Words In Deep Blue
Author: Cath Crowley
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre/Themes: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: June 6th 2017
Page Count: 273
Words In Deep Blue was one of those books that came out of nowhere. I had literally heard nothing about it until it was all I was hearing about. I first heard about it while at the Indigo YA summer preview and that was when it first piqued my interest. Then all kinds of readers and fellow bloggers started posting their reviews and I knew it was something that I needed to check out! Everyone was reading it and everyone was loving it!
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.
What I Liked
The Letter Library. This was probably one of the coolest aspects of the whole book! I loved the Letter Library and I really wish that something like this was real and in a used bookshop near me! The Letter Library is a special shelf within Henry’s used bookshop that contains books that aren’t for sale. Instead, people who visit the shop can write their thoughts and feelings on the pages of the books. They can underline their favourite lines, highlight their favourite quotes and leave loose letters inside for other people to read. The Letter Library also served as a unique literary device as these little letters and notes were placed in between each chapter of the novel. We saw letters between various characters such as Henry’s sister George, Henry’s Parents and other people rather than just between Henry and Rachel, our main characters. I LOVED this aspect of the novel and I think it worked really well to tell the stories of some of the side characters.
The alternating perspectives. The story within Words In Deep Blue is told by the alternating perspectives of both Henry and Rachel. What I found really interesting about this particular execution was that each time the perspective shifted, it went back in time about 5 minutes. For example, if at the end of one of Henry’s chapters he left Rachel to have a conversation with George, the next chapter in Rachel’s perspective would start with the conversation between her and Henry ending and him walking away to talk to George. I’m not sure why this stood out to me, but it did and it made a typical dual perspective more unique.
The never-ending tug of war. I’ll try my best to explain what I mean by this. Throughout the entirety of the story, I had no idea how any situation would play out. Would Henry and Rachel cross paths again, or would they not? Would George ever find out the secret identity of the boy who was writing letters to her or would she not? Would Henry’s parents work out their differences or would they not? Would Henry make the worst decision ever or would he not? I literally could not tell. There was a constant back and forth, or tug of war. While I liked this aspect, it also became a little frustrating at times…
What I Didn’t Like
The never-ending tug of war. …which brings me here. At times, the tug of war effect worked. At others, it started to get a little frustrating. This literally happened until the final pages of the book and I wanted to scream because I was really so unsure if Henry would make the biggest mistake ever. However, even though I was slightly irritated, this was just a minor detail which is why I only took off half a star for it.
Overall, Words In Deep Blue was an amazing contemporary read that I’m so glad I picked up. I had heard such amazing things about it from a few fellow readers and I’m so glad that I decided to give it a go! It was cute, it was sad, it was depressing, but ultimately it was a beautiful and inspiring read!
About The Author
Cath Crowley is an award-winning author of young adult fiction. Her novels include Words in Deep Blue, Graffiti Moon, Chasing Charlie Duskin (A Little Wanting Song) and the Gracie Faltrain trilogy. Cath is a freelance writer, manuscript assessor and teacher.
Thank you for reading!