4.5 4
by Susanna Vance

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Nothing really bad has ever happened to Birdie. And she hates it! She needs drama, angst, torment–something to provide fodder for the amazing book she wants to write. When her parents take a yearlong sabbatical to the Caribbean, she gets her wish. . . .

Morgan is a child of the sea. Raised by nomadic Norwegian parents who encouraged her to chart her own


Nothing really bad has ever happened to Birdie. And she hates it! She needs drama, angst, torment–something to provide fodder for the amazing book she wants to write. When her parents take a yearlong sabbatical to the Caribbean, she gets her wish. . . .

Morgan is a child of the sea. Raised by nomadic Norwegian parents who encouraged her to chart her own course, and filled with sorrow after the water claims her older sister, she attempts to create a new life for herself in the warm waters of the tropics. But before she can do that, she needs papers that will keep the Coast Guard away, And there's only one person she knows who can help her. Tricky Nicky. Morgan knows he's a shyster. But what she doesn't know is that he's a maniacal killer.

Told in alternating points of view, Deep is a riveting story that will pull readers into its depths.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Jennifer Hubert
"I live in Oregon, I¹m an only child, and I¹m awesome. You probably know me: My name is Birdie Sidwell." "I live at sea, I am alone, and I am awestruck. You do not know me: my name is Morgan Bera." In alternating voices, two wildly different girls share the story of one incredible adventure in Susanna Vance¹s quirky, absorbing follow-up to her 2001 original debut, Sights. Spectacularly spoiled 13-year-old Birdie is the treasured only child of older, academic parents who have decided to take a year off from their hectic schedules to travel the Caribbean. Somber 17-year-old Morgan has been raised on the ocean by a pair of unconventional Norwegian sailors, who have of late surrendered to the siren call of alcoholism as consolation for the accidental drowning of Morgan¹s older sister. These two opposites, light and dark, shallow and deep, come together when naive Birdie is kidnapped by a charming but utterly ruthless modern-day pirate named Nicholas. Only Morgan, with her folkloric knowledge of the sea, guided by the spirit of her dead sister, has the intuition and wisdom to save Birdie. It will take all of Morgan¹s intelligence, paired with Birdie¹s charisma, to overcome Nicholas¹s murderous intentions and bring the girls home. Susanna Vance¹s delightfully eccentric brand of storytelling is a cross between Dorothy Parker and Monty Python, with a little Faulkner southern gothic thrown in. At once bizarrely strange and warmly familiar, Deep will continue to resound with teen readers long after the last page is turned. (Ages 12 to 15)
—Childrens Book Review
Publishers Weekly
"As in her debut novel, Sights, Vance serves up a potent combination of quirkiness, girl power and dire menace," said PW. Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Two totally dissimilar girls meet under extreme circumstances. Birdie, 13, is the coddled only child of highly educated professionals living in a small town in Oregon. Morgan, 16, is the only surviving child of a couple who dropped out of life in Norway to sail the seven seas in a small clipper. Both teens become the prey of a handsome, charismatic psychopath based on a small private island in the Caribbean and must team up to save their lives. Alternating first-person chapters provide ample evidence of their contrasting temperaments and experiences. Birdie is voluble and expansive-sometimes to the brink of tedium. Morgan is matter-of-fact and affects emotional detachment. Birdie has known little trouble in her life; she occasionally suffers severe asthma attacks, but otherwise she has existed swathed in the cocoon of her parents' love and attention. Morgan's baby brother was stillborn at sea, her beloved older sister drowned-swept overboard by a giant wave-and her parents have lapsed so deeply into alcoholism that Morgan has taken their boat and abandoned them in desperation. Their individual trajectories to the crude wooden cage wedged in an abandoned well in which they are imprisoned make for interesting reading. However, they pale next to the descriptions of the teens' interaction once they are together and the taut, suspenseful story of their escape. This adventure will keep readers turning the pages to see what happens next.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Two wildly dissimilar teenage girls find themselves thrown together on a Caribbean island, fighting for their lives. Birdie, 13, has grown up in Oregon, the bright and bubbly only daughter of loving and protective parents. Morgan, 17, has grown up on a sailboat, the bright but in no way bubbly daughter of unconventional and emotionally distant parents. Birdie and her parents have left Oregon, intending to live for a year on a small tropical island; Morgan has abandoned her alcoholic parents in Panama, charting an independent course to a neighboring island. They both run afoul of the highly dangerous Nick, to whom Morgan applies for false papers and who first charms and then kidnaps Birdie. This rather preposterous plot is bolstered by the development of two engaging voices, each telling her own story in alternating chapters, and revealing unexpected similarities. Birdie’s gregariousness masks her keen loneliness; Morgan’s self-inflicted solitude does the same. While the story could have been cut considerably and a key subplot is left hanging, this offering nevertheless presents readers with both high drama and compelling characterization. (Fiction. 12+)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


Here I am again, floating in a warm bubble bath, hoping for something heinous or preposterous or even gruesome to happen. I need that, to write my book. If it weren’t for the number one rule, “Write about what you know,” I’d have written my book already.

Each time I sink to the bottom of the tub, my eyes bulge, my hair billows like scarlet seaweed, and new ideas burst in my head. Like colorful bubbles—like jets of brilliance—like hatchling wordpearls! My brain’s like one of those magic crystals you drop in water and it turns into something fabulous.

If I wanted to write a book about thirteen years of pleasantness mixed with disappointment, it would already be done. That’s my life. I go to school, play soccer in the rain, try to keep my parents and my best friend, Kirin, entertained—and I take a lot of bubble baths.

