The series began with “The Darkdeep,” a horror story by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs, and now the stories of the monsters and the mystery behind the appearance of “The Beast” might just be solved. In the first book, we learn about the quiet town of Timber in the Pacific Northwest, and about several of its teenage residents.
Nico is the son of an environmentalist, and with his friends Opal, Emma, and Tyler, and another teen, Logan, the son of the richest businessman in town, all happen upon a houseboat in the middle of an unnamed island. Strange things happen both in the houseboat and in the waters around it, but in this second book, they learn that the fate of the world may be on their teenage shoulders.
The writing and the characters will keep kids interested (it kept this adult interested). The YouTube filmmaker is appropriately sleazy, one of the teenagers appropriately impulsive, one frightened but brave when it counts, and one completely into making money off of the appearance of the “Beast,” just as his father makes money off of whatever he can.
When one of the group begins hearing a voice in her head directing her to do things, she worries she’s going crazy. She thinks the voice is from the disembodied green blob that is floating in a liquid in the houseboat. But then she thinks that’s crazy. Can she trust her friends not to think she’s crazy if she shares her thoughts with them?
There are some lovely twists, and some surprising compassion that’s a great lesson in kindness. These kids are typical teenagers, but they show that there’s more to people than one might think from surface appearances. This is definitely a series to keep in middle school classroom libraries — kids will devour these books.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provide by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, the publisher, for review purposes.`