The Secret Deep

Lindsay Galvin. Chicken House, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-338-56739-7
After their single mother dies from cancer, orphaned sisters Aster, 13, and Poppy, 11, who are multiracial (their mother was black and Korean; their father was white), are sent from England to live with their aunt Iona, a noted oncologist now living in New Zealand. To their surprise, instead of heading home, Iona takes them to her current work site, Wildhaven: a tech-free ecovillage “in the proper bush,” where she’s conducting “a study of healthy lifestyles” on the teenage residents, largely international students. But after the girls overhear an argument between Iona and a former employee, then experience a strange fever following a routine injection, Aster grows increasing uneasy with their situation. Before she can do anything about her worries, a snorkeling trip turns bizarre. Aster is stranded on a remote island, where she’s hooked up to strange technology and desperate to find her missing sister—and to figure out how her own experience plays into her aunt’s secret agenda. Meanwhile, her New Zealander friend Sam, 14, embarks on his own quest to track down the missing sisters. With this atmospheric debut, Galvin skillfully captures Aster’s surroundings, bringing the islands and deep waters to life while employing a fast-paced plot balanced among adventure, mystery, science fiction elements, and Aster’s emotional struggle. Ages 10–14. Agent: Laura Williams, Greene & Heaton. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/05/2019
Release date: 02/04/2020
Genre: Children's
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