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Ratings & Reviews for

Words in Deep Blue

5 stars
12,852 (35%)
4 stars
13,702 (37%)
3 stars
7,728 (21%)
2 stars
1,741 (4%)
1 star
446 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 29 of 6,169 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
January 23, 2022
bookstore livin’? check!
childhood romances? check!
secret notes and letters? check!
swoon-worthy crush? check!
one happy jessica? CHECK CHECK CHECK!

this is my type of book to a capital T. total perfection. i seriously cant get over how on brand this book is for me. total heart eyes emoji.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,514 reviews29.5k followers
June 12, 2017

Seriously. This book had me sobbing like I haven't since All the Bright Places or maybe even Me Before You, although there's not quite the same level of tragedy. But as I was crying so hard I wet my t-shirt (don't judge), at the same time I was thinking that I may very well become obsessed with Cath Crowley's writing after this one.

Henry and Rachel were best friends. They were utterly inseparable, and the truth is, Rachel was in love with Henry. She knew that Henry was fascinated by Amy, the pretty new girl in school, but she figured she needed to tell him how she felt before she moved away. So she wrote him a letter and tucked it inside his favorite book at his family's bookshop, and she waited for him to come to her.

He never showed up, and he texted her to say he overslept the morning she was leaving. She realized that it was time to put Henry and their relationship behind her. So she left town, and didn't respond to his letters or any of his attempts at contact. She built a new life for herself, one without Henry.

Three years later, Rachel returns to her hometown. So much has changed, most notably, her brother drowned, making it impossible to be near the water, which was her most favorite place to be. She is unable to feel, unable to derive any joy out of her life, so her mother sends her to live with her aunt. And although the one thing Rachel wants to do is avoid seeing Henry altogether, it's completely unavoidable, since they'll be working together in the bookshop.

Henry, meanwhile, doesn't understand how his best friend could have forgotten him. He doesn't understand why she's so angry, so closed off, so unwilling to laugh with him or tell him anything. But Henry has his own crises to contend with—Amy has broken up with him (again), and started dating the handsome jerk from high school, and his divorcing parents are fighting over whether to sell the bookshop. He doesn't know a life that doesn't include the shop—his family lives above it, after all—but at the same time he wonders if selling might make the most sense, since he would finally have the money to treat Amy the way she wants to be treated, when she realizes it's Henry she loves.

The bookshop is known throughout Australia for its Letter Library, a collection of books in which people have left letters (or written things) for others throughout the years. Flipping the pages of any of these books provides a glimpse into the beauty and imperfections of love, infatuation, grief, anger, and joy. As Rachel works to catalog the markings inside these books, she realizes that perhaps she needs to open herself up to life a little bit again, and discovers some of her fears about her brother's short life, fears that have paralyzed her, aren't true.

As Henry and Rachel try to rebuild their friendship, they must contend with the secret she's been hiding about her brother, as well as the three-year-old elephant in the room. But Henry still can't figure out what he wants from life—romantically or from the bookshop. Both of them must take a leap when the very thought of stepping outside their comfort zone is more than they can handle.

"What's the point in living on past the moment when those we have loved have left us? And how can we ever forgive ourselves for letting them go?"

Words in Deep Blue is emotional, angsty, moving, and occasionally frustrating, but it is just so good. (I haven't even touched on the parallel storyline featuring Henry's younger sister.) Yes, I wanted to beat the crap out of Henry for most of the book, but he's a pretty authentic teenage guy, who wants what he wants regardless of how others feel. And while I get irritated when characters could move forward if only they would say what needs to be said but they don't, this, too, is more like life than fiction.

Not everyone out there is into YA, but this is a pretty terrific YA book. I love that the characters aren't refugees from a John Hughes film or a John Green book—while perhaps they're a bit more erudite than typical recent high school graduates, they're not coming up with bon mots you want to write down and try out on your friends either. (Or is that just me.) This is a book that made me feel, yes, all the feels.

Cath Crowley, can't wait for your next book. But perhaps a warning I'll need Visine next time?

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
614 reviews87.8k followers
September 8, 2017
Saying I have mixed feelings on this seems like an understatement. I loved the concept, this truly is a bibliophile's paradise with all the references to other well known books and the second hand bookstore setting. It brilliant conveys the emotions of the characters however I found the characters themselves to be rather uninspired. I definitely have mixed emotions regarding the writing style. It was good in some ways but for the most part I found it scattered and confusing to follow. I feel like the author was trying to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time which lead to that lack of clarity. That being said, I did enjoy it enough to give it a 3 stars. Side note: this cover is so aesthetically pleasing.
Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
July 1, 2018
*4 Stars!*

Who: Young adults navigating through this thing called life…
What: Love and loss. Then some more love and loss. And books!
Where: A cozy, family-owned secondhand bookshop that I desperately wanted to visit…

What more could I possibly ask for?

