Allen’s bedroom. He was the youngest in the family, and had only recently attained the curious privilege of a bedroom in what was more like a dungeon than a living space. His oldest brother had just come back early from the mission field, so he was banished to the top of the three-story house, where ceilings were higher, windows bigger, but suffered from the irredeemable characteristic of being nearer Mom and Dad.

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