Words in Deep Blue. Cath Crowley. Young adult/Contemporary. 2017. 273 pages. 3 stars.
We are the books we read and the things we love.
Warning: Minor spoilers
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
The way Cath Crowley writes is hypnotic. I’ve noticed that Aussie writers have this talent!!
Words in Blue had relatable and witty characters and I looked forward to every interaction they had. Rachel’s coping and defense mechanism overlapped and we can see it when she pushed her friends, boyfriend, family, and even the ocean away.
It’s a book about books. It’s every reader’s dream to have a main character that loves books as much as we do. Another plus was that it takes place in a secondhand bookstore that Henry’s family owns! As a literature major, I enjoyed seeing authors and works I’ve tackled in class mentioned in this book. I also got super excited when one of the authors of my favorite book, Jellicoe Road, was listed!! However, it did lean on the pretentious side because most that were mentioned were classics. It wasn’t written in an elitist way, but as someone who dislikes classics (ironic, I know), it felt overdone. They write letters in the books and the chapters end by showing us a bit of them. I love letters, but there were letters that I skimmed because I wasn’t in the mood to read them. I wanted more than letters.
Another reason why I hesitate picking up contemporary books is because I set my expectations too high and get easily disappointed when it comes to contemporary romances. The first half of the book was easy for me to read and I was able to speed through it but as I approached halfway, I skimmed most parts and barely registered any of them. [START SPOILER] I couldn’t find it in me to feel pity for Henry when he was dumped by Amy because he turned into a whiney and pathetic ex who obsessed over her. I wanted to know what happened to Rachel’s letter but the need-to-know wasn’t enough to urge me to finish the novel. [END SPOILER]
There’s a certain kind of reader that this book will draw. But it definitely was not me. Don’t let my not-so-good experience discourage you! The story is interesting and their witty exchanges are to die for!