Great writing? Yes, of course—it has that, too!

WORDS IN DEEP BLUE has it all, and is the perfect antidote for readers craving an uplifting story about Love, Life, Loss, and Literature—but one that also packs a punch.

This author isn't afraid to showcase the power of all those “L’s” through the ups and downs of life-like characters, nor does she shy away from using humor in her delivery. Dry humor, that is, because is there anything better?

This plot isn’t filled with angst nor is it prolonged with grief, but is satisfyingly plausible and perfectly paced. It’s deep in a way that isn't dramatic—a gentle sort of depth—with messages that whisper profoundness, rather than being launched at your face.

The “romance” is light but the “love” is pronounced, and the story’s focus lies heavily on much more.

Henry and Rachel were best friends all their lives, but Rachel has always felt something more for Henry. Henry, however, is in love with Amy, and Amy is a heartless B*TCH. (In a nutshell.)

This plot pulls Henry and Rachel back together, working side by side in the bookshop, sharing letters with each other between the pages of their most beloved books, all while warming the hearts of its readers.

Life will be compared to books, and books will be compared to life, and you just may love every second of it. I know I did. Although not heavy in suspense, I found myself flipping quickly through these pages, wanting to know where the plot was heading, and truly just enjoying the touching journey along the way.

This lovely story showed up at the perfect time, and for that I’m a happy reader. Hope you’ll enjoy as much as I, and more!

"I don’t think you can date a letter like this. A love letter, by definition, should be timeless or what’s the point?”
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,538 reviews9,967 followers
September 30, 2017
I'm so damn mad! This sounded like a book I would love. Most of my friends love it! So what happened to me????????? All it did was mostly get on my nerves even though I loved the majority of the people in the book and it was sad and there were books.

I'm at a loss people!

Profile Image for emma.
1,871 reviews54.8k followers
July 2, 2019
this was more emotion-y than bookstore-y.

3.5 stars


can't stop / won't stop reading books about bookstores

original review


Seriously. Look at it. This book, with this cover, with this plotline, in this genre? It's fantastic. It's incredible. It's a massive injustice that it took me this long to find it.

This is exactly what I needed. Mainly because it's a contemporary, and I am so incapable of reading anything that isn't a contemporary when it's summertime that it's not even funny. But also because it's a fun romance with b*tchy girls (big love), and markets itself kind of as Sad And Profound but has a happy ending, so you can feel all deep even as your heart isn't smashed to bits, but most of all because THE MAIN SETTING IS A BOOKSTORE. AH! THE CHARACTERS WORK IN A BOOKSTORE, YOU GUYS. THE MAIN-BOY-CHARACTER LOVES TO READ.

It had flaws (the guy is kind of unbelievably stupid; traces of girl hate; couldn't really remember all the characters' names; this really confusing thing where the dialogue n e v e r follows the rule where a new quotation from a new person gets a separate paragraph from the dialogue from the last person; there were a few times when the book was clearly operating under the unbelievably false assumption that John Green is a good writer, rather than MY LEAST FAVORITE ONE).

But it was still pretty goddamn good.

Bottom line: I love contemporaries!!!!! Look at this cover!!!!!! Bookstores!!!!
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,119 followers
March 1, 2021
“Sometimes science isn’t enough. Sometimes you need the poets.”

I loved this with my whole heart 💙

It had everything I needed for warm fuzzy feels.

1. Friends to lovers trope. Basically the only time I ever get behind a romance is with this trope. Just knowing someone so well and that leading to love. Gah! I love it so much 😭

2. Set in a bookshop. Nothing makes me happier than a book about books.

Other reason I loved this book - awesome set of characters all with their own personalities.
There are sad parts, but out of the sad comes good and I am here for loving and supporting people through the bad and into the good 💙💙

Sorry I realise I didn’t actually give a synopsis 😂

Rachel and Henry are best friends, before she moves away she leaves a letter for Henry in his favourite book telling him that she loves him.

3 years later Rachel is moving back to town after the death of her brother and she has to see Henry again. Despite having lost contact, despite him never mentioning the letter once. She is mortified and unsure how to deal with it.

Granted there were times when I just wanted to bash characters’ head’s together and tell them to just fucking communicate. But they are humans and they are flawed. And honestly I just loved this book 💙
Profile Image for Warda.
1,210 reviews19.7k followers
August 6, 2019
I had all these words in my head about how I would express my feelings about this book because I’m so in love with it and now that I’ve finished reading it and I am writing this, I realise I’m at loss for words.


