12.23.2022 | Friday

The Depths

category: Book Reviews

The Depthstitle: The Depths
author: Nicole Lesperance
published: 9.13.2022 | Tuesday
publisher: Razorbill
genre(s): magical realism
pages: 356
source: library
format: hardcover
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

rating: five-stars

the blurb

A tropical island full of secrets. Two Victorian ghosts, trapped for eternity. And a seventeen-year-old girl determined not to be next.

Eulalie Island should be a paradise, but to Addie Spencer, it's more like a prison.

Forced to tag along to the remote island on her mother's honeymoon, Addie isn't thrilled about being trapped there for two weeks. The island is stunning, with its secluded beaches and forests full of white flowers. But there's something eerie and unsettling about the place.

After Addie meets an enigmatic boy on the beach, all the flowers start turning pink. The island loves you, he tells her. But she can't stop sleepwalking at night, the birds keep calling her name, and there's a strange little girl in the woods who wants to play hide-and-seek. When Addie learns about two sisters who died on the island centuries ago, she wonders if there's more to this place, things only she can see.

Beneath its gorgeous surface, Eulalie Island is hiding dark, tangled secrets. And if Addie doesn't unravel them soon, the island might never let her go.

❗❗ content warning: some light gore/violence, thoughts of death (NOT suicide), child death (not on page), insects, drowning ❗❗

a few notes

cover notes: GORGEOUS!
gothic horror, ghosts, mystery
mood reading:
in the mood for something dark and twisted
bonus points:
flawed heroes

my review

The Depths has the feel of an M. Night Shyamalan movie, with its supernatural aspects and contemporary plots and settings. The book is a gothic horror tale set in the current digital age.

There’s a video of me dying on the internet, and I can’t stop watching it. My mother says it’s morbid, and I need to stop.

As the introduction to the book, the above truly sets the stage for the eeriness of the story. A freediving accident has turned Addie’s life upside down. Not only was her death almost permanent, the fallout has changed her life, perhaps forever. She’s trying not to worry her mother, but the reality is that she’s neither healing nor dealing with the trauma well, leading her to become obsessed with the video of her death. But on the island, her access to the videos is eliminated, and she soon finds another obsession… discovering the secrets of the island. But those secrets might be too much for her.

The island was as much a character as any of the humans. The descriptions of it were lush and vivid, allowing the reader to feel the humid heat, smell the cloying odor of flowers, feel the heaviness of sap on the skin, smell the stench of mold and decay, hear the birds sing. There is much about the island that is mysterious… cenote and caves filled with water that pulses and seems to heal, even if only for a little while. Flowers that change colors in an instant, plants that react in sentient ways. And the ghosts of two Victorian girls and a mysterious boy, inextricably tied to the island itself.

This was a beautiful book, with wonderful writing and a great story.

About Nicole Lesperance

Nicole grew up on Cape Cod and graduated from Wesleyan University. She spent a few years in London and now lives near Boston with her husband, two kids, and two rambunctious black cats. She writes young adult and middle grade books.

Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

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