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From the award-winning author of YA psychological thriller Small Spaces comes a gripping mystery about a missing boy and a group of teenagers, one of whom knows something but isn’t telling.


About the book

Henry Weaver is missing

Three months ago, thirteen-year-old Henry disappeared from The Shallows during a violent storm, leaving behind his muddy mountain bike at the train station.

Mason Weaver is trapped

While Mason doesn’t know who he is or what he’s capable of, he knows the one thing binding him to this suffocating small town is his younger brother, Henry.

Chloe Baxter wants answers

Why would Henry run away without telling her? One of Chloe’s friends knows something and she’s determined to find out the truth.

As Chloe wades into dangerous waters and Mason’s past emerges, a chilling question ripples to the surface: how far would you go to keep a secret?

Sarah Epstein’s YA debut Small Spaces became an instant hit, winning a Davitt Award, named a CBCA Honour Book and shortlisted for the ABIAs and six other major literary awards. Her second YA novel, Deep Water, will be published by Allen & Unwin in April 2020.


Read a chapter

They checked the stormwater drains for Henry first …

Take a deep breath and click here to read the first chapter of Deep Water.


Early praise for ‘Deep Water’

‘Echoes of Melina Marchetta swim through this story of mysterious small-town secrets and the lengths friends will go to keep them. A wonderful follow-up to Small Spaces—Sarah Epstein proves she’s really in the game.’—Ellie Marney, author of the ‘Every’ series and White Night

‘Full of secrets and lies, Deep Water is a truly complex and brilliantly written puzzle that keeps you guessing until the end.’—Fleur Ferris, author of Black, Risk and Wreck

‘Cleverly plotted and compelling, with characters so vivid you can almost hear their hearts beating, Deep Water will get under your skin. I loved this book.’—Rebecca James, author of Cooper Bartholomew is Dead, Beautiful Malice and Sweet Damage

Deep Water is atmospheric, mysterious, genuinely compelling and beautifully constructed, told from not just two points of view but also from different and converging points in time. Chloe and Mason are nuanced characters who have a complicated relationship with each other, and with Henry, but also with The Shallows. Sarah Epstein’s writing is so nuanced that my reading of them deepens with each read and the more I think about Deep Water, the more I find to think about. In the end what I love about Deep Water the most is that it is a story about being stuck—whether it’s in the past or in a town or with a mistake—and it’s also about release. Somehow in the darkness, Sarah Epstein also creates light.’—Anna McFarlane, A&U Publisher of Deep Water

‘Sarah Epstein is back! After the commercial and critical success of her debut novel Small Spaces, she returns to form with Deep Water, an absorbing mystery. Liane Moriarty meets Fleur Ferris in this powerful exploration of friendship, family and the ties that bind us together. Sarah Epstein’s writing thrums with intensity and her characters drip off the page, seeping into your heart. This is Australian YA at its finest.’—Nicola Santilli, A&U Editor of Deep Water

‘I was completely gripped! It kept me guessing until the last page, with so many possible suspects and scenarios. I couldn’t put it down until I finished every word. Chloe is a realistically flawed but sympathetic protagonist, the secondary characters are equally well drawn and engaging, and the friendship and family dynamics feel authentic and absorbing. Loved it.’—Eva Mills, A&U Publishing Director—Books for Children and YA

‘Reminiscent of small-town mysteries à la television’s Broadchurch, or novels Jasper Jones and Holly Throsby’s Goodwood, Deep Water is exceedingly well-plotted and completely captivating. Before you know it, you’ll be swept up in the mystery.’—Simon Panagaris, A&U Head of Marketing—Children’s Books

‘A truly gripping and well-crafted page turner with characters that stay with you. Do yourself a favour and pick up Deep Water.’—Matt Hoy, A&U Sales Director


About the author

Sarah Epstein is a writer, illustrator and designer. She grew up in suburban Sydney and now lives in Melbourne with her husband and two sons. Her first novel Small Spaces, a YA psychological thriller, won Best YA Crime Novel at the Sisters in Crime Davitt Awards and was an Honour Book at the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards. It was also shortlisted for another seven awards including the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Queensland Literary Awards, the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature and the Australian Book Industry Awards.


Win an advance reading copy

For your chance to win one of five advance copies of Deep Water, email with ‘Deep Water’ in the subject line and tell us why you’re excited to read it!





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