I’ve found my weakness: books about books.
I will find you all and read you.
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews351 followers
June 14, 2018
Words In Deep Blue is a book you read on a beach. The letter library is such a wonderful idea I hope it exists somewhere so I can go to visit it, and the relationship between Rachel and Henry is beautiful, realistic and fun. Crowley manages an intimacy through her words, through the relationship between Rachel and Henry. These young characters are wise, they're well read, and they have a zest for life that makes it possible for them to surmount the loss and limitations that once held them back. I couldn't put Words in Deep Blue down, partly because of the literary references (who doesn't love bookshop as backdrop?), partly because of the truthful grappling with loss, but mostly because the relationship between Rachel and Henry is one that I rooted for. Cath Crowley is a master at writing well-developed, likeable characters that have you hoping that everything will turn out all right for them and this is yet another perfect example of her brilliance as a writer.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,067 reviews1,762 followers
August 19, 2022
داستان برای من بیشتر از هر چیز، داستان «روح» بود. ارواح مختلف نادیدنی که زندگی ما (و شخصیت‌های داستان) رو احاطه کردن و بهش معنی می‌دن. این روح می‌تونه روح آدم‌های درگذشته باشه (مرگ بخش مهمی از کتابه) یا خاطراتی که به یه شیء بی معنی، مثل کتاب دست دوم، معنی و تاریخ می‌دن، یا می‌تونه کلمه‌ها باشه، قصه‌ها و شعرها و نامه‌ها.

داستان در مورد یه کتابفروشی کتاب‌های دست دومه که داره ورشکست می‌شه. کتابفروشی یه بخش داره برای کتاب‌های غیرفروشی. آدم‌ها میان می‌شینن کتاب می‌خونن و حاشیهٔ کتاب‌ها حس و نظر خودشونو یادداشت می‌کنن. نظرات نفر قبلی رو رد می‌کنن و با هم بحث می‌کنن. گاهی هم برای همدیگه پیام‌های عاشقانه می‌ذارن. شخصیت اصلی کتاب، که با روح‌های زندگی خودش درگیره، استخدام می‌شه تا تمام این پیام‌ها رو لیست کنه که بعد از تخریب کتابفروشی از دست نرن. کار براش بی معنیه. نمی‌تونه اهمیت روح رو درک کنه، و نمی‌فهمه چه اهمیتی داره ثبت کردن پیام‌های عاشقانهٔ کسانی که مدت‌هاست مرده‌ن و سال‌هاست پیام‌هاشون فراموش شده. باید اتفاقات کتاب با تمام پیچ و خم‌هاش رو از سر بگذرونه تا اهمیت روح رو درک کنه: هم با ارواح زندگی خودش کنار بیاد، و هم راه حلی برای زنده نگه داشتن روح کتابفروشی به ذهنش می‌رسه، که پایان‌بندی زیبای کتاب رو رقم می‌زنه.

کتاب بیشتر از اینه. کتاب بیشتر در مورد سوگواری و عشقه. اما خطی که غیرملموس پشت وقایع حرکت می‌کنه، نگاه کتاب به روح‌های زندگی ماست.

از کتاب
کلمه‌ها مهمن. بی‌معنی نیستن. اگه بی‌معنی بودند، نمی‌تونستند باعث شروع انقلاب‌ها بشن و تاریخ رو تغییر بدن و چیزهایی نبودن که هرشب قبل خواب بهشون فکر می‌کنی. اگه فقط کلمه بودن که فقط به آهنگ‌ها گوش نمی‌دادیم، وقتی که بچه بودیم التماس نمی‌کردیم که بتونیم بخونیم. اگه فقط کلمه بودن، معنایی نداشتن و داستان‌هایی از زمانی که انسان‌ها نمی‌تونستن بنویسن وجود نداشت. ما یاد نمی‌گرفتیم که بنویسیم. اگه فقط کلمه بودن، مردم به‌خاطر اون‌ها عاشق نمی‌شدن، احساس بد پیدا نمی‌کردن، درد نمی‌کشیدن، درد کشیدنشون از بین نمی‌رفت. بیشتر وقت‌ها وارد رابطه نمی‌شدن.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,050 followers
March 13, 2020
Reread on February 25, 2020

Rereading a good book is honestly the best therapy. I have been sick for already a week and I thought rereading would help me feel better a little and it certainly did. The beautiful concept of Letter Library in this book is a wonderful reminder of the miraculous power of words. I still cringe just a little bit at the mention of the notes and scribbles on the pages of the books (lol!) but it’s really one of the most original YA contemporaries I’ve read.

I love the message of love being the biggest reason a person could move past the stage of grief. I love that Words in Deep Blue is a collection of several stories besides those of the main characters but also of those letter writers in the different books. I love that with just a few lines scribbled at the corners of a book, a great love story is already told. Such is the magic of words really and the author is able to brilliantly capture that in this book.

The romance between Rachel and Henry is kind of cliche-ish, sometimes deserving of an eye-roll but it was still really cute. Good their love story turned out as I hoped for and I am thankful for the other love stories which are equally important. A great choice of book to reread.

