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Young Adult Fiction 194
haunting and riveting YA horror
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THE DEPTHS is a haunting and atmospheric YA thriller/horror read. Addie is a highly talented freediver, but after a bad dive where she died for 8.5 minutes, she has been unable to do the sport she loves and kept under the watchful eye of her mother. She knows that with time, her lungs may heal and she might be able to return to the sport she loves so deeply, but it feels impossibly long. That incident is what led to her mother bringing her along to her honeymoon on Eulalie Island.

Eulalie Island is remote and mysterious, a place where Addie feels both consumed and repelled - the birds are calling her name and everything is different each day. The island is hiding secrets with a dark past that history books can barely touch, and with limited residents, Addie must uncover them for herself. The island is home to the family who are caretakers - including Billy, the 15-year-old with whom she shares a connection, and the only guests are her mother, her mother's new husband, and Addie. The island is remote, chilling - and haunted by ghosts.

What I loved: This was such a consuming and atmospheric read that quickly pulls the reader into the story. Addie is struggling in the aftermath of her own death to keep herself and her life together. Luckily, she had been seeing a therapist and remembers well the things they have taught her, but she is challenged by the fact that she keeps coughing up blood, and that though she is surrounded by water, she is unable to freedive, the thing she loves most. In the wake of that accident, her life was sent into a tailspin, and she is healing from that while also dealing with her mother's new marriage. These are themes that will resonate for readers confronting turmoil and change in their own lives, though likely not in such specific terms.

The island itself is mysterious, mythical, and sets up the atmosphere of the story with creepy and other-worldly elements that set the tone. When that is topped with the ghosts that Addie begins to see around the island, it definitely gets that horror/thriller feel in a whole new way. Violet, the 3-year-old who is rotting and wants to play hide-and-seek, and Nora, the decomposing teen who finds Addie in her bed at night, really up the ante on the mystery and creepiness of the story. Their story is one of tragedy that Addie will need to uncover - no easy task when the island has been so good at keeping secrets.

Then, there is the handsome boy she finds late one night, and the romance forms. Throughout, it feels as though he is hiding something and there are secrets to be uncovered, but the ultimate twists were impossible to see coming. This is definitely a read that will shock and surprise as secrets are exposed and Addie's story unfolds. These great twists really make this into a book that the reader will continue to think about after the last page is turned. Themes of healing, family, friendship, selfishness, and justice play out amidst this captivating tale.

Final verdict: A chilling and riveting YA thriller/horror, THE DEPTHS is an atmospheric and haunting read that will grip the reader as secrets are unearthed and twists are revealed. Highly recommend for fans of HORRID, TEETH IN THE MIST, and RULES FOR VANISHING.
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