Book review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

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Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (originally published in 2016, published in 2018 by Hodder Children’s books)

Rachel loved Henry; Henry loves Rachel, as a friend, ignoring the love letter Rachel left for him in the Letter Library of his parent’s bookstore, Howling Books. 

And because Henry prefers to focus on his on-again-off-again relationship with the obsession of his life, Amy. Rachel prefers to ignore all Henry’s attempts at further contact when her family relocates to live on the coast.

Rachel loved the ocean, but the ocean stole everything from Rachel - her brother Cal.Three years after seeing Henry for the last time, Rachel returns to the town she and Cal grew up in, the town Henry still lives in. Heart shut off and withdrawn into world of silence, Hannah even imposes a 'no-speaking rule’ in the car to avoid conversation, and she doesn’t mention Cal’s death to anyone.

But while the ocean can be ignored by moving inland, Henry will not be ignored, especially since Rachel had to accept a job at Howling Books. 

Her task: cataloguing the Letter Library, the section of the store where bibliophiles can scribble notes in the margins of their favourite books, underline passages, and drop letters.

Shifting between Henry and Rachel’s point of view, Words in Deep Blue grants the reader access to Rachel’s inner world as well as the turmoil taking place in Henry’s family as the decision is made to let go of the struggling bookstore, the family’s heart, soul, and home.

Words in Deep Blue is a reminder that words encompass so much more than language, that they are emotion and tragedy, beauty and creation. 

That words can be bare-bones, to-do lists and powerful memorialisations, of events of people. That words unlock worlds—real, fictional, and those hidden within us.

A stand-out YA contemporary. A love letter to words.

Purchase a copy of the book from Raru.co.za.

Read more of Meredith’s reviews on her Instagram account.

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