My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

ARC Review: Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Please Note:  I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from Penguin Random House's First In Line program in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinion of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

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.

One of the happy daydreams I have is winning the lottery and having a bookshop of my very own.  It would have a combination of new and used books, and be a place where people could sit for hours, reading and having daydreams of their own.  There would be comfy couches and reading nooks, and people would gather there to talk about books.

Words In Deep Blue, by Cath Crowley, has just such a bookshop in the story.   I love novels about people with a deep love of reading and this book was filled with characters talking about books.  It was beautifully written, and now my head is filled with books I need to find, read, and treasure.

What I Liked:
The story takes place in small town in Australia.  It's the kind of town where main character Henry is sure to see all the teens he just graduated with.  He is happiest at his family's second-hand bookshop, Howling Books.  This is the kind of bookshop where people sit and read (or sleep), and stay to play scrabble, or meet with their book club.  There is even a special library where favorite books are kept and people can write in the margins, underline their favorite passages, and leave notes for others.  Many of the characters in this books communicate with each other in this charming way.

I also liked the descriptions of the club scene where the teens hang out.  I was a little confused, at first, that everyone was getting into clubs and drinking when they had only just graduated from high school.  But the drinking age in Australia must be eighteen (not twenty-one as it is in the U.S.).  But I can see that after school is over, going to clubs is one of the only ways to see one's friends.

Rachel and Henry were best friends until she moved away three years ago.  I love how well read all the characters are (believable, considering Henry's family), and how they talk with each other through books and poetry.  

I also like Henry's father and mother.  They are divorced and I thought were presented in a very realistic manner.  Sometimes they could get along with each other, but sometimes they fought, too.  I appreciate that they aren't missing in action.  While they are not the main focus of the book, they are present enough to remind you that Henry's family is important to him.

I also liked that Henry has other good female friends other than Rachel.  Sometimes I get a little tired of the "best friends who actually are in love with each other" trope.  But having Henry have other close female friends helps make the situation more plausible.  

Each secondary character is fully developed with issues of their own.  This helps create that wonderful small town feeling that is present in this book.

In the introduction to this advanced reader's copy, the editor says the reader will want to underline words and highlight sections.  I really did find myself doing just that.  There were also several books mentioned in the story that I now must read!  The meanings in books, and what books mean to us, are vital aspects of this novel.

Letters between characters:
One of lovely parts of the book is how many of the characters interact with each other through writing letters and leaving them to be found in books.  This was so wonderful that I want to start leaving letters to my husband and see how long it takes him to find them!  This is such a smart way to show another aspect of the characters.  By showing how they write, it gives us a deeper glimpse into each personality.

What I Was Mixed About:
As I said, there are so many YA books where two characters are best friends but secretly love each other, that when I first saw this, I was weary.  I was also skeptical about one of the characters having a dead sibling.  But as the book progressed, I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh the author made these situations.  Each of these devices serves a purpose in this book.





Release Date:  June 6th, 2017

Genre:  YA fiction

Source:  Penguin Random House's First In Line Program

Format:  Paperback book

Recommendation:  With the adorable bookshop, well-developed secondary characters, and deftly crafted story, this book will make you want find a quiet corner to write a love letter and hide it in your favorite novel.

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1 comment :

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this! I've been looking forward to reading it - I'm in the mood for a cute bookshop read.


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