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One Would Think the Deep by Claire Zorn

February 11, 2019

It’s 1997 and seventeen-year-old Sam is mourning the sudden loss of his mom.​ ​Sam has always had things going on in his head that no one else understands, not even his mother. And now she’s dead, it’s worse than ever. With nothing but his skateboard and a few belongings in a garbage bag, Sam goes to live with the strangers his mum cut ties with seven years ago: Aunty Lorraine and his cousins Shane and Minty.

Minty is a really good surfer, but he only has the small towns waves. Which at times he’s fine with, but he has big dreams for joining an international competition, in order to earn some money. While Minty’s big brother Shane doesn’t like Sam during the beginning of the book. No one is quite sure why but my thought in the beginning was that he was envious of Sam spending so much time with his brother, since Minty treats Sam like his little brother. All this while Sam is just trying to settle in to this new environment and trying to make new friends.

As the story goes on and Sam starts to meet more people he meets a girl through one of his old friends, Jonah. The girl, Gretchen, goes to one of Jonah’s ‘Movie Nights’ and Sam sits next to her. They bond throughout that. Then once Sam is settled he goes to school and she is in a few of his classes. After he drops out and wants to get job Sam asks her out and she says yes.

Unfortunately that doesn’t last long because Gretchen reminds Sam of his mother and he leaves her. After feeling sorry for himself he goes and rides his skateboard. While riding past a store some guy clips him and he falls. Since Sam is already angry he picks a fight with the guy and loses. Then Jonah tries to stop it but the guy knocks him out and runs away as the store manager comes out. Sam feels even worse now since he was responsible for his friend being hurt.

He decides to live with his grandmother for a while because his aunt kicked him out of the house. After a while his aunt invites him to watch Minty compete. He wins and moves onto bigger things. From here, Zorn goes on to describer to the readers about how Sam also moved onto get a career.

I really enjoyed this book although it didn’t have too much of a plot. I liked how you could spectate this boy’s life, instead of your own. I also enjoyed this book because it was a boy my age who was the main character. The character development in this book is really strong because Zorn writes it so you get to know the characters throughout the book. She doesn’t just introduce every character during the beginning of the book while telling everything about them.  

One criticism I do have is the language used throughout this book. Since this is a surfer book Zorn incorporates “surfer language:” lots of, ‘Look at that wave Brah!’ and ‘Ays’, but it was pretty easy to look past.

Zorn drops clues throughout the book which I enjoyed because it was like getting to know an actual person. The longer you spend time with them the more you will find out. If I had to rate this book on a scale of 1-10 it would definitely be a 10 in my eyes, even with the lack of plot you will still want to know what happens throughout the book. I recommend this to everyone within the age range of 12-16.


​University of Queensland Press, 305 pages

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