Deep Water By Watt Key

Header Photo and review by Laura G. ~ Originally on Instagram

Thanks to @kidlitexchange  for this review copy. All opinions are our own! 

Deep Water by Watt Key
(Farrar Straus Giroux ~ April 17th 2018)

It’s supposed to be easy money—take Shane and his father out for a scuba dive near the tanks Julie’s father dropped out at sea months ago and then pay the bills. But then Julie’s dad can’t dive due to his diabetes so Julie has to go…and then the anchor slips and they lose the boat…and then Shane’s father rises too quickly and gets the bends. Soon Shane and Julie are alone in the ocean, drifting, with no one in sight and little hope of survival.

I love Watt Key books—FOURMILE, ALABAMA MOON and TERROR AT BOTTLE CREEK are all big hits in my library. I also love survival books. This one brings to mind THE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen and SURROUNDED BY SHARKS by Michael Northrop in particular. Watt Key is a scuba diver himself and has spent his whole life on the Alabama Coast so this book feels very authentic. The level of detail and specificity is pretty impressive; the reader can really see every situation in its entirety. My only gripe is that the characters never freaked out the way I expected or wanted them to. They accepted their fate much better than I think people realistically would (especially me!). Both characters are dealing with internal conflicts in addition to their pretty major external conflict, but the internal conflict wasn’t as well fleshed out. Overall, however, this is a quick, compelling read that I think middle grade students will enjoy.

And here’s another review!

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Review and photo by Stephanie S. ~ Originally on Instagram

Deep Water is a well-paced, excitement filled middle grade novel. Julie is still trying to adjust to her parents’ separation. She lives with her busy mother during the school year, and is scheduled to stay with her father during the summer months. Her father runs a struggling scuba diving business off the Alabama Coast, and unbeknownst to Julie is struggling with uncontrolled diabetes.

The action here starts out quickly, which young readers will appreciate. Julie must descend on a dive with a boy she used to go to school with, and doesn’t like much, as well as the boy’s arrogant father. Disaster strikes when the anchor slips free and Julie’s dad slips into unconsciousness on the boat.

I appreciated Julie’s approach and attitude during very difficult situations and her incredible problem-solving skills. I found myself glued to the pages, wondering how this book would end. The author, Watt Key, grew up in the area and is a skilled scuba diver. This makes the writing feel incredibly authentic.

While things in the end are tied up a little too neatly for my taste, I believe kids won’t be bothered by it all and will thoroughly enjoy this book. Must have novel for any classroom and school library, especially for kids who are drawn to survival books. Highly recommend.

And another review!

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Photo and Review by Kristyn G. ~ Originally on Instagram

Deep Water by Watt Key was one of those super fast reads that I just could not put down. It tells the story of Julie, Shane, and Shane’s dad as they attempt to defeat Mother Nature and survive the elements after they lose their boat on a dive. The book tells a story of survival, and it’s inspired loosely by an experience the author had as a child. I was impressed by the author’s level of knowledge and the research that must have gone into this book. Great read.

And one more!

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Photo and Review by Laurie E. ~ Originally on Instagram

What would you do if you went on a scuba diving trip and everything seemed to go wrong? The most important rule of scuba diving is that if you don’t feel right, don’t go down. Twelve-year-old Julie Sims knows this, but her dad is in financial trouble and they need the money. They cannot risk losing the money from this dive. To begin with, the customers are one of Julie’s sworn enemies, Shane, and his dad. From the beginning they refuse to follow instructions from Julie and her dad. Then Julie’s dad gets sick and he cannot take them down to the dive site, so Julie must do it. As soon as they get in the water, Shane and his dad leave Julie and she then realizes that the anchor is not set but there is nothing she can do about it. So when it is time to go back up, Julie cannot find the anchor line to get back to the boat. When she finally surfaces she does not see the boat anywhere. To make matters worse, Shane and his dad surfaced too fast and Shane’s dad has the bends. He needs to get to a hospital fast. Can the three of them survive floating in the ocean about fifty miles off of the Alabama coast? Shane and his dad are very mean people, what will they do if Julie gets in the way of their safety? I will give you a warning about this book… once you start reading this book you will not be able to put it down! This book is full of twists and turns, suspense and survival and is a must read for anyone!

I have always loved Watt Key’s books because we are both from Alabama. This book is even more special to me, because for so many years Orange Beach was a second home to me. Watt Key can weave an amazingly suspenseful story that will not disappoint from start to finish!


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