Story of a 12-year-old boy and the adventures he has in his neighborhood, dealing with situations like bullies, girls, and smugglers. Essentially Slice of Life
meets adventure in a suburban setting.
There's basically two elements to the book. The Slice of Life
elements are episodic, and woven inbetween the adventure elements, which follow the protagonists as they investigate a mysterious tunnel and a series of clues, resulting in them getting into trouble with smugglers.
This book contains examples of:
- Banging for Help: Amanda is Bound and Gagged in a crate and banging and "mmmphhing" to get attention, which scares Archie for a bit.
- Bound and Gagged: Happens to Amanda inside a crate.
- The Bully: There are two who play a role during the first third of the story. One of them has a bizarre obsession with pirates.
- Free-Range Children: The main characters explore the town, an underground passage, and even ride an inflatable raft across a river.
- Girls Have Cooties: Archie and his two male friends have a very negative view of girls, and don't want them to play tackleball (a variation of football) with them.
- Gosh Darn It to Heck!: The dialog contains exclamations such as "darn!", "good grief!", "darn near!" and "nothing doing!". The time period of the story isn't stated.
- Inevitable Waterfall: When riding an inflatable raft through a river, one of these shows up.
- Informed Attractiveness: The narration refers to three neighbor girls as "three attractive girls" when introduced.
- Kid Detective: The heroes become that (in the classic "clue solving" sense) when trying to figure out the secret of the tunnel.
- Linked List Clue Methodology: Each clue the kids find leads to them searching for the next.
- Secret Underground Passage: There is one used by smugglers, that the heroes stumble across while exploring the neighborhood.
- Shown Their Work: The author has a great deal of knowledge involving tunnel construction, and it shows. The tunnel and its design are described in great detail.
- Slice of Life: The main theme of the story, crossed with some suburban adventure.
- íThree Amigos! - Archie and his two friends, who he is usually with. Amanda and her two friends, who are usually with her.