THE VANISHING DEEP by Astrid Scholte


Age Range: 12 & up
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In a flooded post-apocalyptic world, a girl in search of answers about their parents’ deaths revives her dead sister.

Three years after her parents died at sea in a storm, Tempest lost her older sister, Elysea, to drowning—and four months after that, Elysea’s best friend revealed that Elysea saw her parents the night they died and that she blamed herself for their deaths. To discover the truth, Tempest has saved and scrounged up enough money to use nearby high-tech island Palindromena’s resurrection technology, which can bring the dead back for just one more day, on Elysea. Elysea’s truth is more complicated than Tempest anticipated, and it leads to an escape from Palindromena and a desperate chase after dangerous, evasive truths. Co-narrator Lor is at odds with the escapees—he secretly filled in for a friend on Elysea’s resurrection, and if the sisters aren’t returned, the friend faces severe consequences. The countdown of Elysea’s remaining time at the start of each chapter keeps tensions high as the characters explore a detailed, inventive, lovingly crafted world (though the technology requires large amounts of suspension of disbelief for the story to hold water). But despite the occasional plot element that falls flat, the narrative’s sea legs come through deep, resonant characterizations and the characters’ intense emotional inner lives. Lor is pale, the sisters are olive-skinned, and various shades of brown are common. An aromantic character receives positive representation.

A seaworthy stand-alone. (Science fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: March 3rd, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-525-51395-7
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2020