March and April have been brilliant months for new releases this year (and there are still a few to come before April is done!). One of my most anticipated books for 20202 – Sarah Epstein’s Deep Water
was released a week or so ago, and celebrated with an online launch last week. I managed to read it before the event and absolutely ADORED it! I loved Sarah’s debut – Small Spaces
(my review is here
) – and I think this one is just as wonderful.
Henry Weaver is missing.
Three months ago, thirteen-year-old Henry disappeared from The Shallows during a violent storm, leaving behind his muddy mountain bike at the train station.
Mason Weaver is trapped.
While Mason doesn’t know who he is or what he’s capable of, he knows the one thing binding him to this suffocating small town is his younger brother, Henry.
Chloe Baxter wants answers.
Why would Henry run away without telling her? One of Chloe’s friends knows something and she’s determined to find out the truth.
As Chloe wades into dangerous waters and Mason’s past emerges, a chilling question ripples to the surface: how far would you go to keep a secret?
If you’ve read my reviews before you’ll know I love an authentic friendship, and Deep Water hits that nail on the head. At the heart of this story is a fantastic group friendship, with all kinds of different dynamics happening – crushes and bickering and, of course, Henry’s disappearance, are all impacting the friendship and the way is changing feels really natural. I also really enjoyed the setting – the small town vibe comes through clearly without ever feeling caricature-ish.
The story unfolds from two different points of view, and in different directions – Chloe’s starts ‘now’, three months after Henry disappeared, while through Mason we see what happened in the lead up to the event. I think this worked absolutely brilliantly – the voices were different from each other, and it was a really cool way to put details together.
Sarah’s Small Spaces remains one of the creepiest YA books I’ve read, and while this one wasn’t exactly creepy, it is dark and there is a really tense atmosphere that builds as the story plays out. I read it in just a few sittings, and with my heart in my throat for most of the book.
Deep Water touches on a lot of different issues throughout, from typical teen worries about crushes and fitting in, to alcoholism and domestic violence – so I would give a content warning for that (as well as the more obvious theme of a missing teen and the fact that the story largely depends imagining what might have happened to them).
I found this one a completely engaging thriller. It was a really satisfying read that kept me guessing, and made me cry a bit at times too! Officially it’s YA – adult readers shouldn’t let that stop them from picking it up too! (I just realised I said the same thing about Small Spaces!)
Deep Water by Sarah Epstein
Out now from Allen and Unwin
Source: I received a free advance copy from Allen and Unwin (Thank you!). All views are my own.
Category: Young adult thriller/suspense (contempory)
Themes: Family, grief, belonging, missing people, alcoholism, domestic violence, small towns
Deep Water on Goodreads.
Find Sarah Epstein online here.