Shea Ernshaw (2018)
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.
**In honor of it’s release today, March 6, 2018, I want to talk about the YA book, The Wicked Deep, by Shea Ernshaw. Surprisingly, I preordered this book from Simon & Shuster directly, and they sent it to me almost two weeks early. Shout out to them for knowing ya girl needed this ASAP.**
What I Liked
- The Cover
- Let’s just state the obvious here for a second. This cover is absolutely stunning. Probably one of the most beautiful covers that I own. And aside from that fact, underneath (I’m told, only for 1st edition books) is a gorgeous stamped cover, that I just HAD to have (pictured below). The picture at the beginning of this post doesn’t even do the book justice because when it catches the light, my goodness, I am mesmerized. It is like the cover itself has locked in elements of the moon and stars, just to show off.
- The plot
- No joke, when I saw that they described this book as a cross between Hocus Pocus and the Salem Witch Trials, I was intrigued, but skeptical. Shea Ernshaw did a FANTASTIC job truly combining those two elements and feels, and projecting them into this story. That is EXACTLY what this story felt like, and I am here for it. I like that the author let the reader determine themselves (after the end of the story) whether or not the Swan sisters were in fact witches, or if what was done to them was unjust. I like that the town experiences an entire “tourist season” during these “hauntings” every year because that is entirely believable. I love the cast of characters, and how they interact with the story. This idea kept me guessing, and doubting throughout and that makes for a good book.
- The setting
- This story’s setting was completely immersive. I could literally feel the chill from this wet, fisherman’s town throughout my time there. The characters are quirky, which adds to the feel of this interesting, yet devastating town. Ernshaw does a good job of really letting you sink into the comforts (and horrors) of this little town, which makes you feel like you are a genuine part of it- also important to the plot.
- The Swan Sisters
- I found the “witchy” sisters of this town’s history to be completely interesting and a good addition to the story. I enjoyed the small passages throughout the book where we glimpse their lives and what happened those 200 years ago. It was important to include the Salem Witch Trials in the comparisons to this story because a huge part of this book is internally deciding whether or not you believed these sisters were in fact evil/witches. This happened a lot during that time period, where women who were feared or seemed a bit off, maybe even outsiders who came right around the same time a town is turned upside down, were put “on trial” and proved as witches with “evidence” that is laughable by today’s standards.
- Bo (hate that name though)
- I loved his character. He compliments Penny well, and you can tell that he brings a sort of light to this book. He is intelligent and determined, and you just know that he is going to be an important part of this town, regardless of the fact that he is an outsider.
What I Disliked
- I guessed a major plot twist
- About halfway through, I had a sense I knew what was going to happen. And while I did not predict EVERYTHING that happens at the end, one major “twist” was not all that surprising for me. Granted, I had my doubts leading up to the reveal, but wasn’t nearly as surprised as I am sure Ernshaw was aiming for.
- Penny’s monther
- As is classic in modern YA fiction, Penny’s mother seems to be absent for most of this book. She has “lost her mind” at the disappearance of her husband and is therefore removed from Penny’s daily life. That can be a huge turn off, especially being someone who as a teenager, had very strict parents. Like it is impossible given her abilities, that she didn’t know, or didn’t care, that her daughter was spending most nights in the first few weeks of summer with a boy, and not at home. That to me is just super unrealistic but again, I had a very specific upbringing that NEVER would have allowed for that behavior.
WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS BOOK!?!?!?!? It was easily my most anticipated release of the year, and JUST came out (I believe the release date was 3/6). With YA readers really into either contemporary or fantasy, I thought this would be a home run, featuring a little bit of both- I may have exaggerated on the fantasy point, my bad. I mean COME ON, they compared it to Hocus Pocus, which we all know is everyone’s favorite movie. It was a fast read; I think I read it in a couple days (which for me is lightening speed). So you know everyone on here can get through it most likely in a day. But seriously. I have only seen it on a few TBRs and Anticipated Release lists, and only one (or two) reviews of it thus far. Ya’ll need to read this book.
Please tell me you are adding it to your collection. That you plan to read it as soon as you get your hands on it? Let’s chat!
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones