Cover image for Deep sea
Deep sea
Thor, Annika., author.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Havets djup. English
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, [2015]
Physical Description:
228 pages ; 22 cm
Nearly four years after leaving Vienna to escape the Nazis, Stephie Steiner, now sixteen, and her sister Nellie, eleven, are still living in Sweden, worrying about their parents and striving to succeed in school, and at odds with each other despite their mutual love.
General Note:
Companion book to: A faraway island and Lily pond.

"Originally published in Sweden as Havets djup by Annika Thor, copyright 1998 by Annika Thor, by Bonnier Carlsen, Stockholm, in 1998."
Reading Level:
HL 670 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.5 6.0 171873.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



Three years ago, Stephie and her younger sister, Nellie, escaped the Nazis in Vienna and fled to an island in Sweden, where they were taken in by different families. Now sixteen-year-old Stephie is going to school on the mainland. Stephie enjoys her studies, and rooming with her school friend, May. But life is only getting more complicated as she gets older.

Stephie might lose the grant money that is funding her education. Her old friend Verra is growing up too fast. And back on the island, Nellie wants to be adopted by her foster family. Stephie, on the other hand, can't stop thinking about her parents, who are in a Nazi camp in Austria. If only the war would enda.

Like the deep sea, Stephie's life is filled with danger and darkness, but also with beauty and hope as she learns to stand up for her beliefs and be true to herself.

Author Notes

ANNIKA THOR was born and raised in a Jewish family in Goteborg, Sweden. She has been a librarian, has written for both film and theater, and is the author of many books for children, young adults, and adults. She lives in Stockholm. A Faraway Island, The Lily Pond, and Deep Sea are the first three novels in a quartet featuring the Steiner sisters, which has been translated into numerous languages and has garnered awards worldwide.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The third installment of the Steiner sisters quartet (Batchelder winner A Faraway Island, 2009, and The Lily Pond, 2011) finds 16-year-old Jewish refugee Stephie ready to graduate from Swedish grammar school in 1943. She would like to continue school and become a doctor, but the relief committee balks at the cost. Finally her teacher negotiates a compromise: she will proficiency year one and they will pay the rest. The novel's strength lies in its rich cast of secondary characters whose stories bring wartime Sweden to life. Particularly strong are foster parents Märta and Evert, whose stern exteriors belie their deep love for Stephie; sister Nellie, who bristles at any mention that she is Austrian or Jewish; good friend Vera, who finds herself unwed and pregnant; and Stephie's parents, whose postcards from Theresienstadt eventually reveal the fates of Mama and Papa. Like the girls, the series' interest level is rising along with the more mature content. The ending, in which Stephie and Nellie make peace with their situation, sets the stage for a final volume.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2015 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In the third installment in a series about a Jewish girl sent with her sister to live with Swedish families during WWII (following A Faraway Island and The Lily Pond), Stephie, now nearly 16, is living in a city with her best friend's big family, finishing grammar school. But on some weekends, and when summer comes, she heads back to the remote island home of her well-meaning but distant foster parents. In both places, Stephie worries-she wants to go to high school, but must persuade (and compromise with) the overextended relief committee supporting her. Meanwhile, her younger sister, Nellie, feels abandoned by their parents and is acting out, and a letter Stephie sends to her mother, who is in an Austrian concentration camp, is returned undelivered. This novel about coming of age during a complicated, tragic time in history is both delicate and poignant, as when Stephie and Nellie sit on the dock, remembering a lullaby their mother sang. Thor's novel capably demonstrates the loneliness, powerlessness, and prejudice Stephie faces, as well as her growing inner strength. Ages 14-up. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-Almost four years have passed since Stephie and Nellie Steiner, introduced in A Faraway Island (2009) and The Lily Pond (2011, both Delacorte), were sent from Nazi-occupied Vienna to Sweden by their parents. Letters from Vienna have stopped, replaced by periodic postcards from Theresienstadt containing exactly 30 words each. Stephie, now 16, is living on the mainland to attend grammar school, supported by the Swedish relief committee, while the younger Nellie remains on the island with Auntie Alma's family. The teen is torn between wanting to continue her education and feeling guilt at being away from Nellie, whose memory of their parents has given way to deepening bonds with her foster family. Overshadowing all is the protagonist's constant worry about her parents. Thor includes details that demonstrate how Sweden, though technically neutral, was nonetheless greatly affected by the surrounding war, and she deftly balances the sisters' everyday concerns with the greater psychological aspects of being refugees. Readers who want to know more behind the unwritten words on the postcards might be steered to Susan Goldman Rubin's illustrated nonfiction books about life in Theresienstadt, Fireflies in the Dark (2001) and The Cat with the Yellow Star (2006, both Holiday).-Susan Stan, Professor Emerita of English, Central Michigan University (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.