The Darkdeep

CONDIE, Ally & . 272p. Bloomsbury. Oct. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781547600465.
Gr 5 Up—Collaboration between bestselling authors is bound to produce high expectations, and this mash-up of "Goosebumps"-meets-The Goonies certainly delivers. Still Cove is a mysteriously foggy area just outside the mill town of Timbers. Twelve-year-olds Opal and Nico avoid the place at all costs due to rumors of "the Beast," but after a run-in with bully Logan, the friends are forced to brave the area. What they find is incredible: a mystical water portal that sucks you in and spits you out, bringing your imagination to life—literally. When the "figments" begin to get out of control, what began as a fun game suddenly turns deadly. Nico, Opal, and their friends must find a way to work together to contain the phenomenon they refer to as the Darkdeep. The four friends at the heart of the story have distinctive personalities, with Nico and Opal narrating. The magical aspect of the Darkdeep runs parallel to the fears and worries the characters hold about their lives. Nico's father petitioned to protect an endangered owl species in the woods, resulting in job losses at the town's mill and resentment from the community. Friction between Nico and Logan, the mill owner's son, and Opal, who's family profited from the situation, must be overcome before they can tackle the figments and the Darkdeep.
VERDICT Swiftly paced and peppered with wit, this darkly entertaining tale is sure to engage horror fans.

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