Monday, 20 June 2011

review: Sinking Deeper, or My Questionable Decision to Invent a Sea Monster

by Steve Vernon
Nimbus Publishing, 2011
contemporary young adult
review copy received from publisher (thank you!)

It wasn't even fourteen-year-old Roland MacTavish's idea to saw down the neighbour's clothesline pole and use it as a caber. No, that was all his Granddad Angus's idea, but Roland's the one who's getting shipped off to Ottawa, since according to his mom Deeper Harbour is a dying town. So Roland figures out a way to re-invigorate the community and bring the tourists back: he'll invent a sea monster. Soon Granddad Angus, Roland's friend Dulsie and Dulsie's father Warren are onboard, and they set into motion what might be not only Roland's liberation from Ottawa, but also a sleepy fishing town's renaissance.
The cover:

Love the drawn monster and the handwriting below the "Sinking Deeper". One thing that sticks out is that the photo of the village seem to have been taken at night, which I don't like. Just a little detail.

The book:

The author nails the voice of a fourteen-year-old boy. Nails it, just about drives it through the pages. Roland's at times cocky, impulsive and prejudiced and at times wary, nervous and downright scared. Other characters aren't lacking in dimension either: Dulsie is a self-proclaimed "punk-goth-freakazoid" with a new tattoo every day; Granddad Angus says adventure is just a long-winded way of saying fun; and Warren, Dulsie's father, turns out to have hidden depths -- maybe a little too many to stay realistic.

This kind of "wild plan" novel stands out from other teen scheme books in that the plan doesn't backfire. Instead, the author uses it to subtly deepen Roland's understanding of his community while bringing all kinds of hilarious conflicts into play. The touching ending may be regarded as one that doesn't quite fit with the rest of the novel's tone, however.

Sinking Deeper is divided into five unnecessary parts, seeing how short it is, and the chapters are brief as well. But wait -- David Suzuki almost gets murdered by a caber at the end! Who am I to argue with that? :P

Rating: 3.8 out of 5