Book Review | Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Title: Words in Deep Blue
Author: Cath Crowley
Publication: June 6th 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Finished Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781101937648
How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)

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.

I received a finished copy of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Books like Words in Deep Blue are the reason why I really enjoy reading contemporary YA. First, you’re only looking for some refreshing light read but then it gives something more, something with greater depth. I admit, I was only after the giddy feeling I know this book would give me based on the synopsis. I’m a total sucker for swoon but this book is more than just a cute romance, it also deals with loss, grief and what comes after.
Rachel likes Henry, her best friend. Before she moves away with her family, she confesses her feelings in a letter to Henry but he never replied. A wild guess here is that the letter never really reached Henry. But, Rachel doesn’t know that. She assumes that Henry is just ignoring the fact. But even so, Henry is crazy in love with another girl, Amy, so there’s that. Rachel comes back to town, and guess what, Henry is still crazy in love with Amy even after she dumps him. Rachel says that she doesn’t have feeling for Henry anymore. And Henry thinks that Rachel changed a lot, she’s rude and shuts everyone out especially him.
Told in alternating POVs of Henry and Rachel, we see how everything unfolds before us in 2 different voices, with some in-between stories, told by an exchange of letters. The thing I noticed about Rachel and Henry is that they both love to suffer. I don’t mean literally but you see them stuck in a situation they’re most likely to suffer but still makes decision that results to even longer suffering. In Henry’s case, it’s Amy. His love for her is blind that even if it hurts, he’s still chasing after her, she’s literally stepping over his dignity but he still see’s her as a saint or something. I really want to hit him in the head sometimes. And with Rachel, it’s her feelings for Henry (obviously) and the loss of her brother, Cal. Instead of facing the reality of his death, Rachel keeps putting it behind and doesn’t really open it up to everyone.
The characters go through a whole lot in this book and it’s done in such a way I haven’t read before. The development is spot on, character and plot wise. I love the originality of having the Letter Library where people can leave messages in between the pages of a book. The side story of George, Henry’s sister, exchanging letters with a certain “Pytheas” is so endearing I wish they have they’re own book. But I guess their exchange would have been enough, I mean it was enough, it made me feel genuine emotions.
In totality, this book is more than just a love story it’s about the many things that makes a love story. Friends who would do anything for you, family that may be falling apart but are always there for you. And words.
“Words matter, in fact. They’re not pointless, as you’ve suggested. If they were pointless, then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history. If they were just words, we wouldn’t write songs or listen to them. We wouldn’t beg to be read to as kids. If they were just words, then stories wouldn’t have been around since before we could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words, people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, and stop aching because of them.”

  • Diverse characters – With strong voices too! I love George, Martin, Lola, Cal… They seriously should have their own story. Although they were side characters, their
  • Quotes from the book and quotes the book quotes from other books – This story involves a lot of books, a huge part of the plot does. And it’s a total gem for book lovers! It mentions a lot of literary works and how it has been a part of someone’s life. I also liked the some quotes from the book.
“We are the books we read and the things we love.”
“The broken heart. You think you will die, but you just keep living, day after day after terrible day.”  ―Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
“The past is with me; the present is here. The future is unmapped and changeable. Ours for the imagining: spreading out before us. Sunlight filled, deep blue, and the darkness.”

Book description and cover image from Goodreads

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

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