***Original review posted on April 2017 ***

“If they were just words then people wouldn’t fall in love because of them…”

A beautifully written YA contemporary story about grief and love, death and life and most of all, about the magical power of words to people. Every element fits the overall theme and I love that most of the story is set at a local secondhand bookstore somewhere in Australia. I could practically imagine myself inside Howling Books enjoying every section of the store especially the Letter Library area where people are allowed to write on the books they love or insert anonymous letters to anonymous people and just let the power of words affect people in the best ways possible.

The characters are so easy to relate with and I truly enjoyed the alternating POVs between Rachel and Henry. I also love all the other characters who have become a sort of a family because of the bookstore. I appreciate how the romance is interspersed in the plot and I like that even though this is basically a romance novel, it doesn’t overwhelm the entire plot. It’s a truly heartwarming, adorable read that showcases the ability of the author to write one novel with layers upon layers of stories, themes and ideas. I’m definitely reading other books written by the author.
Profile Image for Maditales.
581 reviews23.8k followers
July 12, 2022
Okay sooo I am conflicted about this book.

On one hand I absolutely loved George, Cal, Rachel, Martin and the letter library. I especially loved their interactions and their storylines however the main story that is about Henry and his love for Amy while Rachel is in love with him, was not good.
Henry did not deserve Rachel in the end especially with how i love he still was with Amy and wow she is a grade a bitch.
I feel like the romance story ruined the plot for me because I was sooooo invested in Rachel and her recovery as well as with all the letters but Henry's pov threw me off every time cause it was just all Amy Amy Amy.

The book did make me cry though but that wasn't because of the main plot but because of the dun dun dun: side story line that should have been the main one
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,024 reviews15.7k followers
October 27, 2017
This book was just simply beautiful.....

On the surface this book was about Rachel and Henry and their second chance at love, but truly it was so much more than that.... it was a book about love and life, death and grief, and the power of words... I found both Rachel and Henry extremely likable and relatable; i'd love to go to Australia and visit this book shop, especially the letter library.... if you love books and Love ❤️ this book is definitely for you! So grateful I found this little gem...

narration:Hamlisch R. Johnson and Chelsea Burland both did an amazing job, I am a huge fan when there are multiple narrators voicing the multiple points of view and bonus they have Australian accents!💛
Profile Image for Anne Bogel.
Author 6 books59.9k followers
February 25, 2021
If you love books about books and bookstores, I've got one for you.

This book contains so many elements that appeal to both teen and adult readers: friendship, love, loss, and books I must admit it was the books that really caught my eye: the story is set in and around a family-owned bookshop called Howling Books, and its special room called the Letter Library, where patrons exchange messages in the pages of the secondhand books.

I borrowed this YA novel from my daughter's bookshelf when I was craving a sweet, fast-reading story. I'm so glad I did!
Profile Image for Bianca.
1,084 reviews925 followers
December 24, 2017
Occasionally, one stumbles upon a book that just moves you in unexpected ways. Words in Deep Blue is one of those books. So what if it's labelled "young adult". If it's good, it's good.

Our protagonists are Rachel Sweetie and Henry Jones, both eighteen. They've been best friends for many years, with a three-year gap, when Rachel moved away to another town and stopped all contact with Henry.

When Rachel moves back to town, she finds things are not the same, as Henry is dumbfounded that Rachel hadn't missed him. Or had she?

Rachel starts working in Henry's parents' second-hand shop, cataloguing their books. Howling Books is a very special place, where many beautiful memories have been made. Where books are special. People leave messages and underline special passages in books. All those special books are held in the Letter Library; those books are not for sale. Of course, books are the centre of this novel. As a book lover, I am somewhat an easy prey when it comes to books about books, although, I've read plenty of novels about books that didn't quite do it for me. This one had references from contemporary and more classic novels and poetry and a few other genres. I never got the feeling that Crawley was just name dropping for the sake of ... whatever.

Of course, this novel is about more than just books. It's also about loss, grief, and love. It's also about finding your crowd, who accept you for who you are, even if you are a "freak". The books are the conduit when it comes to confessing love, learning about love, and moving on with life despite grieving the loss of a loved one and the loss of places and objects.

Crowley is a terrific writer, who managed to engage and transport me from the very first page.
Honestly, I loved everything about this novel. The writing is superb, all the characters, including the secondary ones, are well developed and real. Despite having shed some tears (shhh, don't tell anyone), this was uplifting, calming, and optimistic.

Ah, another thing I should mention, this novel has a great filmic (is that a word?) quality about it. I could easily see the scenes as I was reading. I hope somebody grabs the rights for its adaptation and makes it into a movie. Who doesn't love coming-of-age movies?

Of course, now I'm keen to read more of Cath Crowley's novels. Because this was just special!

I've received this novel via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publishers, Macmillan Australia, for the opportunity to read and review this novel.

