Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

By Colleen Hybl

Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school, produces some of the best marine scientists, underwater explorers, and other ocean-related professionals in the world. Freshman Ana Dakkar hopes to follow her parents’ footsteps, along with her brother, an upperclassman, but first she has to pass the freshman end-of-the-year trials. Except it all goes horribly wrong. Now Ana and her classmates are on the run, as a rival school is out to capture her and the technology that is her heritage, for she is a descendant of Captain Nemo. It is a race against time to find Captain Nemo’s lost masterpiece, which, in the wrong hands, has the potential to change the world forever.

Inspired by Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,, opens a new window Rick Riordan of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series gives readers a brand-new science fiction tale that barely stops to take a breath until the end. The cast is well represented with various backgrounds from Bundeli Indian ancestry to an African American member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There is also a neurodivergent character with an anxiety disorder. This book is written in English, but other languages are mentioned and/or used, including Irish Gaelic, Italian, and American Sign Language. While students of all genders should find something that resonates with them, Ana does discuss her menstrual cycle as she gets her period right after a major plot event. Readers will be pulled in by the fast-paced action as Ana and the rest of her class try to claim world-changing technology before their enemies get to it first.

School Library Journal recommends Daughter of the Deep for 6th grade and up.