This book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.
Have you ever imagined what it feels like to drown? The cold water rushing into your lungs. Being dragged under. Having waves crash over you, tossing you in what we water-people call “the washing machine.”
Scary thought, right? That’s why we have lifeguards. Tristan Hart knows this more than anyone else in his lifeguard troop. The Vicious Deep is a hair-raising, spine-chilling, heart-warming novel about a young man named Tristan Hart and the incredible transformation he undertakes to become one with the ocean… and its residents. Zoraida Cordova has outdone herself in this epic composition of friendship, danger, suspense and fantasy. “This is, by far, one of my best works,” says Cordova. “When I imagined the storyline for this novel, I wanted something…different. I wanted to take something normal, and twist it until it becomes something people would be interested in.” And that is exactly what she did.
The Vicious Deep is a novel that has to do mostly with friendship, fantasy, and above all, the OCEAN. In my opinion, the author was extremely good about keeping the fantasy part fairly realistic. Instead of making it a princess-style fairytale, she turned the story into something a person my age, or older, would want to read. Also, the author did an amazing job with the descriptions of Coney Island and the ocean. They made me actually feel like I was walking down the Island Boardwalk on a summer day, or swimming in the blue-green water. Also, in my opinion, the author did an excellent job of bringing themes into the story. She didn’t talk about the theme for too long, only mentioned it once or twice to get the readers thinking about it. Overall, I believe that Cordova did an excellent job with this book.
The characters in this book are, by far, some of the best characters in any novel I have ever read. The way Cordova describes them: “She has long, curly, shocking red hair that reached down to her waist, and the same eyes I do: Electric green. Her pursed pink lips and furrowed brows mean only one thing: I’m in trouble” (238). But the best part of the book, in my opinion, is when she describes Coney Island and the Boardwalk: “The blue-emerald water, the soft yellow sand, the old wooden boardwalk with its rickety old rides… this is Coney Island. This is home” (13). Overall, the author uses descriptive language that stands out in a time when authors just skip the descriptions and move on to dull plot and storyline.
In conclusion, The Vicious Deep is an amazing book that I would recommend to anyone over the age of 11. It has excellent themes and morals, and comically describes the incredible transformation that happens to the unsuspecting lifeguard Tristan Hart.
-Katie T., 7th grade