Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Deep by Susanna Vance

Nothing really bad ever happened to Birdie Sidwell. And she hates it! She yearns for drama, angst--something atrocious to provide fodder for the amazing book she wants to write. When her parents take a trip to Caibbean, she gets her wish...

Morgan Bera is a child of the seas. Raised by nomadic Norwegian parents who encouraged her to chart her own course, and filled with sorrow after the seas claim one of their own, she attempts to establish a new life for herself in the warm waters of the tropics.

But first Morgan must get "official" papers. And there's only one person who can help her--someone who has an unseen capacity for evil...

(Our reviewing format is posted on the sidebar to the right.)

Character Development: 7/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Ending: 6/10
Voice: 6/10
Setting: 9/10
Recommendation: 7/10
Total Score: 51/70
Grade: A

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Very, very mild and very infrequent.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Two characters become drunks, but they are neither prominent nor very important characters.
Sexual content: None.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Kidnapping, child abuse.
Aimed at: ages 11-16.

Deep was an enjoyable little book. I didn't begin enjoying it until about halfway through, though. The beginning wasn't at all slow or boring, I just severely disliked one of the two main characters, Birdie. She was a stuck up, ignorant, stupid girl. A tad bit unrealistically so, if you asked me. I know Vance was merely emphasizing her shelteredness, but I found it irritating and it was hard to care about Birdie.

Now, Morgan I liked. What is there not to like about an illegally independent teenage seafaring Norwegian nomad? Her character could only be described as "wicked cool", and I loved her throughout. Her thoughts, pains, narration, and voice was clear and rung true from the very first moment until the end.

Vance's writing flows very rhythmically between the perspectives of the two girls, even as they come together. She plays a bit with time and flashbacks, and the effect is interesting. It turns out that Vance is very good at writing psychotic people, as two completely disconnected characters seem to be. The heaviness of her book comes from the inner-conflict of hating and loving and hating to love and loving to hate the superbad antagonist. It's all very creepy and well done.

One of the big problems I had with this book was that at the end, hardly anything had changed. Okay, obviously, some very big things had happened, but our main characters just went back to what they were doing before, acting in the same way, speaking the same. Birdie was snobbish and Morgan was sailing until the very, very, very end. I was left thinking, Where is the internal change, the lessons learned, and all that?

But, regardless, this is a fantastic book for slightly younger readers to read as well as high school aged. There's a little something in here for everyone.

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