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  • Deep
  • Written by Susanna Vance
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307433282
  • Our Price: $5.99
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Written by Susanna VanceAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Susanna Vance


List Price: $5.99


On Sale: December 18, 2007
Pages: 272 | ISBN: 978-0-307-43328-2
Published by : Laurel Leaf RH Childrens Books
Deep Cover

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Nothing really bad has ever happened to Birdie. And she hates it! She needs drama, angst, torment–something to provide fodder for the amazing book she wants to write. When her parents take a yearlong sabbatical to the Caribbean, she gets her wish. . . .

Morgan is a child of the sea. Raised by nomadic Norwegian parents who encouraged her to chart her own course, and filled with sorrow after the water claims her older sister, she attempts to create a new life for herself in the warm waters of the tropics. But before she can do that, she needs papers that will keep the Coast Guard away, And there's only one person she knows who can help her. Tricky Nicky. Morgan knows he's a shyster. But what she doesn't know is that he's a maniacal killer.

Told in alternating points of view, Deep is a riveting story that will pull readers into its depths.

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter 1


Here I am again, floating in a warm bubble bath, hoping for something heinous or preposterous or even gruesome to happen. I need that, to write my book. If it weren’t for the number one rule, “Write about what you know,” I’d have written my book already.

Each time I sink to the bottom of the tub, my eyes bulge, my hair billows like scarlet seaweed, and new ideas burst in my head. Like colorful bubbles—like jets of brilliance—like hatchling wordpearls! My brain’s like one of those magic crystals you drop in water and it turns into something fabulous.

If I wanted to write a book about thirteen years of pleasantness mixed with disappointment, it would already be done. That’s my life. I go to school, play soccer in the rain, try to keep my parents and my best friend, Kirin, entertained—and I take a lot of bubble baths.

Yep, that’s me. Birdie Sidwell: a small, brilliant person, who’s no trouble at all to those around her.

Even my teachers love me. I get A’s on all my stories. Vivid, is what they say about them. Next to my similes and metaphors they write Original! Quirky! Of course the stories are just practice for my book. My book will be big. Huge! It will have action and terror and maybe even sex! Publishers will beg me for it, movie producers will call me on their cell phones, and other bestselling authors will be my friends—

“Birdie?” Mom was tapping on the bathroom door. Her bathroom door, actually. I have my own bathroom, but hers always seems nicer. “Clean yet, honey? It’s been an hour. . . . Your dad’s hoping for a shower before bed.”

“Clean as diamonds, Mom.”

I flopped over on my stomach, sighing heavily as water lapped over the edge. “Your tub is a paradise of coconut oil.”

“Yes, but you’ve got coconut oil in your own bathroom too.”

“Yours smells better.” Better than sunburned moondrops? “Mom? The floor’s pretty wet in here. Dad’s welcome to use my shower. . . . There might not be any more hot water, though.”

“Oh, Birdie, for heaven’s sake.”

He won’t care. He knows baths are important to me, and it’s not like he has school in the morning.

“It’s bedtime,” Mom said. “Wipe up the floor. Put the top back on my coconut oil, if any’s left.”

“None is.”

Mom’s sigh is bigger than mine, even through a door.

Usually being my mother keeps her very content. It’s being superintendent of schools, her day job, that I find a problem.

“Why not just stay home with me?” I’ve asked her a dozen times. “Make homemade angel food cake like you never do? Paint my toenails?”

She just smiles.

Fortunately Dad’s home during the day, being a genius for the government. He’s working on a soybean that will end world hunger. Being home gives him a chance to tend the special garden in the basement where vegetables are grown for my salads.

Along with my special baths, my special salads are my one big necessity. I used to have asthma. We were all traumatized by those times. It was actually heinous and preposterous and even gruesome, but you can’t write an adventure book about asthma! My body is still behind because of it. I do a lot of things, like eating homegrown salad, so I can catch up. And I still have inhalers and meds in the medicine cabinet, just in case.

I guess it’s obvious, but I’ve been through a lot.

* * *

One big thing I survived is when I was seven and my best friend, Kirin, was transferred out of our neighborhood school and into Nu-Way Academy, across the bridge in Washington.

Let me say first that even Mom, who thinks diversity is a good thing, says this school is radical. The “Nu” of Nu-Way comes from a guy named Nudleman who started a chain of schools.

His main idea is turning Negative Thinkers into Positive Thinkers. Which looks like it works because if kids don’t instantly pretend to be thinking positively, they get spanked!

