Off the Deep End – Elin Victoria Unstad

Happy Monday guys!

The book I’ve finished this time is another psychological thriller by another up-and-coming Norwegian author. Off the Deep End is intended for a younger audience, and it shines a light on some mental issues in, in my opinion, a very good way.

Vilja drowned. It’s been three months since she was dead. For 23 minutes. Nothing will ever be the same again. 

While Vilja tries to find her way back to life something happens. She’s kidnapped and wakes up on an unfamiliar island. The following day she’s home again. 

What happened? Why does nobody believe her? She was kidnapped, right? Vilja understands less by the day, but there is probably a natural explanation…

Off the Deep End is a great book for introducing teenagers to the psychological thriller genre. It’s easy to read with short chapters switching between the present and the past. There are not too many characters which are good because it keeps the story easier to engage with and it flows better because you don’t have to remember a million names (cough cough George R. R. Martin!). I enjoy Vilja as the main character. She is strong-willed, as her name indicates, but she is also trying to find her way back to a normal life after her accident. This whole situation with getting back to her previous life is very well portrayed in the book. I believe a lot of young people can relate to Vilja’s confusion, even if they haven’t been through a traumatic accident or incident. Growing up can be quite confusing and we’ve all experienced it to some degree.

I think my favorite part of Off the Deep End is how Unstad describes the aftereffects of a traumatic experience. Vilja’s experience with the aftereffects of her drowning is portrayed both by herself and professionals who appear as minor characters in the book. I think what is most important is Vilja’s feelings of not being believed when she explains something. I’m no expert on the area, but I believe this happens from time to time, and maybe more than we care to think about. In the book, this is described without a lot of fancy words and this makes it easier to relate to and also understand for the regular person on the street.

I quickly engaged with this book, and I had a great time reading it! What really pulled me in, was a well laid out storyline that grabbed me right away. I would probably have finished sooner if this thing called life hadn’t interfered all the time….

Off the Deep End will be published in Norway on March 4, and it will go by the name Brådypt. I really think you should give this one a go if you’re a psychological thriller fan or if you have a teenager in the house who needs something action-filled and puzzling at the same time. In case you’re struggling with getting your teenager to read you can assure them that this book is quite short, ‘only’ 224 pages! This book will be perfect for Easter break too!

Will be published: March 2019

Genre: Psychological thriller

Theme: Drowning, family, trauma, water

– The Book Reader

 

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