Yep, that’s me. Birdie Sidwell: a small, brilliant person, who’s no trouble at all to those around her.

Even my teachers love me. I get A’s on all my stories. Vivid, is what they say about them. Next to my similes and metaphors they write Original! Quirky! Of course the stories are just practice for my book. My book will be big. Huge! It will have action and terror and maybe even sex! Publishers will beg me for it, movie producers will call me on their cell phones, and other bestselling authors will be my friends—

“Birdie?” Mom was tapping on the bathroom door. Her bathroom door, actually. I have my own bathroom, but hers always seems nicer. “Clean yet, honey? It’s been an hour. . . . Your dad’s hoping for a shower before bed.”

“Clean as diamonds, Mom.”

I flopped over on my stomach, sighing heavily as water lapped over the edge. “Your tub is a paradise of coconut oil.”

“Yes, but you’ve got coconut oil in your own bathroom too.”

“Yours smells better.” Better than sunburned moondrops? “Mom? The floor’s pretty wet in here. Dad’s welcome to use my shower. . . . There might not be any more hot water, though.”

“Oh, Birdie, for heaven’s sake.”

He won’t care. He knows baths are important to me, and it’s not like he has school in the morning.

“It’s bedtime,” Mom said. “Wipe up the floor. Put the top back on my coconut oil, if any’s left.”

“None is.”

Mom’s sigh is bigger than mine, even through a door.

Usually being my mother keeps her very content. It’s being superintendent of schools, her day job, that I find a problem.

“Why not just stay home with me?” I’ve asked her a dozen times. “Make homemade angel food cake like you never do? Paint my toenails?”

She just smiles.

Fortunately Dad’s home during the day, being a genius for the government. He’s working on a soybean that will end world hunger. Being home gives him a chance to tend the special garden in the basement where vegetables are grown for my salads.

Along with my special baths, my special salads are my one big necessity. I used to have asthma. We were all traumatized by those times. It was actually heinous and preposterous and even gruesome, but you can’t write an adventure book about asthma! My body is still behind because of it. I do a lot of things, like eating homegrown salad, so I can catch up. And I still have inhalers and meds in the medicine cabinet, just in case.

I guess it’s obvious, but I’ve been through a lot.

* * *

One big thing I survived is when I was seven and my best friend, Kirin, was transferred out of our neighborhood school and into Nu-Way Academy, across the bridge in Washington.

Let me say first that even Mom, who thinks diversity is a good thing, says this school is radical. The “Nu” of Nu-Way comes from a guy named Nudleman who started a chain of schools.

His main idea is turning Negative Thinkers into Positive Thinkers. Which looks like it works because if kids don’t instantly pretend to be thinking positively, they get spanked!

Hel-lo? How negative is that?

I’ve seen Nudleman in person. He walks around downtown in his expensive regular clothes just like he was normal, except he carries a staff. He always has kids with him, who he calls his flock.

If something like a scoop of ice cream falls off a cone and splats onto one of his flock’s feet, she doesn’t say, “Shoot!” like a real kid. She says, “Wow! An opportunity to give my Nikes a scrub!”

Scary. And my best friend, who never did anything worse than sass her mom, was being sent there! At the time it happened, it seemed worse than a kidnapping.

Kirin came to school with me for the first week of second grade. We sat as close to each other as we could, just like in kindergarten and first grade. If she had a clue what was coming, she never said a word.

Her mother arrived early one afternoon, cracked open the classroom door as if hating to disturb. Her lipstick, as usual, was shaped into a coaxing smile.

She tiptoed in, eyes glittering with news. She handed Ms. West a yellow slip of paper, the official kind from the principal’s office. Then she practically danced over to Kirin, took her small wrist inside her own plump manicured hand, and flopped her daughter’s hand around at us.

“Say goodbye, Kirin.”

“Mom! Let go of me right now—”

Kirin had always been willful. Mrs. Kimball would no doubt punish her once they were back in their car.

“Goodbye?” Ms. West was frowning at the yellow slip. “Why didn’t I know anything about this?”

Mrs. Kimball’s smile tightened a notch.

“Does it really mean for good, Mrs. Kimball?”

“It’s a withdrawal slip,” Mrs. Kimball said shortly. “What about that don’t you understand?” Catching herself, she inflated her voice with bubbles again. “Actually, I just got the news myself! Kirin’s been chosen to join her own special flock.”

She beamed around at those of us not-chosen.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Susanna Vance lives in the rainy Northwest, in a little yellow house on a hill above a river. Her short stories have appeared in many literary publications. Her writing is known for its dark humor, quirky characters, and strong voice.
Vance’s novel Deep, is a tale of two spirited girls from very different worlds, whose lives are changed forever when they collide in a dark and perilous adventure. Deep has been nominated by the American Library Association for Best Book for Young Adults 2004.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Deep 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't really get it at first because of the picture of the book cover. But when I read this book. I just wanted to read it again. It's a great book. I hadn't really thought about Morgan getting kidnapped! That was a twist I didn't see coming! I really suggest that you read this book ASAP!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked how the characters alternated chapters. I've read better books, but I couldn't put it down. I read it, then I told one of my friends to read it. She told me that she had to will herself to put it down. There are so many twists and turns that you won't know what's coming up next. -Henri
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very very very good book! I loved it. and despite Nicholas' (you'll know who that is once you read it!) mood that changes like the wind I loved that character! he was awesome! psychotic but you just gotta love him. Read this book as soon as humanly possible!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I see Susanna Vance has finally gotten the jacket she merits. I've been a fan of photographer Barnaby Hall for years. They're a match!