Title: The Wicked Deep
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Pub. Date: March 6th, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…
Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.
Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.
Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.
But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I read this dark gem of a book and I cannot stop thinking about it! I typically don’t pick up witchy reads til’ the Fall season but couldn’t resist picking this one up when I laid eyes on the STUNNING cover 😍 and I am SOOOO glad I did! easily one of my favorite reads this year so far, The Wicked Deep is 5 star worthy in my little bookworm 💜! This beautiful sad and atmospheric read truly sunk its teeth into me & wouldn’t let go into the wee hours of the morning. Very rarely do I get chills while reading a book but opening a single page in this one was like stepping foot onto Sparrow Oregon. I found myself instantly drawn to the water so much so that we drove to a nearby pier for the afternoon. This book stirred the senses and made you a willing participant, from the bonfires on the eve of the Summer Solstice to the Crucible effect the day after a body washed ashore. I was looking at everyone with a critical eye trying to figure out what was what (intentionally vague cause spoilers 😂) & even when we all figured it out, it was still hella enjoyable!
We meet our MC Penny who lives on the private island of Lumiere with her mother who has mentally checked out ever since the day her husband walked out never to be seen or heard of again. Penny isn’t your typical teenager & prefers to keep to herself In her room studying tide charts. She takes a small boat ride every morning into town to attend the Sparrow High School where she has one really close friend. Every year Sparrow prepares for the tourist attraction their town turns into during the week leading up to the Summer Solstice. Every year one boy dies & his body is washed ashore. It is believed to be a curse placed on the town as retribution for the unjust killings of the Swan sisters. Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel were said to be responsible for many a broken home. They were accused of seducing the husbands and boyfriends away from the women of Sparrow. Stones tied to their ankles, they were mercilessly drowned. They are believed to return on the Summer Solstice to inhabit the body of unsuspecting girls, each seduces a boy, and drown them within a brief period of time. Sometimes it’s three boys & other times they may get greedy. The townspeople have accepted this curse, accustomed to hearing the harbor bells ring when another male body is found floating in the waters. Once the last sister has had her kill, the town resumes back to normal. Everyone hoping it isn’t one of their boys this time around.
Photo credits: Dina Demille Tumblr
One of the most chilling aspects of this book is how acceptant the townspeople have become. Sparrow is known for this curse and the tourists it draws in for the summer season only add to the creepy vibes. The town is buzzing, every girl is suspected of being possessed by one of the Swan sisters. Sparrow’s boys aren’t safe & neither are those visiting for the season. Bo, an out of towner looking for employment responds to a outdated Help Wanted ad posted by Penny. There was a time Penny was open to the idea of getting a second set of hands to help with the light tower near Lumiere island. Eventually this became her undertaking but that all changes when Bo enters the scene. Both Penny & Bo carry secrets and they know this about each other. Was it a case of instalove? not in my opinion. Penny wasn’t thrilled to help this guy out when he first showed up. Bo was more focused on keeping a low profile while gardening on the island for some extra cash. Their story didn’t have any of the butterfly feelings other ships in YA are known for. I didn’t expect to fall in love with their story but I did & I know that’s because theirs is both sad and beautiful.
The Wicked Deep is one of those haunting reads that’ll stay in my mind & heart for many years to come. One that I can see myself getting sucked into every year whenever the mood for a dark read set in a small town by the water. I know that I’ll also be re-reading this one when we get closer to the date of it’s premiere on Netflix (see here) which I’m hoping is just as wonderful as this book cause it SOOOO deserves to be brought to life on the screen 🙌🏼
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