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by Sophie Rhodes
If my adolescent psychology course at NC Wesleyan taught me anything, it’s there is a whole range of emotional, appreciative, and comprehensional levels to be found in that awkward state known as adolescence. Sophie Rhodes’ Deep Waters is more oriented to the lower part of the age range; 13 to 15 years of age. Finally, the target audience is decidedly female.
All that being said, Deep Waters is a sweet story and an enjoyable read – even for adults. In mostyou have one of several possibilities:
- The girl is a mermaid
- The girl is one but doesn’t know it
- The girl is turned into one
- The girl wants to be one
- The girl is part mermaid on her mother’s side
You get the idea.
This book is notable in that is one of a relative few where the person of aquatic origin is male. In this case, a boy named Raymos – a member of the Lemoso, living at the bottom of Lake Michigan. Julia is the 15-year old, home schooled daughter of Helen and James Cork who founded a wind-farm company. Julia does have Lemoso roots which serves as a plot complicator.
Most of the action takes place around, in, and under Lake Michigan and Julia & Ramos meet on its shore. The main conflict deals with the fate of energy development in Lake Michigan where Breazy energy has a wind-farm on its surface and ExCo Oil & Gas who wants to explore and drill on the lake bottom.
This book has a strong environmental message. While some (adult) reviewers have declared that message to be overbearing, it seems to be just about right for engaging the target audience.
When reading Young Adult (YA) fiction, this reviewer is always on the look-out for “teachable moments”. The environmental theme aside, the target audience is introduced to the law of unintended consequences. The Lemoso have always had a ban on interacting with humans and those who choose to consort with surface-dwellers are expelled. These refugees have moved on shore, mated with humans and their offspring carry the genes for some of the Lemoso’s powers. As a result, the Lemoso are threatened indirectly by humans with those powers.
The book is remarkably free of all but a few typos; something that seems to be rare in modern electronic publishing. Deep Waters is a good read and easily deserves a high rating. It is indicated that Sophie Rhodes intends to make The Lemoso Legends at least a two book series and it will be interesting to see how the overall story and character arcs develop.