Hey virtually readers! I’m so sorry I didn’t post until now this week, although here we are and it’s okay. I was away from internet but I didn’t know it was going to happen so I didn’t schedule anything whoops.
Title: Words in Deep Blue
Author: Cath Crowley
Genre: Australian YA contemporary
Themes: Grief, friendship, falling in love, growing up, Bookshops are super cool and all bookworm readers agree
My blurb: Rachel’s moved back to the city, trying to escape the grief of her brother’s death. Henry, her former best friend, doesn’t know what happened to them… or why Rachel’s pushing him away. When Rachel gets a job at Henry’s family bookshop, they get the chance to rebuild their friendship… and maybe something more.
I heard a really good review from Marie about this, as well as being recommended this by some of my other friends, which is why I picked it up. Sometimes I think I’m over dual-perspective books. Then ones like this change my mind. I really liked both Rachel and Henry’s voices, plus letters written by various characters or strangers in between each chapter. (the idea is that the bookshop, Howling Books, has a letter library where you can leave notes or annotations in books for other people (one person or just anyone) to see. I really want one of these in my life because it’s such a cool idea). Anyway, I didn’t feel like the plot was repeated or there were gaps in the story, as sometimes happens with multiple perspectives. It meshed really well.
The plot was predictable in some ways, but because I usually enjoy the ‘best friends to lovers’ trope, I was okay with it. Really, what stood out was the writing—it was lyrical and poetic, yet captured a reality of teenagedom that some YA books don’t get. I also liked that it was set after high school, with main characters my age. I’m already growing out of a lot of books with 15 year old characters, and I suspect this trend will continue. This book suited me—how the characters thought and acted felt more familiar.
There were two small things that I didn’t like. Firstly, I think it’s a bit clichéd to set a book in a bookshop? I did get a few book reccomendations (although I’ve already read Cloud Atlas go me), but I also felt like it was designed specifically to appeal to booklovers (which I guess most of this book’s readers are? Anyway. ). I guess real life doesn’t have quite as much bookishness as Words in Deep Blue. Secondly, the diversity felt quite forced. Neither of the main characters were clearly from diverse groups, although Rachel had depression I suspect. But the side characters that were diverse (a lesbian friend and a boy who had two mothers) just didn’t really work for me?? It’s probably just my imagination but I just didn’t like it.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I definitely explored grief and belonging and friendship and was really well written.
How do you feel about books about grief? What about ones in bookshops? Do you like meta books? What have you been reading recently?