Those We Drown by Amy Goldsmith

Those We Drown – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Mystery, supernatural, danger, mythology, sea-creatures.
YA book title: Those We Drown.
YA authors: Amy Goldsmith.
Genre: Supernatural mystery.
Published by: Ink Road, an imprint of Black & White Publishing
ISBN: 9781785305917.
Recommended for children aged: 14+.
First published: Paperback February 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: KS4 supernatural mystery fans.

Those We Drown by Amy Goldsmith

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Our review:

Seventeen-year-old Liv and her best friend Will apply for the prestigious SeaMester “education at sea” program on a whim, never imagining that they’ll actually get in. When the acceptance emails arrive, Liv is thrilled, especially when she’s awarded a much-needed full scholarship. This is her chance to live like one of the stylish social media influencers that she so admires and really become someone special. Plus, it’ll look great on her upcoming Oxbridge application.

“No one, other than Will, knew who I was. I could be anyone right now, anyone I wanted.”

At first, the cruise is everything Liv hoped for. The Eos is like an enormous floating hotel, luxurious and opulent. The itinerary – New York – Miami – Buenos Aires – Barcelona – is almost enough to make Liv forget that she actually hates (and is terrified of) the sea.

“Where do you want me to start? The whole drowning thing? Jaws? Portuguese man-of-war, the bends, the Mariana Trench, actual pirates…”

True, Liv’s fellow SeaMester students are rather on the snobby side, uniformly glamorous and wealthy. There are also a trio of high-class influencers on board called the Sirens, who seem to have taken an instant dislike to Liv. Plus, things are still a little weird between her and Will since a recent disastrous attempt to move beyond friendship… But Liv is determined to enjoy herself and make the most of this opportunity of a lifetime.

Those We Drown by Amy Goldsmith back cover

Once at sea, however, the cracks in the Eos‘s glamorous facade start to show. It turns out that Liv was a last-minute replacement after another student mysteriously disappeared. Soon others are going missing from the ship and Liv is plagued with dreams of strange creatures and haunting music.

“Hidden deep within the rusting hull, harrowed and hungry, they waited.”

It seems that the Eos – like the sea itself – hides some very deadly secrets. When Will himself goes missing, Liv’s trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare that she may never escape.

“The sea provides … but only if you feed it.”

Those We Drown is a fast-paced, intricately plotted thriller. The semester-at-sea setting gives a unique, claustrophobic twist to the typical school story. Elements of Greek mythology, horror, mystery and romance are woven together in this well-crafted debut novel. Liv and Will may be trapped on the Eros but readers will not want to escape this story in a hurry!

The story delves into the darker side of wealth and privilege, taking the reader behind the masks that picture-perfect influencers present to the world. Liv is forced to question how far she’ll go for perfection and acceptance in a social-media-obsessed world.

Those We Drown is an immersive tale of mystery and hidden depths that will appeal to fans of Kalynn Bayron’s This Poison Heart. It is not recommended for anyone about to go on a cruise!

Many thanks to Ink Road, an imprint of Black & White Publishing for the review copy.

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If you like Those We Drown by Amy Goldsmith you might also like: our reviews of Soulmates and Other Ways To Die by Melissa Welliver, I Loved You In Another Life by David Arnold, When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari and Channel Fear by Lisa Richardson.

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About Melanie Dillon

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Melanie has a Master’s degree in Information and Library Management; a Post Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature focusing on the Reading Agency’s Reading Well scheme & LGBT YA fiction, and extensive experience working in school and public libraries. Linkedin | Reviews by Melanie Dillon