Cover: 5 stars
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,840 followers
November 30, 2017
this book is blue and beautiful and features
- grief
- many great characters to ship
- books, books, books
- tears
- letters between book pages
- cute nerdy boys who read more than you

okay im still trying to wipe my tears and emotions so RTC
Profile Image for Caro (Bookaria).
617 reviews20.5k followers
July 28, 2017
This is the story of Rachel and Henry. They have been best friends for years and at the end of their senior year of high school they have a plan to travel the world together. All is very exciting until someone enters the picture, *cough* evil vixen *cough* and their plans crumble. At the same time, Rachel is secretly in love with Henry and leaves him a letter expressing her love before she moves away. What happens then? you have to read the book to find out.

The story is told from the alternating points of view of Rachel and Henry. They both love reading and books are discussed throughout the novel. Some of the titles mentioned are Cloud Atlas, Fahrenheit 451, The Metamorphosis, The Fault in our Stars, and Waiting for Alaska, among others. Henry's parents own an used-books bookstore called Howling Books and in this place there is the Letter Library where people leave letters and secrets and it's just wonderful.

Rachel's brother, Cal, has recently passed away so the novel is also an exploration of grief, family relationships, and friendship. I was not 100% convinced by the ending so that was the only issue I had with the book.

Overall I liked the book and recommend it to all who love novels that take place around books, bookstores and book lovers.

Review posted on blog

FINAL NOTE: Check out the entire book cover below, it's beautiful

Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,285 reviews299 followers
April 20, 2020
Translation widget on The blog!!!
O poveste în care cărțile joaca un rol important. Unde emoțiile si durerea sunt cele care împresoară cititorul. O poveste despre însemnătatea cuvintelor, despre durabilitatea lor. O poveste despre suferința, durere, prietenie și iubire.
Recenzia mea completă o găsiți aici:
Profile Image for ~Ryhnn~.
80 reviews16 followers
March 2, 2023
"کتاب‌های دست‌دوم روح دارن و روح‌‌شون لابه‌لای صفحات اونهاست."
راستش قبل‌ترها فکر می‌کردم که کتاب‌ها قسمتی از خاطرات ما رو تشکیل می‌دن ولی جدیدا به این نتیجه رسیدم که این ما هستیم که قسمتی از خاطرات یک کتاب رو تشکیل می‌دیم.
در رابطه با این کتاب هم باید بگم که در اعماق قلبم جا گرفت. در نتیجه بعید می‌دونم که بتونم راجع بهش صحبت کنم(:
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,741 reviews711 followers
May 8, 2017
I fell in love with Cath's words with Graffiti Moon and I knew I wanted to read this before I knew what it was about.

I loved Rachel and Henry. They're both going through so much and while they rate differently on the spectrum of bad, to each of them, it's catastrophic. I loved their dynamic, their banter, their desperation to help the other when they weren't doing well themselves. And of course there are a small cast of characters who are all excellent and add a layer and texture to the story.

The plot is engaging, but it's the prose that did it for me. The topic of books and words and the passion the characters feel for them, it was electric. I was absolutely captivated and as always, I want to roll around in Cath's words.

Overall, this felt like a love letter. It was hopeful and heartbreaking and at times the grief was palpable. I was shaking my first to the sky in one page and hugging my arc in the other.

I will forever read this book.

**Huge thanks to Knopf and NetGalley for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Brandice.
914 reviews
June 22, 2018
Words in Deep Blue is a young adult book about love and grief. It’s a story filled with loss and mourning yet also hope and love. While this is a YA book, evidenced by the age and by some of the actions of the main characters, Rachel and Henry, the writing was eloquent and the topics are relatable.

As a book lover and avid reader, I enjoyed that the story primarily centers around a bookshop, and also enjoyed the concept of the letter library. As with art or music, it’s always an interesting observation to see which books and stories people are drawn to, and why [Thanks, Goodreads ;)].

“Words matter, in fact. They’re not pointless, as you’ve suggested. If they were pointless, then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history. If they were just words, we wouldn’t write songs or listen to them. We wouldn’t beg to be read to as kids. If they were just words, then stories wouldn’t have been around since before we could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words, people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, and stop aching because of them. If they were just words, then Frederick would not search desperately for the Derek Walcott.”

I wouldn’t call Words in Deep Blue a favorite book, although I would recommend it - It packs a powerful message and the level of emotion in this relatively short book was impressive. I thought it was worth reading and it gave me a few things to think about.

”But I do believe we have choices—how we love and how much, what we read, where we travel. How we live after the person we love has died or left us. Whether or not we decide to take the risk and live again.
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,416 reviews4,660 followers
November 13, 2021


I really liked this story and I thought that the writing was just brilliant. The story's setting is a second-hand book store called Howling Books which is owned by a family whose parents are going through a divorce. Their son is Henry our hero who just graduated high school. While our heroine who had left this small town to live with her family on the beach has returned masking the hurt over best friend Henry’s obsessive love for a girl named Amy and a secret pain she has not shared with anyone yet.

