Review: Fathom by Merrie DeStefano

Posted January 6, 2013 by Sue Miller in Reviews, Sue, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Review: Fathom by Merrie DeStefano
Fanthom by Merrie DeStefano
Series: The Chronicles of Crescent Moon Bay #1
Published by Indie
Published on: September 24, 2012
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 344
Format: eBook
Source: Borrowed
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Everything is changing . . .

Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean in the driveway. Then somebody spikes her drink at the party and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater.

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister and mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.



Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean in the driveway. Then somebody spikes her drink at the party and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater.

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister and mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.



I know I’m in the minority when I say that I like love triangles. I really do, especially in YA, as a little sprinkle of angst here and there. If they’re written decently, there should be enough intrigue without the cliches. DeStefano’s story touches on this just enough to satisfy the reader. Fathom is a mature YA read with multi-layered teen characters and motives that move the story along at an excellent pace.

After reading the first few lines I got the impression the story was perhaps about ghosts, and since that’s not my thing, I began to question the read. I’m happy to report that it is certainly not about ghosts, but a story of interesting Gaelic folklore and family history with a fresh and mature teen lead, Kira, who is also one of the narrators of this story.

Kira’s mother and sister have died in a tragic way, and she’s been coping with this tragic loss ever since, by reliving the circumstances constantly at different points in her life. This dark past, looms in everything she does. Kira tortures herself with memories, because she doesn’t feel worthy of any kind of enjoyment. We relive the memory of their deaths at her sixteenth birthday party, where Kira’s life as she knows it, begins to change. The reader is painfully aware that she’s missing her mother and sister’s presence. It’s here that the reader is introduced to characters that will force Kira to change into the person her Grandmother and Father have been anticipating and dreading. This makes the beginning of the book a little somber, but this is a coming of age story in which these circumstances shape Kira’s vulnerability and future. She’s emotionally strong by the way in which she has been coping, trying to be strong for the others in her family. She’s a believable character that is endearing right from the beginning of the story.

The other narrator is Caleb. He tells us a different story, in a more mature voice. He is drawn to Crescent Moon Bay and to Kira. He fits the part about the folklore and that’s all I’m going to say, for spoiler reasons. Caleb is a pensive and purposeful character that Kira is drawn to. There are other teenagers in the book that add to the story and plot. This book exhibits all of the teenage confusion and angst, which felt organic and part of the building story-line.

The plot is strong and at the half way point I realized that this story had no predictability. I was pleasantly surprised to find the plot moving in directions that were fresh and innovative.

At first, the change in narrators in the beginning was a slightly confusing as two storyline’s emerged. I urge you to press on, and know that DeStefano knows how to weave a good story. Fathom took some twists and turns that left me fully surprised. I love when a story is unpredictable, and Fathom definitely is. It’s what I enjoyed most about this book. A couple of creepy scenes had me dashing up the stairs faster than usual at night after reading them before going to bed! The story unfolds with suspense and emotion.

DeStefano tells a story of sacrifices, loyalties and love. Her writing has a great flow, and is easy to read. Do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in this fresh and mythical world.

Recommendation: Fans of teen angst, romance and a little mystery.
Like this, like that: Shattered Souls, by Mary Lindsey and Carrier of the Mark, by Leigh Fallon.



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My name is Sue Miller and I live in Toronto, Ontario. I dabble in writing and obsess in reading anything I can, especially fantasy and YA. I spend countless hours on Goodreads, twitter and blog reading. If I fall in love with a book I immediately go to the author’s website and devour details on how he/she writes. I’m also a music junkie and have playlists for all of my favorite books. My guilty pleasure is video games – fantasy of course.

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