The Treasure of Way Down Deep: A Book Review


The Treasure of Way Down DeepTitle: The Treasure of Way Down Deep

Author: Ruth White

Published: August 27th, 2013 by Macmillan Publishers

Pages: 176

Genre: Children / Historical Fiction

Source: Library / Hardcover

Series: The Way Down Deep Series 

Summary: In 1954, when mine closings bring an economic crisis to Way Down Deep, West Virginia, foundling Ruby Jolene Hurley makes a thirteenth-birthday wish to find the treasure rumored to have been buried by one of the town’s founders. {from Goodreads}

My Thoughts: A long while ago, I read the historical fiction book, Way Down Deep, and I really enjoyed it! I got re-acquainted with the series earlier last year when my sister informed that there was a squeal. I finally got around to reading the sequel last week during my snow day, as I am always slowly, but steadily, going through my book pile in my room. I really wanted to love this more than I ended up liking it, but nevertheless, I thought this was a cute historical fiction story!

Ruby lives in the small town of Way Down Deep, where neighbors know everyone by name, and street parties are not uncommon. When rumors of a town treasure start to resurface, Ruby is determined to find it herself! The beauty, and possibility the downfall, of this book was the simplicity of the story. It wasn’t complicated; the “mystery” of the treasure was fairly predictable, and there were no major high-action events. While the method of going simple can be really effective in certain stories, it just didn’t add up for me here. I actually found it a bit boring in parts! Because the book was so short, that may have factored into it as well. I was often reminded of Sharon Creech’s A Boy on the Porch, as both books were on the shorter side and had little to keep the reader engaged.

While the plot lacked substance for me, I found the characters living in Way Down Deep incredibly interesting! In the very beginning of the book is a handy-dandy list of each person mentioned, and believe me when I say that it was very helpful while reading :) As I was trying to keep track of who was who in the town, I just had to turn back to the first few pages to learn their occupation and family! There was a huge range of characters, from young to old, shy to outgoing, childish to mature. While there was not a huge shift in each individual person, I liked how the author treated the town as a character itself. Thinking back, I feel like as a whole, the town showed a lot of growth and development. 

Finally, this is labeled as a historical fiction book, set in the 1950’s, but with a few substitutions here and there, it could probably pass for a good amount of other time periods as well. While I appreciated not being bogged down with historical facts in every sentence, I was hoping to see more cultural events in the town. This could have been more based on my expectations, but I am curious to see if anyone else thinks that as well.

Overall, The Treasure of Way Down Deep isn’t necessarily bad, I just don’t think I was in the right mood or place to read it. With this one, and even with book one, you must have the right expectations going in, or you’ll end up a bit disappointed. 

Pros: There was such a diverse cast of characters! I particularly liked Ruby, the protagonist, because I enjoyed reading about her in the first book as well.

Cons: The plot felt off – I am not sure how best to describe it. 

Heads Up: There is a death of a pet, but it is handled quite well.

Overall: I give it 3 stars {***}, and I recommend it for ages 10 and up.

Have a lovely day!


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