The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw – Review

Posted June 15, 2020 by Tina in Book Review, Books / 0 Comments

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The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw – ReviewThe Wicked Deep
by Shea Ernshaw
Published by Simon and Schuster
on April 2, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Wizards & Witches, Ghost Stories, Romance, Contemporary
Amazon / Book Depository / KABO / BookShop / BAM / Abebooks
Source: Purchased

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw is a stand-alone YA fiction novel about a small town ghost story.

The Wicked Deep Summary

Penny Talbot lives in a small town off the coast of Oregon. Like most coastal towns Sparrow has a tourist draw during the summertime. But it isn’t the beach or the small cute shops that bring people to this harbor. It’s the Swan Sisters, who each year resurface from the ocean on June first, then lure boys to their death until the summer solstice.

All seems like a normal start to the summer for Penny until an outsider shows up looking for work. After Bo didn’t take her advice of getting back on the bus and leaving, she hired him to help her with the island lighthouse duties. Bo has no idea the danger he is in, and it won’t be easy for Penny to keep him breathing.

The Wicked Deep Review


So other reviewers say that they didn’t connect with The Wicked Deep’s main character Penny and I agree with them. But I think there is a reason for it.

Who I connected most with or had more interest in was the Swan sisters. But I wish we got a little more of them. I loved their story and I really liked it when we got the see the past from their point of view.

Bo was ok. A little cheesy at times. Though, I thought some of his decisions didn’t make sense based on his past

The Wicked Deep Cover image

Shea Ernshaw did an amazing job with the setting of a ghost story in a small rainy town of the coast. Living close to the west coast and spending a lot of summers in towns like this one. It made me feel like I was in my favorite town. Which was amazing considering we are still on lockdown due to the virus.


I loved the ghost story. It was the right kind of spooky with a good history. The only thing that was a little unbelievable was the tourist. If boys died year after year, the logical thing the town would do is shut down during this time. Or something to prevent deaths. But it really didn’t bother me that this didn’t have a better explanation than the one given.


When it comes to YA romance I’m probably not the best to judge. I really can’t look past what should happen and fairy tale love. The mom with pre-teen and teen children in me, really can’t leave that part of myself behind. So take this part with a grain of salt. Or skip it.

It was a kind of insta love, and at first, it bothered me. But by the end of the book, there was a reason for it, at least from Penny’s perspective. It doesn’t make sense why Bo would fall so hard for Penny. Other than being a teen living on the same island. The ending of the book, romance wise, makes no sense to me.


I loved the ghost story with the mystery witch hunt, haha, mixed with a great atmospheric setting. The Swan sister’s story is what captivated me. I now want to re-read it to pick up on all the small details that foreshadowed the end.

This would be a great book for someone who wants to get lost in this town, and its history, that likes an insta love story.

Reading Diary

My thoughts while reading the book. I would not recommend reading this section if you have not read the book yet! There are SPOILERS!

Oh, sad the art institute of Seattle closed March of 2019. Pretty excited the settings are on the Oregon coast. Small coastal tourist towns are near and dear to my heart.

Seattle is not dreadful by the way! Just sayin. P6

Where are you from? I ask Bo, after the beam of light passes around the lighthouse a full three times.
I arch an eyebrow at him, expecting him to narrow it down to a city or county or nearest proximity to a Starbucks. But he doesn’t.”
The Wicked Deep Book Quote

I’m sensing a slight sterotypism against Seattle, Shea Ernshaw. See the quote above. I have no idea if sterotypism is a word. But it is for the purpose of the post.

Just guessing. Bo seems familiar to Penny but she just can’t place it. Bo says his brother died in an accident. Who wants to bet his brother died in Sparrow and he’s trying to figure it out and that is why he seems familiar? P 166

But truth be told I really want to know what this boy’s secret is. Because if he does find out his brother was killed by a curse what is he going to do about it. Kill an innocent girl who is possessed by a 200-year-old ghost?

Ding ding P 139

I am not surprised. I wouldn’t say I called it, but I’ve been getting a feeling of this. P212

Final thoughts with Spoilers Discussion

I understand the insta love from Penny’s side. We were never seeing Penny as a character but actually looking through Hazel’s eyes. So having to cram 1 year worth of living into a few weeks. I totally understand her instantly falling for Bo when she is deprived of life all year.

Bo’s story arc on the other hand doesn’t make sense to me. #1 thing that bothers me is that he stayed with Penny. That is the face, body, person who killed his brother, even if it was a ghost inside and not Penny. I expected him to take the sailboat and live out his dream leaving the town behind. I would have been satisfied with that ending. But for him to stay doesn’t make sense.

I also don’t understand why Penny just accepted that there was holes in her memory and never questioned it. Did you read The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw? Do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments below. I love to chat about books.

Posted June 15, 2020 by Tina in Book Review, Books / 0 Comments