*There will be a summary in this review. Please do not read it if you don’t want to risk reading a spoiler**
Book Title: The Wicked Deep
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Main Theme: Paranormal Young Adult Fiction
Thesis: Penny Talbot, a seventeen-year-old girl from Sparrow, Oregon finds herself caught in the mystery of the Swan Sisters, three girls who were drowned two hundred years ago and comes back every summer to haunt the town. When she meets Bo, an outsider with a mysterious past, things quickly become personal as the two battle with their own secrets and the forces of the paranormal. Death is inevitable, and Penny must choose who to save: herself, or the one she loves.
What Drew Me In: I won’t lie, I love anything to do with the paranormal. Ghosts, witches, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, you name in. Something about not exactly knowing the truth of something draws me in even closer. Ever since my family vacation to the North East and our day in Salem, MA, I was hooked on the witch stuff. I was actually shelving books at work when I came across this new book we just ordered, and I fell in love with the dark, mysterious cover. I actually took the book back to my desk and flipped through it, noticing the little “mini-chapters” in between the actually chapters. Think of it as the flashback scenes in a movie, with this being little excerpts of the pass or a specific character. I loved that the author decided to put that in, it gives so much more content to the book and looks visually pleasing.
Summary: Two centuries ago, three sisters, Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel Swan, stepped off their ship and took the first steps onto Sparrow, Oregon. Known for their promiscuous ways, the girls were found guilty of witchcraft and were drowned in the harbor. As each year anniversary rolls by, the sisters would return from their watery graves and steal the bodies of three girls as their disguise. For three weeks of the summer, until the Summer Solstice, they would lure boys to their deaths, drowning them in the same harbor that they died in. Penny Talbot, a local who lives on the island in the harbor, grudgingly agrees to go to a party with her best friend Rose, where she meets Bo Carter, an outsider who is looking for work in the small town. She agrees to let him work for her at the lighthouse on the island, where they maintain the upkeep of the lighthouse and other chores around the island. As Swan season, as the locals call it, starts, several bodies of local boys have been found, floating in the water, and the tourists flock to the neighborhood to catch sight of the paranormal happenings in town. Penny and Bo spend more and more time with each other, slowly learning each other’s secrets and developing a relationship. When convinced that the Swan sisters are real, Bo reveals to Penny that he is in town to search for the reason his brother had died the summer before. Bo plans to kill the Swan sisters so that they would stop killing more innocents. Penny is reluctant to help him, because she is actually possessed by Hazel Swan, who killed his brother. Hazel is desperate to stay with Bo, even when the Summer Solstice arrives and the sea will beckon her back. Unfortunately, on the day of the Summer Solstice, her sisters Aurora and Marguerite spoil her plans and reveal the truth, that Hazel possessed Penny the night after Penny met Bo at the beach party. Bo, with understandably conflicted feelings, leaves Penny and tries to leave the island, not wanting to kill her. Hazel follows Bo, and the two set off in the sailboat, where Hazel repeatedly apologizes to Bo, and knowing that Bo will never be able to forgive her, does the one thing she can for the boy that she loves; Hazel figured out that if one sister drowns the body she is inhabiting in the harbor, then the ghost would die and the victim would be spared. The other two Swan sisters would also die. She is willing to do this for Bo, because she is tired of killing innocent people and knows that her sisters would never stop. She steps off the boat and swims to the bottom of the harbor, where she finally “dies” after two-hundred years of haunting.
Penny was saved, and although she does not remember much of what has happened, she knows that Bo was part of the reason that Swan season has finally stopped. She spends the rest of her summer with Bo, and the two rekindle their relationship, and Bo agrees to stay in Sparrow with Penny.
My Thoughts: I am slightly conflicted over this book. While I love the paranormal aspect, I have to admit, I was pretty sure I knew what was going to happen at the end of the book without even being half way through the story. But, even with that thought, I still enjoyed it. Earnshaw knows how to captivate an audience, and even with the paranormal twist to the story, it never once really felt “made up” or exaggerated. The romance between Bo and Penny/Hazel also did not feel over the top, making it some lovey-dovey gooeyness like some YA books do.
There is a lot more side bits to the book then what the summary suggests, and I like the feeling that the story was summed up as a whole at the end. You knew exactly what Penny and Bo did after the ordeal, you understood Penny’s mother, who through most of the story was so depressed that some people thought she lost her mind, and you finally see what happens to Penny’s father, who disappeared about three years before this story took place.
The only opinion that I have about the story is that the town of Sparrow is kind of crazy, with locals willing to live in a town where at least three murders take place every summer and the crazy tourists who thinks it is a fun side show! I would be packing my bags!
Would I recommend this book?: I would say, if you like a spooky story to read late at night, go for it! The Swan sisters plot line was pretty solid, and even though I feel like a little bit more context could have been added for the rest of the characters, Ernshaw did a great job at this novel, and I would be curious to read more from her. Hopefully does more paranormal stuff, I could use more of that. 🙂