Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Title: Words in Deep Blue

Author: Cath Crowley

Published: 06 June 2017 | Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Date Read: 30 July 2017


Love lives between the lines.

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

*Finished copy kindly provided by Penguin Random House for review*

Who wouldn’t be enticed to read a book that is about books and lovers of books? That premise of Words In Deep Blue is what immediately captured my interest making me immediately put it on my anticipated reads list for this year. And just when I thought that the story is a simple as that I was so wrong because inside this book is a heartfelt story that tackles family, friendship, grief and loss

Told in alternating POV’s of old friends Rachel and Henry, we were all brought to the small town of Gracetown where Rachel and Henry grew up together. Until a time came when Rachel needs to move to another town. Loose ends have been left with Henry and her other friends. But now, years have passed and she has returned to Gracetown. Returning to her old hometown, old friends and to Henry. But nothing is ever the same. Rachel is no longer the same.

Now, they are both forced to deal with the past, live in the present and get ready for the future and face the truths.

“I’ve missed her. Even now when she’s not being herself, I miss her.”

I like Henry! He’s cool and geeky and such a sweetheart. Though I’m quite annoyed on how he reacts with Amy (sicker than a love-sick boy) I liked him because he was able to redeem himself at the latter part of the book. He wears his heart on his sleeve. I really can’t blame him on what happened between him and Rachel, but what I do appreciate about him is that he gently woven himself back into Rachel’s life. He knows that something is going on with her but he didn’t push her into telling him what it is. He let her take her time to tell him.

“I think you should be depressed. I think depression is completely fair enough. Depression is the absolute response here.”

Rachel on the other hand is such a tough nut to crack. From the beginning, her sadness and grief can be seen. She’s still grieving for the loss of her brother. She’s also grieving the loss of her “old-self” mom. Reading about Rachel on the books actually makes me feel melancholic. I felt for her. I felt her sadness, her grief, her guilt. Being in Gracetown makes her feel alive again even for just a little. The town holds a lot of memory of her and her brother and going back has been a  good start for healing to her.

The other characters also made the book more solid. There’s George, Lola, Martin, Rachel’s Aunt and even Henry’s Parents, these set of characters are all there at the center of the story solidifying the story more with their sub-stories that is as interesting as the main story itself.

“Secondhand books are full of mysteries, which is why I like them.”

The Howling Bookstore is the brightest part of this book form me. Just imagining how cozy the bookstore looks makes me fall in love with books all over again. I really love the unique idea of the Letter Library where customers can write in books, circle the words they love and highlight lines. They can leave notes in the margin and thoughts about meanings of things that can be later discovered by other people. This idea is brilliant because its like another method of communication. It creates connection between strangers who might share the same love and passion as you.

The Letter Library is also home to Rachel and Henry’s sweet moments. Though the love-story is not the highlight of the whole story, I still feel giddy whenever there is a Rachel-Henry moment. *squeee*

I love the characters, I love the story so why not give it 5 stars? Well because, it took quite long for the story to get into the heart of the matter. I reached a point where it felt like I was dragging myself into the story (but I did get my feet back at some point).

Another thing is that it feels like a lot is going on – death of someone, love life of someone, the bookstore, the books and letters. There are a lot of subplots that are very interesting and I think are important parts of the story but sadly the ending did not give it enough justice. In fact, I felt that the ending is still quite a loose end for me.

“The past is with me; the future is unmapped and changeable. Ours for the imagining, spreading out before us. Sunlight-filed, deep blue, and the darkness.”

Overall, it has been an interesting read for me. I loved the characters and the whole concept of the Howling Books but I just wished that the ending could’ve been more close tied. Nevertheless, I’ll be on the lookout for more of Cath Crowley’s books.


3 thoughts on “Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

  1. novelcravings says:

    I’ve heard very little about Words In Deep Blue but what I have heard is good. It sounds like a book that might require some tissues though. Thank you for your review, I think I will be picking this one up in the future.

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