Orca Soundings are high interest titles for teens reading at or below their reading level. Deadly by Sarah N. Harvey is a 2013 title from the Orca Soundings line.
Synopsis: Amy and Eric are the perfect couple - popular, good looking, happy. But after they are seen arguing at a party, Amy disappears and Eric is the number on suspect. Amy wakes up in an all white, windowless room with one simple instruction: every day for 7 days she must write an essay about one of the seven deadly sins, and then whoever is holding her will let her go. As Eric tries to figure out where Amy is, he learns that the past has a way of coming back and biting you in the butt.
Deadly grips you from the very first page, when Amy wakes up in a strange room and realizes that someone is holding her hostage. Deadly alternates between Amy and Eric's point of view as we see what is happening with Amy and how Eric sets out to find her.
Because Deadly is part of the Orca Book line, it is short, captivating and to the point. The sentences are short, and don't have a lot of extra descriptors to keep reluctant readers invested in the story. The tension in the story is high and compelling. I read it in a little under an hour and was definitely interested in the story and the characters.
The only issue I had was in Eric's story. Eric is brought in for questioning by the police and his mother hires a lawyer. Eric asks them, the adults, to give him 24 hours to find Amy and they both agree. I thought this part was really implausible given the legal trouble he seemed to be in and the fact that a young girl was missing. It would have been more believable had the adults said no and Eric just continued to look for Amy on his own anyway. There is also a scene where Eric confronts an ex-girlfriend and we have all watched enough Law & Order and Criminal Minds to know that it could end very badly for him, there was so much tension in this scene.
For those of us that have seen Seven, you will see traces as Amy is forced by her captor to write essays on the 7 deadly sins. It is through these essays, and Amy's attempts to rescue herself, that we learn more about Amy and see how the pieces of her past brought her to this point. I appreciated that Amy was shown to be strong and resourceful.
I wasn't really sure what to expect with this line - this is the Orca Book I have read - and I think they successfully accomplish their goals. Deadly is a compelling read and I can see teens looking for a short, quick read reaching for this title and being satisfied. Highly recommended for those looking for realistic fiction, mysteries and thrillers.
Deadly by Sarah N. Harvey. Orca Soundings. 2013. ISBN: 978-1-4598-0364-0