In the Deep Blue Sea

In the Deep Blue Sea

Book - 2017
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Jack, his genius siblings, and inventor Hank Witherspoon go to Hawaii and help technology billionaire Ashley Hawking find out who is sabotaging her revolutionary electric plant that harvests energy from the deep ocean. Includes facts about the deep ocean, the scientific process, and green power, as well as instructions for an experiment.
Publisher: New York : Amulet Books, 2017
ISBN: 9781419725524
Branch Call Number: J FIC Nye
Characteristics: 305 pages : illustration
Additional Contributors: Mone, Gregory
Iluzada, Nicholas


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Sep 28, 2017

In the Deep Blue Sea is simply written, features an interesting array of characters, and is filled with a mystery which will appeal to middle-grade sleuths. Everything might seem a bit over-the-top to adult readers, but given that this seems to be aimed at the younger end of the middle-grade scale, it’s appropriate.

Given that most of the characters are geniuses or obvious villain/villain decoys, the dialogue is somewhat stilted at times. In the Deep Blue Sea tries to interject moments of humor periodically. Sometimes they succeed, other times not so much. The story does consistently move forward, though. And there’s definitely a tense moment or three for the kiddos. There’s also an emphasis on teamwork that I love.

I got In the Deep Blue Sea from Netgalley. I was drawn to it because it had Bill Nye’s name attached to it and also mentioned a “scientific adventure”. So even though I hadn’t read the first book in the series, I eagerly signed up to read this one. To be honest, I probably won’t read more in the future, though. See, though I’m embarrassed to confess this, I can’t stand Jack. I’m not sure entirely sure why, but by the end of the book I liked Matt, I loved Ava, and I wanted to not have to see Jack anymore.

Jack isn’t a bad kid, but his inability to make basic connections had me twitching. I know he’s meant to represent the ‘normal kid’ in the group, but come on! It just doesn’t feel realistic. I know Jack is not meant to seem unintelligent, but that’s how he comes across in In the Deep Blue Sea. It feels like the authors both have a hard time drawing an accurate picture of your average kid, and don’t give Jack nearly enough credit. It’s easy to write a kid genius. You just stick an adult brain in a kid’s body and add a few childish quirks. Writing a normal kid is apparently a bit harder. I did like the kid’s imagination, though.

My favorite character is definitely Hank. He’s a solid father figure to the group but he never actually tries to be their father. He loves them but he also respects them, and that feels almost shocking to see. Unusual relationships seemed to be one of the key features of In the Deep Blue Sea. It’s kind of cool to reflect upon after you’re done reading the book. Hank’s relationship with the kids in comparison to Ashley with her son especially. There’s love and respect there in equal measure and yet the two relationships present very differently.

Overall, In the Deep Blue Sea was a good read. Once it hooked me, I had to see it through to the conclusion. I think that for certain kids in the intended age range, this could be a big hit. However, I can easily see it falling flat for a majority of kids too. It has a bit of trouble striking that note between educational and entertaining. I love, love, love that they’re trying to do this, though! The experiment at the end of the book, as well as information about the ocean was nice as well. And I’m sure each book will get better.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.

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