Recommended for ages 12+
Sixteen year-old Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her grandfather drown himself, called by mysterious music that only he could hear. She was ridiculed for saying that the sea took her grandfather, so she’s learned to keep to herself, but things are changing in her Isle of Man village. A dead girl washes ashore, and so does a handsome young man, still alive but bleeding from something that attacked him in the water. Bridey calls him Fynn, because he claims no memory of anything that happened or who he is, and she finds herself falling for him. But things are getting worse when other girls start disappearing, and the town starts pointing their fingers at Fynn. Bridey – who’s now apprenticed to the village witch – knows there is something in the water that’s to blame, but no one wants to listen to her, except for the woman she’s apprenticed to; and she’s got secrets of her own. Can Bridey save everyone she loves from walking into the water and never returning?
Set in 1913, Fear the Drowning Deep is good, creepy historical fantasy. Setting the story on the Isle of Man in pre-World War I era Europe gives a true feeling of isolation, providing an almost claustrophobic mood as Bridey tries desperately to unlock the secrets of the water before it takes any more of her friends or family. Every single character in this book has depth and lends something to the narrative. The prose is beautiful; literary and fantastic all at once; the dreamlike haze she spins for the water’s victims almost lulls readers into a similar, comforting feeling before the author chills you with the revelation that someone has been taken. The relationship between Bridey and Fynn will please YA romance fans, and the pairing of Bridey and Morag, the village witch, is wonderful: atagonistic yet loving, strong and supportive. There’s intrigue, secrets, and revelations to be had all around, making this a solid dark fantasy/romance read for your teens. Pair this with Ananda Braxton-Smith’s Merrow for a pair of water-based mysteries with a touch of the paranormal.