Tea & Book Chat: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Personal Thoughts:  Thank you so much to Random House for providing me with a copy of Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley in exchange for an honest review.  Cath Crowley is an Australian author who has been on my radar for some time but until Words in Deep Blue, I hadn’t experienced how amazing her writing is firsthand!  First of all, I was completely sold on this book based on the cover alone (look at all those beautiful, beautiful books! *heart eyes*).  Then when I read the plot and found out that the story is set in an old bookshop, and it has an epistolary element to it, I knew I would instantly fall in love.

Plot Summary:  Words in Deep Blue follows two teenagers, Rachel, a girl who’s been harboring a crush on her best friend, Henry, and she finally gets the courage to pour her heart out to him in a love letter left in his favorite book the day before she moves away.  Henry on the other hand, spent Rachel’s last night in town with Amy, the girl he’s been lusting after and ever since, their friendship has fallen apart.  When Rachel returns to town, a shell of her old self after the passing of her brother, her aunt gets her a job in Henry’s family’s bookshop and she’s forced to confront the things she’s been unable to face since she left.

Critique:  Words in Deep Blue is an absolute must-read for book lovers of all ages.  It’s written more in the vein of literary fiction rather than that of your typical contemporary YA novel.  Henry and Rachel are both very mature for their age and their deepest conversations, written via letters left in books, explore the topics of love, loss, grief and the meaning of life (and they’re not the only characters to communicate through books!).  Reading about Henry and Rachel reconnecting and rebuilding their trust in one another, Henry in Rachel after she started ignoring his letters during her time away, and Rachel in Henry after him ignoring the most important letter she ever wrote, is heartwarming.  If you’re an avid reader, you’re sure to appreciate the references to other books and you’ll also be wishing you were part of Henry’s family who eats dinner together every Friday at Shanghai Dumplings and discusses the books they’ve read throughout the week.  It was so nice to read about people who’s lives are as dependent upon reading as mine has always been.  I particularly loved Henry’s younger sister George who is an outsider at her school.  George is strong-minded and unafraid to voice her opinions.  She’s the victim of bullying but she’d rather spend her time with books and her family anyway.  There were times when I was reading when I wanted to shake Henry and tell him to wake up and see things clearly, but I appreciated the realistic portrayal of his relationship with the awful Amy who is not even close to good enough for him.  I can already tell that this is a story that will stick with me in the long run and I definitely plan on revisiting it in the future.

Do I Recommend?:  I definitely do.  Words in Deep Blue is beautifully written, the story is compelling and the characters are true to life.  I love all of the different emotions I felt while reading and I especially love the inclusion of the bookstore, the stories and the letters.

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Kristin