Henry’s love for Amy is a bit exhausting however it’s well written and very trying on Rachel and a reader.


The store and its uniqueness are completely stellar. I’m positive the majority of friends will love it.

”It’s a library of people, really…”


The story was worth the read and the writing was truly memorable.

”I believe in a lot of things that you don’t – you know I’m superstitious. But I don’t believe that the future gives us signs. I think we look back and read the past with the present in our eyes.”
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 9 books408 followers
October 20, 2022
Thank you to GR friend Jessica for recommending this one! The perfect book to read snuggled with a favorite pet and a cup of something warm to drink. This one was soooooo good. But one of those that beautifully deals with grief and loss in all of its different facets so it was a book where I was so happy for the experience of having read it, but one where I definitely needed some breaks in between because the author did such an effective job of drawing you into the pain of the characters.

Rachel has just lost her brother Cal in a drowning accident. She’s failing in school, her mother is unable to move forward, and she’s been shipped off to live with her aunt. Long ago, she had an unrequited crush on Henry.

Henry works at a used bookstore, with a lovely tradition of a library where people leave notes to each other in the pages of beloved books. Some of the messages in those pages become poignant and more meaningful as we come to understand them later on. Henry has broken up with Amy, another thread of “loss” and while he desperately wants her back, she’s letting him go. He’s devastated. Henry’s sister has her own plot line as well. The way all of these threads work together, exploring grief, loss, healing and life through letters left in the lending library and through the love of books is so intricately woven, told through exquisite, beautiful language, and a masterful work. This is not a long novel, and I love the way the author did not waste a single word.
Profile Image for Kimia in Wonderland .
65 reviews40 followers
August 2, 2023
اگه من از جمله افرادی بودم که جملات قشنگ و دلنشین کتاب‌هاشون رو هایلایت میکنن، این کتاب پر از این هایلایت‌ها میشد.

کتاب‌های متعددی در مورد کتابفروشی‌/کتابخونه‌ و یا عزیزان از دست رفته خونده‌ام، اما این یکی جزو معدود کتاب‌هایی بود که با وجود اینکه چیز خاصی نداشت، انقدر ملموس و باورپذیر بود.
خیلی خوش‌خوانه و حسی که موقع خوندنش بهم داد و این قضیه که آخر داستان همهههه چیز به خوبی و خوشی تموم نشد رو دوست داشتم.😌
Profile Image for Parvaneh.
24 reviews9 followers
March 27, 2023
بعد مدتها کتابی خوندم که احساساتم را قلقلک داد،یه غم خاصی تو داستان این کتاب هست که خیلی دوست داشتنیه،این کتاب در واقع به من یادآوری کرد احساس غم هم مثل حس شادی دوست داشتنیه و نوع دوست داشتن غم فرق میکنه،چقدر خوب میشد اگر منم همچین کتاب فروشی تو زندگی واقعیم داشتم ،به همه پیشنهاد میکنم این کتاب را بخونن
Profile Image for Hari ~Brekker-Maresh~.
296 reviews262 followers
August 8, 2017

“I think that we look back and read the past with the present in our eyes”

Henry and Rachel have been best friends for the longest time. Thing is, Rachel loves Henry and doesn't know how to tell him. Henry is in love with another girl called Amy. Rachel KNOWS Amy isn't the right girl for Henry. Amy only comes around when she's lonely. She doesn't love Henry, not like Rachel does. But Rachel has to leave town...

The day before Rachel is set to leave, the students at school declare it to be "the last day of the world". Rachel and Henry decide to spend it together.

But that biatch Amy comes and steals him away.

Rachel and her best friend Lola get on a sort of sugar high that "last day" and Rachel decides to leave Henry a letter declaring her love. She puts it in a book that she knows he'll open, the same page of his favorite poem.

I love that you read. I love that you love second-hand books.

Henry and his family own a second-hand bookstore. Business may be slow, but Henry loves it.

The speciality of their bookstore is that a set of books have been sectioned off and named "The Letter Library". Basically, anyone can take their favorite book off the shelf and make comments in the margins, underline their favorite quotes, whatever. People have actual full conversations in the margins of books. Other people use the books to leave letters to their secret admirers.

The Letter Library is a section of books that aren’t for sale. Customers can read the books, but they can’t take them home. The idea is that they can circle loved words or sentences on the pages. They can write notes in the margins. They can leave letters for people who’ve read and been there before them.

Rachel uses this idea and leaves the letter in a book by his bed.

Then she waits all night for a call. Nothing.

She leaves the next day without saying goodbye. She waits three years for him to mention the letter. Nothing. Nada.

