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I Can Still Hear You When You Drown

With her debut novel about secrets and sea monsters, Sarah Glenn Marsh invites us all to Fear The Drowning Deep.

I Can Still Hear You When You Drown

BOOK REPORT for Fear The Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Cover Story: Shaaaark!
BFF Charm: Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Unpack Your Adjectives
Bonus Factor: Isle of Man
Relationship Status: Don’t Call [To] Me

Cover Story: Shaaaark!

If you just gotta feature a headless-girl on your cover, this is the way to do it. The thing that’s cutting off her head? The spooky ocean, the book’s namesake, the drowning deep! If I was a shark, and I was about to eat a gal, this is exactly what my view would look like. Don’t worry, there aren’t actually any sharks in this book. But the cover is still relevant … dun-dun-duuuun!

The Deal:

Sixteen-year-old Bridey Corkill has been afraid of the sea and everything in it since she alone witnessed a family tragedy eight years ago. This is unfortunate, as she lives on the Isle of Man, and the sea is her life: her father is a fisherman, she can see the ocean from every window in her house, and her mother paints scary sea creatures like it's her job (it actually kind of is). But it's time for Bridey to start contributing financially to her family (it’s 1913), and she gets a job that requires her to go near the water. When a mysterious-handsome-naked boy washes on shore with deep wounds and no memories, she finds that she wants to go near the water. Will she find that her fears were unfounded like everyone thinks? Or are there terrible creatures lurking offshore, threatening her loved ones, daring her to rise above her terror?

BFF Charm: Nay

The character of Bridey reads almost schizophrenic: one minute, she’s whining like a five-year-old, the next a mature elder sister. One paragraph she’s acting selfish and inconsiderate, but the next she’s telling us she’d do anything for her family’s health and happiness. She’s petrified in an over-the-top way, and then suddenly she’s Supergirl. She seems like the type of friend I would put up with for a while, until I got the nerve to confront her about it—and then she would just act like she had no idea what I was talking about. Not cool, Bry!

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Before I picked this book up, I heard it might have a little Beauty and the Beast magic to it. Now that I’ve read it, I can’t say I agree. It’s not a complete stretch; I do see why people have made that connection. But Beauty and the Beast, in probably every version since the original French novella, WORKS, with profound personal transformation and true, unconditional love at the heart of its romance. The swoon in Fear The Drowning Deep didn’t hold a candle to that.

Talky Talk: Unpack Your Adjectives

I was sadly distracted from the potential thrill of the story by the writing style, which vacillated between prosaic and awkward. Some descriptions were too generic (“musicians struck up a popular dance hall tune”), while others felt forced (“unease clung to me like cobwebs”). There were a lot of comparisons and descriptions that just didn’t work for me. They seemed like afterthoughts, as if the story was written for an English assignment, and the teacher said, “Now I’d like you all to go back and add in as many similes as you can!” It might have worked better if this was a Middle Grade book, but the actual story was too mature and dark for that.

Bonus Factor: Isle of Man

This island is now totally on my travel wish list. Before reading this book, all I knew about the Isle of Man was that Happy Jack was from there. But now I even know some fun “Manx” facts. Like how it used to be considered bad luck to mention rats while on a ship, so the Manx sailors called them “Longtails," and that progressed to a superstition about saying the word "rat" ever, on land or sea. And the traditional food—the “bonnag” they’re always eating sounds to me like Irish Soda Bread and now I’m SO HUNGRY.

Casting Call:


A young Alison Lohman as Bridey. I’ve seen her in White Oleander and Big Fish, and she was so young and cute in those roles. She could give Bridey that haunted fragile look.


Actual Manx-born Jamie Blackley as Fynn. I CANNOT believe how perfect this casting choice is, if I do say so myself.

Relationship Status: Don’t Call [to] Me

Book, when I first met you, I thought you were going to be the answer to my Halloween prayers. Your ominous title and haunting cover drew me to you and I was powerless to resist. But as our relationship progressed, I found myself underwhelmed. I hope you’ll forgive me, but it’s All Hallows’ Eve and I’m off to find something just a bit more thrilling.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Sky Pony Press. I received neither money nor my own small island for this review. Fear the Drowning Deep is available now.

Lacey Nadeau's photo About the Author: It's taken a decade, but Lacey has finally decided she misses the beaches of Southern California where she grew up. (It took only about a minute for her to miss the Mexican food.) However, she's pretty committed to the fun and sun of Denver, CO, where she plays with spreadsheets by day, and drinks boozy slushies with her husband and puppy by night. The puppy just pretends.