The Deep End: When shy sophomore Kaci Lynn Richards moves to a small town, she is nervous about the change. That is, until she befriends the outgoing Jo and meets popular senior James Mitchell. Kaci quickly learns to love her new life…until she begins to see the ghost of a teen girl in her new home. The mystery girl haunts her, giving her visions that leave clues as to who she was and how she met her violent fate. But the more she learns about the girl, the more she finds that life in this sleepy town may not be what it seems. – Goodreads
The Deep End Review
The Deep End was an extremely well-written paranormal thriller for young adults. Katy Newton Naas excels at keeping the story quivering with tension, and filled with a roller-coaster of emotions even as she utilizes typical YA thriller elements. It’s actually quite amazing, considering even the ghost is a bit cliché. (I mean, seriously, why are all black-haired girls doomed to be ghosts? Are brunettes doomed to be the tormented souls in these stories?) Even though it’s obvious (at least to she-who-reads-too-much) who did what to whom almost immediately, I couldn’t put it down!
I think readers in the age group this story is aimed at (12-18) will immediately connect with the main character. Kaci is a bit of a shy bookworm who absolutely adores her family. It was very refreshing to read a YA book where the family was actually around, and there was no step-dad drama! Kaci and Aven’s interactions were heart-warming, and came across as very real. You could feel the love between the two siblings, without it seeming over the top. I loved the mutual respect between Kaci and her step-dad. He doesn’t try to force his way into the father role, supports her independence, and genuinely seems to care about her. He was, quite possibly, my favorite character. The portrayal of the other characters was well-done, too. (Though I won’t say more for possible spoilers.)
The weirdness starts fairly early on in The Deep End. Odd things here and there. I think a lot of readers will cue in to the abnormal element fairly early on. For those that don’t, hopefully this will be an eye-opening experience. It builds fairly swiftly, and before you know it, you’re just waiting for everything to explode. Waiting, and hoping no one gets hurts when it finally does happen. The tension is nicely played against the sweet family interactions between Kaci and her brother. When everything does finally come to a head, it’s enough to make you shudder a bit. Not that its gory or gross, because it’s not. It’s just, at that point, you’re so invested in Kaci’s life that you’ve put yourself firmly inside her head. And what she goes through is… well, you’ll have to read it to find out.
Overall, The Deep End is definitely a thriller I’d recommend to young adults everywhere. Fantastically well written. I’d quite happily read more from this obviously talented young author.
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