Thoughts on : Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Posted by on September 22, 2017 1:46 am in 4.5 stars reads | 2 comments

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Genre : Contemporary YA
Stand alone

About the Book  :

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.

My Thoughts :

This book is about so many things. It’s about grief, of all kinds, and love of all kinds too; it’s a love letter to books and words; it’s about moving on, starting anew, growing up and finding who you are.

I had never read anything by Cath Crowley before and, to be honest, I wasn’t that interested in the book at first. I feel bad saying that, to me, it sounded like every other YA contemporary novel published in the past few years, and while I adore books about books and bookshops, the hook this time felt a little flimsy. What got me to give it a chance were the rave critiques I kept seing from readers I trust – and I’m so happy I gave it a chance!

Words in Deep Blue is beautifully written but not overly so. With just a few words, Cath Crowley creates complex characters that feel complete and real, whether they are front and center or barely mentioned. I loved them all : Rachel, Henry, his sister, the friends… I tend to close myself to others when I feel sad or in pain, too, so I related to Rachel the most. I’ve never seen grief written quite like this, and I particularly loved how Rachel revealed the secret of her brother’s death. It was done simply, at the turn of a paragraph, and it illustrated the unexpected nature of such news beautifully.

I also absolutely enjoyed the romance. When Rachel comes back, Henry is still pining for his ex-girlfriend after the recent breakup. Though he is glad that his friend is back, he isn’t magically cured by Rachel’s apparition. It takes a while for him to get over it, and I felt it was quite realistic. You don’t magically stop loving the people in your life when they leave, even if they’re wrong for you; I wish this aspect of relationships was explored more in YA novels.

And I can’t conclude without mentioning the bookstore and its love letters. I think it’s impossible to read this book without wishing for a similar place! I have a few bookshops I like to visit when looking for used books, but none that I know of have such a letter corner. That would be absolutely lovely 🙂


  1. I’m not familiar with Crowley but you’ve made this book sound awfully appealing.

  2. I’m really glad to hear your thoughts on the “typical” setup because I had the same before you began raving. I remember reading a book very much like this once, but it wasn’t my favorite, and hey I might as well check out one that you’re raving about and see if it warms my heart. 🙂

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