ARC Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley is exceptional! Check out my 5 star review below and I would like to thank Knopf Books for Young Readers for the advance reader copy provided through Netgalley, and for the opportunity to read and review in exchange for my honest unbiased review. Words in Deep Blue releases on June 6th, 2017.
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publication: June 6th 2017; Knopf Books for Young Readers
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.
A million stars!
Second chance romance? Check.
Best friends to lovers? Check.
Angst? Check. And double check!
The summary captured my interest right away. I was hoping I’d love the book as much as I expected to. And thankfully, it exceeded my expectations.
I have been obsessed with these “dealing with loss” stories for the last couple years. So the idea of someone hiding a family death from everyone in her past really intrigued me. Tack on the fact that Rachel was in love with her best friend and it was unrequited—well, that was just an absolute bonus.
From the get-go I knew this book was going to be spectacular. But I do admit both characters pissed me off a few times. Rachel, because she was keeping her brother’s death a secret. And it felt out of spite for what Henry had done in the past. And Henry, his ridiculous whiny obsession with his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Amy. Neither could get it together, even though it was obvious to everyone around them that they had feelings for each other. I wanted to punch Henry several times as he wondered how to get Amy back. Even going so far as to give up his passion to be who she wanted him to be when he should love someone who loves him as is.
Words in Deep Blue is more than this, though. Rachel’s grief is real. Consuming. She’s drowning (figuratively) and needs to find a way to keep living. It really seemed like she never would. And Henry has his own grieving taking place. His girlfriend dumped him for a douche. His parents are debating selling the family bookshop. Everything is falling apart. So, when these two reconnect after three years apart, you can’t help but hope sparks fly.
But they don’t.
Rachel is stubborn. And she thinks he never answered her letter. (What actually happened is clear to the outsider.) Henry wonders why she stopped writing him. It takes a long time for the air to clear, but I promise, the ride is worth it.
What I really loved about this book is the addition of letters and notes included. Not just from Rachel and Henry, but from other characters you’ll recognize as the story goes on. Including Henry’s sister, George (my absolute FAVORITE character!) and a secret admirer. That identity is also obvious to the reader, but witnessing the progression of their relationship is so much fun! And, ultimately, sad.
This is a romance novel, but it also deals with other issues such as grief and staying true to yourself. You’ll be angry on occasion. You’ll laugh. Some may even cry. But I really can’t complain about anything here. It’s told in alternating points of view, so you get both sides of the story and there’s no guessing involved. I’d say this is as close to perfection as a book can get.