In Too Deep
This mystery adventure book by Jude Watson is the sixth book in the " The 39 Clues" series and is published by Scholastic Inc.
In Too Deep is written for kids ages 9 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
In The Maze of Bones, the first book of the series, Amy and Dan's grandmother dies and leaves them with a choice. They can inherit a million dollars or have the opportunity to search for 39 clues that, once found, will make them the most powerful people in the world. Amy (14), her brother, Dan (11), and a number of their corrupt relatives have chosen to hunt for the clues.
In book six, Amy and Dan travel with their au pair, Nellie, to Sydney, Australia, to meet a man named Shep, their father's best friend and cousin. He tells them what their parents had been doing prior to their deaths. Isabel Kabra, a Cahill aunt and the mother of their cousins Ian and Natalie, follows them and steals Amy's necklace. Before she leaves, Isabel tells Amy that they've met before.
At a museum, Amy and Dan find a picture is missing in a line of convict mug shots. The convict is Bob Troppo, a member of the Ekat branch, whom they believe will lead them to the next clue. They also believe that Isabel stole the picture on her way out of the museum. Amy begins to remember details from the night when she was 6 years old and her parents died in a fire. She remembers voices that she had forgotten and the faces of family members she has been meeting on their quest. Ian calls to inform her that her parents' death was not the accident she remembered it to be — it was murder.
Irina, a KGB agent who works with Isabel to track the children, takes Amy to the basement of a pub. Irina warns Amy to not trust Isabel as she is the one who murdered Amy's parents. Later, Isabel accuses Irina of the same crime. Isabel threatens to feed Amy to the sharks if she does not share the clues she's already found. Before Amy provides any information, the Holt family, relatives the kids previously formed an alliance with, rescues her. Amy decides not to tell Dan about either woman's accusation.
Shep flies Amy, Dan and Nellie to Coober Pedy, the home of Bob Troppo and also one of the final places their parents visited. In Troppo's home, they find a drawing by their mother that leads them to a clue at the base of an opal mine. Isabel arrives and drops spiders and a poisonous snake down the mineshaft in an attempt to kill the children. Irina sees what is happening and changes her mind about helping Isabel. Her own son died while following Isabel's instructions — she is not about to let that happen to Amy and Dan. She waits for an opportunity to help the children and prove her allegiance to them.
Shep is getting ready to fly Amy, Dan and Nellie to Java, Indonesia, but is detained by authorities when Irina accuses him of kidnapping the children. Nellie flies the plane instead, and the children begin to wonder about the many skills of their au pair. She seems trained specifically for the job of taking them on this adventure.
Amy and Dan ditch Nellie at the hotel and hire a boat to take them out to Krakatau, a volcano where Troppo did much of his work. Because the volcano is active, they are unable to go ashore. Instead, they travel to a remote island that is believed to be the home of a man living in isolation. Here they find their cousin Alistair waiting for them. They are surprised to see him because they believed he had died in a cave back in Korea. Alistair shows them a poem containing the next clue. He stole this clue from their parents on the night of the fire. Isabel tracks the children to the island and sets fire to the house where they are staying with Alistair. Irina also follows them there and risks her life to save Amy and Dan. She dies in the fire, Alistair wanders to the other side of the island, and the children are left wondering who in their large and devious family is safe to trust. They decipher the clue from the poem that Alistair gave them. The clue is the word water.
Other Belief Systems
Amy carries an old necklace that belonged to her grandmother. The keepsake allows her to feel her grandmother's presence and connect with her relative's courage. Vikram teaches his son, Ian, that the only important thing in life is to win. Shep refers to Amelia Earhart as speaking to the kids from her watery grave. Alistair reminds them that being ruthless may sometimes be essential in their quest for clues. Amy and Dan feel the presence of their deceased parents. The ghost of Irina puts responsibility for finding the clues on the kids.
Dan says he saved Amy's sorry butt. He also refers to Aunt Beatrice as The Bloody and as an idiot. Natalie refers to Irina as a hateful witch. Dweeb is used on multiple occasions. Dan refers to Isabel's children as the "hounds of suck." The children visit The Justice & Police Museum, which contains weapons from crimes, including a knife with bloodstains.
Irina uses poisoned needles to threaten Amy and leads her to a deserted basement. Isabel threatens to feed Amy to the sharks, and she tosses bloody fish parts into the water to bring them to the surface. She later drops spiders and a deadly snake into the mineshaft where the children are searching for a clue.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- What would children need to really travel around the world as Amy and Dan do?
- Why couldn't real kids travel like Amy and Dan, even with Nellie's assistance?
What problems would they most likely run into?
How is Isabel's parenting different than ours is?
- What kind of a role model is she for her children?
How would you have felt if you were one of her children in the Hummer on the runway?
How do the memories of the night her parents died upset Amy? What new information does she uncover about that night?
- Why does she decide to keep this information from Dan?
- When Dan finds out, how does he feel about that decision?
- Do you like it when people keep things from you?
- What should you be told?
What things are OK for you not to be told?
Why does Shep not believe the kids even when they tell him the truth?
- How are the kids living up to the Cahill philosophy of telling lies all the time?
Why isn't that a good philosophy to have?
How does Irina's son help Amy and Dan?
- What do Irina's feelings for her son help her do?
How might bad experiences that you have had and worked through help others?
Name some of the Australian words used in this book. What did you learn about Australia that you didn't know before reading it?
- What did you learn about Indonesia?
- How are people in these lands similar to and different from you?
Lying: The children become proficient in lying about their travels in Australia. Shep asks them multiple times what they are up to, and they lie to him so often that when they finally tell the truth, he doesn't believe them. Dan admits that the Cahill family philosophy is to tell lies all the time. This is not seen as a negative but something that is just accepted by the family.
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