Hel-lo? How negative is that?

I’ve seen Nudleman in person. He walks around downtown in his expensive regular clothes just like he was normal, except he carries a staff. He always has kids with him, who he calls his flock.

If something like a scoop of ice cream falls off a cone and splats onto one of his flock’s feet, she doesn’t say, “Shoot!” like a real kid. She says, “Wow! An opportunity to give my Nikes a scrub!”

Scary. And my best friend, who never did anything worse than sass her mom, was being sent there! At the time it happened, it seemed worse than a kidnapping.

Kirin came to school with me for the first week of second grade. We sat as close to each other as we could, just like in kindergarten and first grade. If she had a clue what was coming, she never said a word.

Her mother arrived early one afternoon, cracked open the classroom door as if hating to disturb. Her lipstick, as usual, was shaped into a coaxing smile.

She tiptoed in, eyes glittering with news. She handed Ms. West a yellow slip of paper, the official kind from the principal’s office. Then she practically danced over to Kirin, took her small wrist inside her own plump manicured hand, and flopped her daughter’s hand around at us.

“Say goodbye, Kirin.”

“Mom! Let go of me right now—”

Kirin had always been willful. Mrs. Kimball would no doubt punish her once they were back in their car.

“Goodbye?” Ms. West was frowning at the yellow slip. “Why didn’t I know anything about this?”

Mrs. Kimball’s smile tightened a notch.

“Does it really mean for good, Mrs. Kimball?”

“It’s a withdrawal slip,” Mrs. Kimball said shortly. “What about that don’t you understand?” Catching herself, she inflated her voice with bubbles again. “Actually, I just got the news myself! Kirin’s been chosen to join her own special flock.”

She beamed around at those of us not-chosen.

From the Hardcover edition.
Susanna Vance

About Susanna Vance

Susanna Vance - Deep

Photo © Chris Bryant

Susanna Vance lives in the rainy Northwest, in a little yellow house on a hill above a river. Her short stories have appeared in many literary publications. Her writing is known for its dark humor, quirky characters, and strong voice.

Susanna Vance has been named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start Author and her novel Sights is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Deep has been nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults 2004.


Dear Readers and Fellow Changelings,

My stories are about transformation. In them, fat people don’t necessarily transform into thin ones, nor do snaggle-toothed computer nerds become prom queens—although sometimes they do because we all love that kind of thing. What interests me most, though, is change within one’s self.

Dark, quirky, and magical are words used to describe my work. I’m a fan of those things. You need dark to distinguish light, and magic to find the edges of science. Even very young children love to snuggle in their cozy, well-lit bedrooms and enter the dark, spooky forests of a fairy tale. We have a taste for the gothic, although none of us want to be trapped in grim situations ourselves. When that does happen, it’s the brave or hilarious or unpredictable way we deal with it that defines who we are. For example, in Sights, displaced Baby Girl finally gives up trying to fit in and devotes herself to playing the accordion with her odd little band. The things that set her apart from her peers go on to transform her, and she regains the feisty confidence she was born with.

I think we all start out optimistic and ready to rock and roll. Things happen that change that. A single traumatic incident with school, friends, or family can shrivel the innocent self-satisfaction of early childhood. In Deep, sad, powerful Morgan sails away from her broken family but remains enshrouded by the past: her past is a constant mist that blurs the way she sees the world. Freedom from that mist comes to her through a spirited little girl who opens Morgan to viewing herself, and her family, in a different way.

Such change is possible. As a child, I daydreamed my way through years of school. Eager as I was to please my teachers, I was unable to control the cinematic, thrill-packed fantasies that overlaid the diagrams on the blackboard.

It wasn’t until young adulthood that it occurred to me that the antic daydreams—my demise!––were stories competing to get out. Allowing characters to come forth, writing down their stories, turned out to be okay with everyone. All I had to do was improve my skills to get the stories properly written. I became a writer, and that changed everything.

I never became a thin, perfect-toothed prom queen, but I remain optimistic and ready to rock and roll.

Good luck to us all!

Susanna Vance

Learn more at SusannaVance.com



—An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
—A YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
—A Publishers Weekly Flying Start Author

“This commanding debut novel of eccentric outsiders shaking things up in a small town features a narrative voice of startling originality.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly

“This unsual novel . . . contains a striking combination of tragedy and whimsy.”—Starred, The Horn Book Magazine

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