Words in Deep Blue

Words in Deep Blue

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Teenagers Rachel and Henry find their way back to each other while working in an old bookstore full of secrets and crushes, love letters and memories, grief and hope.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, [2017]
Edition: First American edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781101937648
Characteristics: 269 pages ;,22 cm.


From the critics

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Oct 22, 2020

Publishers Weekly
Eighteen-year-old Rachel, still traumatized by the death of her brother, wants to be far from the ocean where he drowned; she decides to move back to suburban Melbourne, where she grew up, to live with her aunt. Meanwhile, Henry, Rachel's former best friend in Gracetown, is also confronting loss: his girlfriend just broke up with him, and his parents have decided to sell their bookstore, his place of refuge. In this novel set in Australia, mostly at the bookstore, Crowley (Graffiti Moon) effectively conveys the complexities of love, death, time through Rachel and Henry's alternating narratives, as well as letters and notes pulled from the pages of old books. It's only after Rachel takes a job at the store that she begins to heal, coming to terms with her failures, Cal's death, and her rekindled love for Henry, who is wrapped up getting his girlfriend back. Filled with soul searching and philosophical quips, this book is for thinkers and lovers of literature who, like Rachel and Henry, are passionate about ideas and searching for answers.

Apr 15, 2020

This was splendid and quick read about grief, childhood crushes, and secret notes in books. I loved the idea of the letter library and how it allowed two people communicate. I loved the characters in the book! They were relatable in what they went through and how they handled things. This is a great read for anyone who loves books and great story.

Aug 28, 2019

Usually when I read books, I mainly read them for school purposes. However, I was at the Santa Teresa Branch Library and saw this book, picked it up and began reading it. As I read the brief description and a few of the first couple pages, I was hooked and checked it out to finish reading it at home. I don't read books often but with this book, I really loved how the characters are relatable and it's very interesting to read in both the main characters' point-of-views. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it actually made me look into more books to read, especially ones like this! ^_^

May 18, 2019

I had first read this book up to chapter 5 in Middle School. Unfortunately I didn’t get to finish due to being on poor terms with that teacher in specific who owned it.
Just after reading those few chapters, the book was on my mind for months. I couldn’t stop thinking of it until I had actually completed it.

Cal, Rachel, Henry, they were all connected in heart tugging ways. The entirety of this book felt blue, and I honestly can’t think of any other way to describe it. Throughout it’s entirety it felt like everything was being seen through a blue tint, the library, the beach, the sea, the concert. Everything felt like something was being held back to the other characters.
I’ll be honest, I mostly read it because I just adored the concept of the book shop in this. The idea of having books to share notes and thoughts with other people. It all felt utterly bittersweet. The thought of all the emotions that were intertwined within it. I suppose the story was supposed to emphasize that. With the minor character of the man searching for his late wife’s book, having a beautiful view on the idea of second hand books.

I suppose I was ultimately disappointed though. The end of the book didn’t feel like an end, the characters eventually slipped away to words. The start of the book seemed perfect, yet as it went on and on it just slowly all came apart. I couldn’t find any interest towards it any longer. I loved the characters, but eventually I just lost all connection. I won’t be forgetting this story any time soon though!

Feb 25, 2019

This book was so heartfelt and heartbreaking. The main characters were lovable, quirky and relatable. My only complaint was that the author referenced A LOT of books and other authors throughout the novel and, at times, it just felt a little bit pretentious.

RDPL_Teens Oct 10, 2018

I really enjoyed this YA (bordering on New Adult) book set in Australia largely in a used bookshop complete with a 'Letter Library' where people can leave notes to one another in the books. It's a coming-of-age tale dealing with unrequited Love, as well as grief and friendship, and the fact that it incorporates lots of books into the story is great too.

Sep 15, 2018

Very sweet, very compassionate.

Jul 31, 2018

This was a great book that addressed many issues facing today's teens. Some of the main issues were family relationships, death of a sibling, teen relationships (who is right for someone and who is not), teen bullying, teens being stuck on themselves, etc. I really enjoyed reading the book (read in less than 24 hours) and getting to know the characters. I loved Rachel and Henry, their relationship as friends, how they support each other and told each other how it was to a point. I cannot believe how much Rachel held in emotionally and how she held herself together. Henry is a typical teenage boy thinking about girls and the future. I fell in love with the bookshop and the letter library. It would be amazing to be able to read letters that have been left in books. George held a front that finally cracked toward the end. What they did with the books from the letter library was just great. It would have been fun to find one of those books in a bookshop somewhere. A couple of my favorite quotes: "We are the books we read and the things we love" and “The past is with me; the present is here. The future is unmapped and changeable. Ours for the imagining: spreading out before us. Sunlight filled, deep blue, and the darkness.”

May 30, 2018

I absolutely loved this book. The storytelling was fantastic, I loved the way Cath Crowley intertwined snippets of messages, poems and books. Furthermore, I found the plot quite refreshing. I’ve never read anything with a plot quite like this book. “Words in Deep Blue” is not solely a romance novel; it also sheds light on what it’s like to lose a loved one. The real emotions of pain and grief remind us that sometimes life can take an unexpected turn. I highly recommend this book to anyone lookings for an expressive, meaningful read. As for age suitability I would recommend ages 14+ as there is mature language in this novel. Rating: 4.5/5
- @goldendog of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

This book stars Rachel and Henry who used to be extremely close childhood friends before Rachel moves away. Before she leaves, she slips a love letter in Henry’s favourite book in his parents’ book shop expressing her feelings for her best friend. However, he never responds which leaves Rachel heartbroken for three years before she returns to live in the same town as Henry once again. This time, she’s a changed woman struggling to cope with the grief that followed after her brother passing away. The two friends reconcile and manage to repair their broken relationship while helping each other deal with new problems that occured after Rachel leaving. This novel was extremely heartwarming and an amazing book about books and book lovers. Having the main characters love reading helps readers relate and connect to them on a personal level. The characters felt authentic and just like natural teenagers which again helped readers relate. Although the male protagonist was frustrating throughout the novel, everything is resolved in a satisfactory manner that left me in tears. Rating: 5/5. @Iron_Rose of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

JCLMeganK Jan 24, 2018

This is a beautiful novel about overcoming tragedy, accepting change, and the power of words. The author is Australian, so when they talk about summer, the pages are dated in what we in the United States know as winter. She also uses some Australian vocabulary, which was fun to see. I really enjoyed this novel, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys the classic YA novel that deals with overcoming obstacles, but is also looking for something a bit deeper.

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Age Suitability

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Apr 15, 2020

elisabeth_23 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

May 18, 2019

HelenaBeat thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

secretswimmer Apr 21, 2019

secretswimmer thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

RDPL_Teens Oct 10, 2018

RDPL_Teens thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Quote
Apr 15, 2020

“The past is with me; the present is here. The future is unmapped and changeable. Ours for the imagining: spreading out before us. Sunlight filled, deep blue, and the darkness.”

Apr 15, 2020

"We are the books we read and the things we love."


Add a Summary
Apr 15, 2020

This is the story of Henry and Rachel. They were best friends once before Rachel moved near the sea. A few years later, Rachel moves back to her old hometown grieving the loss of her brother. She begins to work at Howling Books, the bookstore owned by Henry's family. She is looking for the future as she records people's letters.


Add Notices
RDPL_Teens Oct 10, 2018

Coarse Language: Not used extraneously, but there is some language younger readers should be mindful of.

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