“All the doors in the mountain would have to be explored – as well as the caves – and she needed to learn exactly what the Shaktra was, and how it had come into being, and how it could be stopped. But first she had to rescue her mother. She would do it. She was not afraid. She had power.”

I went through a phase, I was probably around 11 or 12, where I read every Christopher Pike book I could get my hands on. This was when he wrote exclusively “dark” young adult thrillers, kind of trashy really, and I loved them. I remember begging a teacher to be allowed to read one particular book of his that she had generally deemed too intense for my age group (I won). Imagine my excitement to find that he had more recently written a fantasy trilogy that was decidedly a Girls Underground story!

Alosha follows Ali, 13, who lives with her much-absent father, her mother having died earlier. One day she is hiking through her beloved woods when she is attacked by unbelievable creatures. She is told by an enigmatic spirit that the world is in danger, as creatures from the Otherworld are starting to invade this world, angry at humanity, and will be pouring in through a magical gate in just a couple of days. It is up to Ali, of course, to stop this.

She summons her friends and also acquires some stranger companions – a leprechaun and an ogre. They must go on a dangerous journey up a mountain to stop the gate from fully opening. They must also deal with the king of the elves who opposes them, and many unfriendly creatures. Along the way, Ali must expose a traitor in her company, pass several grueling test, and discover her true identity.

The next couple books in the series touch on other common GU elements, such as the girl being revealed to be more than merely human, a quest to rescue a family member, and a face-off against a female adversary.