I just received Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson yesterday. I finished it this afternoon, and it is a great book. I gave it to my son Josh (age 14) when I finished, and now he has finished it (200+ pages in one day – possibly his personal reading record), and also reports that it is good. Yes, he stayed up way past his bedtime, but it would have been been torture to make him put it down near the end.
The main character in the story is Thomas Hammond, an 11-year old boy who lives on the top of a mountain. His mother is widowed, but there is a man who wants to marry her. Tom hates him. One night, Tom falls asleep on a raft (a piece of styrofoam used to pack a refrigerator) and he finds himself going downstream into an underground river. There is a lot of adventure underground, as Tom struggles to survive and get back to the surface, and aboveground, as his mother deals with him missing. The action is quite intense, but there is nothing gross or obscene that a parent would need to worry about.
There is a bit of Tom Sawyer and the Odyssey in this, plus some of the surrealism of Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.) N.D. Wilson has a delightfully weird way of looking at the world, and this book should appeal particularly to any boy who is of an age to be able to read the Harry Potter books. It deserves to be as popular as the Harry Potter series, but it may appeal more to boys than to girls.