I wonder if the future sends us hints to get us ready, so that the grief doesn’t kill us when it comes.

But a lot has changed in three years.

Rachel's brother dies, drowns in the ocean, their favorite place...

The universe is all existing matter and space, ten billion light-years in diameter, consisting of galaxies and the solar system, stars and the planets. All of which simply do not have the capacity to cheat a person of anything.

Rachel can't take it, can't bring herself to care. She even fails Year 12.

But after Year 12, she decides to change her scene. She goes back to town, and stays with her aunt. Her aunt even gets her a job at Henry's bookstore.

Rachel isn't thrilled. She had a boyfriend back home, named Joel, who she loved, and later pushed away after her brother died. But she decides to take up the job, if not for Henry, then his mother.

And of course, Henry is still in love with Amy.
The same Amy who keeps coming back only when she's lonely, who's always been a little bit in love with Greg. The same Amy who dumped his ass. Multiple times. Even though they officially started dating within the last year.

(Can't help but love Henry cuz he loves books by amazing authors, but also cuz he makes comments like: “I explain the plan to her, which is basically to wait, horizontally, for life to improve.”)

And the story just takes off from there :)

So, I know, what you're thinking: This has been said and done so many times. How is this any different?

Cath Crowley makes it different!!

I had to stalk her for a second until I remembered why her name sounded so familiar. She wrote this book back in 2010 called Graffiti Moon but I read it in 2014 and I. Just. Loved. It.

It was one of THOSE books though... The story/plot was probably 4 star but the language. AGH. So beautiful!!! She can make you cry and smile and think all in a fraction of a second. Just one thought about the writing convinced me to give it 5 stars.

But this book isn't like that. It's through and through 5 stars, like 7 years just made Cath Crowley a better writer.

The concepts and ideas and thoughts... Omg... It just makes me look at life with a competent different angle and it just LOVE books like that.

My favorite convo:

“Do we have a set amount of seconds to live when we’re born or an unknowable number?"
"An unknowable number," Henry says.
"How do you know?"
"I don’t. I believe." He rolls over and looks at me. "I believe I am adding up to something”

It's a nice way to think of it.

“He’s picking up parts of the world and showing them to me, saying, See? It’s beautiful.”

Kinda badly want someone like that?

Another important part of this book are all the book references. Especially since HENRY. LOVES. BOOK.

Because I love books down to the full stops. I love them in a way that’s beyond logic and reason.

That. Is definitely going on my bio.

Ohhhhhh and the side characters are so amazingly a part of the story and agh I'm crying all over again. I'm literally torn up and in a million pieces right now CUZ THAT SIDE STORY.

Also, you get to read some notes and letters the The Letter Library, so that's fun!!

Definitely read this book!! I don't think it'll disappoint!!!
Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,488 reviews843 followers
October 14, 2019

“‘You said you loved me.’

‘I do love you,’
she says, and then she starts italicising love into all its depressing definitions. ‘I just don’t think I’m IN love with you. I tried, though. I tried really hard.’

These must be the most depressing words in the history of love. I tried really hard to love you. I should ask her to leave.”

That was Henry speaking to Amy. (We like Henry. We loathe Amy, just so you know, even though we’ve all probably been there.) I completely enjoyed this tale of teen angst with some interesting bookish characters who have various issues (don’t we all?) and who have known each other since their early school years.

But this is not just about the kids. It’s also about several related and unrelated adults. PLUS, it’s a book about books, a weakness of mine. Henry’s family owns Howling Books, a second-hand bookshop with a difference. It is also the second home (the first in many ways for a few) for some lost souls who congregate in the reading garden or leave messages in the Letter Library, which are shared with us.

“The Letter Library is a section of books that aren’t for sale. Customers can read the books, but they can’t take them home. The idea is that they can circle loved words or sentences on the pages. They can write notes on the margins. They can leave letters for people who’ve read and been there before them.”

Henry and his family love the Letter Library, but they may have to put it up for sale. Amy doesn’t see the point of a bookshop when the land is worth so much. She’s after a high-achieving lawyer-type (we REALLY don’t like Amy), but then along comes Rachel. . . again.

She and Henry and Amy went to school together. So did Henry’s sister (George) and Rachel’s brother (Cal, for whom she’s grieving), and also some other friends who feature here. Rachel and Cal were as besotted with books as Henry’s family.

She has returned to her hometown after several years away, now trying to escape her grief over her brother but unwilling to tell anyone what’s happened. Henry and Rachel were best friends since they were little, until she moved away and gradually stopped writing to him. (We know why, but he’s befuddled.)

“She sent me one-paragraph letters back, and then the letters turned into one-paragraph emails, and then she added me to group emails, and then she stopped writing altogether.”

He stresses about that, but then when Amy dumps him, as she does periodically (you won’t like Amy either, trust me), and a friend asks how he feels, Henry says

“‘Like I’ve just had every single one of my organs harvested while I’m still alive.’

