The Darkdeep by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs
When a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over the edge of a cliff into the icy waters of Still Cove, where no one ever goes, friends Tyler and Ella – and even ‘cool kid’ Opal -rush to his rescue… only to discover an island hidden in the swirling mists below.
Shrouded by dense trees and murky tides, the island appears uninhabited, although the kids can’t quite shake the feeling that something about it is off. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat with an array of curiosities inside: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to places they’ve never heard of, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable.
As the group delves deeper into the unknown, their discoveries – and their lives -begin to intertwine in weird and creepy ways. Something ancient has awakened… and it knows their wishes and dreams – and their darkest, most terrible secrets. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy things that lurk within their own hearts?
There have been some amazing middle grade books this year and The Darkdeep is another one.
Nico, Tyler, and Ella are friends. Nico’s dad caused some issues in town while trying to protect the owls. Because of that, a lot of people were laid off work and they blame him for it. Logan’s dad runs the big company that was hurt by this. He bullies Nico a lot, mostly because of that. While out flying a drone by the cliffs of Still Cove, Logan and his friends show up and start harassing them. He flies Nico’s drone into the fog and into the cove. Nico gets close to the edge and falls over.
Opal was with Logan, but left to go back and check on her old friend, Nico. She and the others decide to find a way down to find him. They find a cave with a rowboat and take it out on the water. They find an island with a weird houseboat and pond. Luckily Nico is there and isn’t hurt. So the four of them decide to check out he houseboat. Inside, they find all kinds of odd things, including a basement. Obviously that seems odd for a houseboat, so they go down there. What they find is a weird well of water that is swirling constantly.
Ella decides to put her foot in the water and it grabs her and drags her under. She somehow comes up outside the houseboat. After she does, a weird animal appears. It was her make believe friend from when she was younger. The kids realize that the Darkdeep can bring up figments. But the figments start getting stronger and they have to find a way to save the town.
I loved the friendships in this book. That stood out more than anything. These kids love each other and have such an incredible bond. I also loved the creepy vibes and all the weird creatures that kept appearing. The cave, tunnel, and “treasures” they found were so interesting, too.
I really enjoyed this and can’t wait to read the second book. I gave this one 4 1/2 stars (rounded up to 5). Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for my copy for review.
A couple recommendations:
While reading this, I couldn’t help but think of a movie and a tv show. So if you like these, I think you’ll like The Darkdeep.
Mikey Walsh and Brandon Walsh are brothers whose family is preparing to move because developers want to build a golf course in the place of their neighborhood — unless enough money is raised to stop the construction of the golf course, and that’s quite doubtful. But when Mikey stumbles upon a treasure map of the famed “One-Eyed” Willy’s hidden fortune, Mikey, Brandon, and their friends Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen, Clark “Mouth” Devereaux, Andrea “Andy” Carmichael, Stefanie “Stef” Steinbrenner, and Richard “Data” Wang, calling themselves The Goonies, set out on a quest to find the treasure in hopes of saving their neighborhood. The treasure is in a cavern, but the entrance to the cavern is under the restaurant of evil thief Mama Fratelli and her sons Jake Fratelli, Francis Fratelli, and the severely disfigured Lotney “Sloth” Fratelli. Sloth befriends the Goonies and decides to help them.
In a small town where everyone knows everyone, a peculiar incident starts a chain of events that leads to the disappearance of a child, which begins to tear at the fabric of an otherwise peaceful community. Dark government agencies and seemingly malevolent supernatural forces converge on the town, while a few locals begin to understand that there’s more going on than meets the eye.
Have you read The Darkdeep? Do you like Stranger Things and The Goonies?