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Tyler Lawless has always been someone to invent good stories, but when she sees her teacher, who has been dead for six months, in a supermarket this is neither invented nor imagined – is it? Of course nobody believes her and soon she’s the crazy girl telling ghost stories and causing trouble. Without much reason she gets one warning after another from her school, so she drops out before they can kick her out. But a new school doesn’t mean that everything goes the way it is supposed to. The former monastery fires Tyler’s imagination and years ago, the pastor killed one of the pupils – there’s enough potential for ghost stories. Soon things are happening only to Tyler that nobody else can see. Her classmates get suspicious and Tyler herself wonders whether she’s just making up all of this. And if not, what to do? She’s curious what the ghost want from her, but there is also fear: what will they do, if she doesn’t act the way they want her to?
I’m a little sad I didn’t know about this book when I was younger. I still liked it now, but it’s definitely for a younger readership; it’s probably the best if you’re between ten and twelve years old. That’s probably how old Tyler is as well, so you can imagine what kind of problems she has to deal with. This book isn’t only about the ghost stories; just as it is with young people: they’re looking for friends, they spend their time with them and wonder who it is their friends fancy, and sometimes they have a spare look for a cute girl or boy themselves – everything just a little bit more innocent than with young adults.
So it’s a little funny that I’ve got big problems with one aspect of this part of the story. It is absolutely okay that Tyler has a crush on one of the boys; that it is this certain boy leaves me slightly annoyed, though. Most of Tyler’s classmates react spitefully to her experiences, and there’s this one boy claiming she just wants to be in the middle of attention. This might not be nice towards Tyler but is understandable. I doubt I would have believed her myself and why should we? Those accusations are a logical conclusion from Tyler’s behaviour, and it’s not unusual that the others don’t keep still about it – children can be just as cruel as the rest of us. But this boy doesn’t stop there but constantly bullies her verbally as if she has attacked him with her stories. This guy is a complete idiot and if nobody finally educates him, he’s going to be a hell of an ... you know what. And now guess who our heroine got a crush on.
Well, he can still be cute and that she likes him because of that is nothing reprehensible. I was just the same when I was that young. Those were sometimes the biggest idiots in school, but they were cute, so I liked them in a totally superficial way. But in the end, Tyler seems to have forgotten everything he did and said, as if you have to take what you get if you’re different than others. Forget the humiliations and insults, and take your chance when you get it! He doesn’t even see his mistakes and would act the same way again and again and again.
What kind of message is that supposed to be? Maybe the author just wanted a happy ending, but it’s still dubious. Fortunately, this is only a small part of the story, so I can forgive it. Slightly.
Otherwise, Tyler is a lovable girl with a bigger imagination than is good for her – sometimes it would also help if she didn’t immediately tell somebody about what she saw.
But that’s easy to say if you aren’t confronted with ghosts wherever you go; seeing dead is difficult to accept. She spends most of the book telling herself that she’s just imagining things, that she’s crazy and so on. I would have done it myself, I think, but on the other hand it’s unfortunate this takes so much space in this very short book. The actual adventure doesn’t really need many pages, not to mention the resolving, which wasn’t a surprise at all.
The whole plot is rather easy and not the least bit complex – well, it’s suited for younger reader, with which I don’t want to say that they can’t understand more complex books, but still. You should have that in mind when you pick up “Out of the Depths”. And if you do, you can still enjoy a slightly scary story. Or do you have younger relatives/friends with a knack for ghost stories? This might be the book for them!
“Out of the Depths” is a quick read and won’t surprise older readers much. Besides the faux pas with Tyler’s heart-throb it is an entertaining book, especially when you tend to imagine stories of your own when you’re somewhere scary or relive horror movies with yourself as the main character – just as Tyler. It is a book for younger readers, though the second one might be more suited for elders, too. Tyler has finally accepted her gift then, so the structure of the plot might be very much different.