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Review of Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

by - March 02, 2018

Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 05/04/2018
Find The Author: Website / Twitter
Find The Book: Book Depository
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(Received from NetGalley for review)

Sometimes love is written in the margins... 

 Henry and Rachel were best friends once. Rachel had a huge crush on Henry, but that was before she moved away, before her brother Cal drowned. 

 Now, Henry works in his father's bookstore, Howling Books, with the famous "letter library", a section of the shop where customers are encouraged to circle words and leave love letters inside their favourite books. 

 When Rachel returns from by the sea, the place that took her brother, she starts working beside Henry. At the book shop, she must gain strength from the bond she shares with Henry ... and from the written word. 

 Bit by bit, Rachel realises that to build a future, she must look to the words people have left behind. This is a love story for everyone who loves books.

It's a truth universally acknowledged that if a book is about a love of books, I'm 100% more likely to enjoy it. Words In Deep Blue has two stories, and many stories in between, all bound up and told within the walls of Howling Books, Henry's second hand bookshop.The author managed to recreate the sense of walking into a familiar old bookshop perfectly and I was reluctant to leave when the last page ended.

"Words can't save people from cancer or bring people back from the dead. Novels can't either.  They don't have a practical use, that's what I meant. I loved that you read that poem to me that night, but the world remained unchanged."

There are two main stories here, one told in a dual narrative between Henry, who's just broken up with the girl he chose over Rachel for the end of the world party, and Rachel, who hasn't spoken to Henry in three years since she left him a letter confessing her love before moving town, a letter he never replied to. Now Rachel's brother is dead and she finds herself back in Howling books, working alongside the guy she believes wronged her.

There's A LOT of characters to keep up with and I'd almost forgive you for skimming the letters. However if you do this you're missing half of the story that connects to the main story and it is truly worth reading. Henry's sister George has been writing to a mysterious boy from her class for months and feels she's finally ready to meet him, but who is he?

"I pull the blanket around my shoulders, and the customer looking in the classics section gives me a sympathetic look. I give him one back because, as much as I love books, if you're in the classics section first thing in the morning, then there's something not entirely right with your life either."

What I truly loved about this book was the books. There's a trend in Young Adult books, a strange one, where every character is reading Don Quixote or has a thing for Kafka or something. Stories that a lot of YA readers simply cannot relate to. This has all the books. Kazuo Ishiguro and John Green. Virginia Woolf and Seth Grahame Smith. Authors many of us will know and love.

This is a truly magical story of grief, love, friendships and books. It's a story of growing up and learning to move on, even if it seems impossible. It's about finding love in the most unexpected of places and learning when it's time to let go of someone.

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