‘Good to know you’re not overreacting. ’”

Amy, takes up with a handsome bully, but she’s determined to keep teasing Henry away from Rachel, and does a pretty good job of it. He’s only a kid, and Rachel IS being difficult!

There’s plenty of philosophising, which I often don’t enjoy but I did in this book. A few examples:

“Sh*tness, my sister says, has a momentum that good luck just doesn’t have.”

[Remisicent of Mark Twain's: "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."]

In discussing time loops and whether there are signs from the future we're missing now:

“But I don’t believe that the future gives us signs. I think that we look back and read the past with the present in our eyes.”

About the Letter Library:

“. . . the transmigration of memory that happens all the time—saving people the only way we can—holding the dead here with their stories, with their marks on the page, with their histories.”

And for all writers and readers:

“. . . words do matter. They’re not pointless. If they were pointless then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history and they wouldn’t be the things that you think about every night before you go to sleep. If they were just words we wouldn’t listen to songs, we wouldn’t beg to be read to when we’re kids.”

I loved it. It is repetitive here and there, but I loved it anyway. It revolves around one of those little community hubs that we don’t want to lose. My quotes are from a NetGalley review copy, so they might have changed in the final publication.

P.S. From the author’s blog:

“The wonderful Pan Macmillan has created a Virtual Letter Library, [] inspired by Words in Deep Blue.

I’d love it if people submitted to the library. All the instructions are on the site. You can post quotes from Words in Deep Blue, letters you might write to strangers, notes you would scrawl in margins on the books that you love.

I’ll be a regular poster. I hope to see you there.
Cath x
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,365 followers
September 28, 2016
HOW? How do Aussie YA authors do this? How do they just take a seemingly straightforward premise and make it wholeheartedly their own? Seriously, I bow down to their genius. My real love affair with Aussie YA started with Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon. When I read the synopsis of Words in Deep Blue, I knew that I had to have it in my life. This book slowly crept up on me and by the end, had me bawling my eyes out.

Told in the point of views of two friends, Rachel and Henry , and set in a quaint little second-hand bookstore, Words in Deep Blue was a book bursting with heart and emotions. Rachel’s voice nearly destroyed me with how poignant and emotional it was. It was full of grief as a result of having lost her younger brother, Cal, to a drowning and she was dealing with a lot of pain. It’s always a little hard for me to read books about grief and loss, but Cath Crowley knew how to write those themes in a way that touched me and made me feel. Rachel’s incredible journey to learning to live with her loss wasn’t an easy one for her, but she grew to become accepting of her new reality. Henry, on the other hand, I had conflicted feelings about. He was bullheaded in his staunch belief that his selfish ex-girlfriend, Amy, was the only girl for him. Frustrating as that was for readers, it was easy to see where he was coming from, being that he was a hopelessly romantic teen boy and all. Despite his flaws, he had some really great qualities: his loyalty to his family, his protectiveness when it came to his friends and his willingness to provide a shoulder to Rachel to lean on when she needed one. He was an all-around sweet guy, and a perfect fit for Rachel. Their romance was one that slowly evolved from a friendship. They had a one-sided romance before Rachel left town, and while it takes Henry quite some time to realize just how wonderfully perfect she was for him, the friendship the two shared made it all worth the wait.

Words in Deep Blue was much much more than just Rachel and Henry’s stories of self-discovery. They may be the narrators, but the secondary cast was just as invigorating. Family and friendship intersect in this story and it’s amazing to watch unfold. From George, Henry’s quirky and outspoken sister, who is ready to find love in her life to Henry’s father, whose love for his little bookstore made my heart ache to Cal, Rachel’s dead brother whose goofiness and love for the ocean made me cry. It’s truly an extraordinary feat when an author is able to make the secondary characters’ stories shine just as bright as the main characters’ – all the stories that I fell in love with here were full of heartbreak and hope. One reason I was more than eager to pick up Words in Deep Blue was the secondhand bookstore setting that Henry’s family owns. The bookshop in itself was a character with how vibrantly it was described as well as the stories that the books held and I’m not just talking about the books’ stories themselves. At Howling Books, people leave each other letters between the pages of the books and man, those letters just made my heart soar and completely swept me away.

Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue is what dreams are made of. It’s one of those gem of a book that I know that I will repeatedly read passages and I know that every time I do so it will cause a tiny pang in my heart. It’s beautiful and evocative and romantic and passionate and poignant and unforgettable. I am so grateful that Cath Crowley has graced the literature community with this book. It’s a story that will stay with me forever.
Profile Image for Ishmeen.
383 reviews154 followers
July 11, 2020
This book was absolutely brilliant! I went into it thinking it's just an ordinary romance story but it's so. much. more. it's beautiful. message to everyone who loves books and stories as much as I do: read this please
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