All Booked Up: Words in Deep Blue

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All Booked Up: Words in Deep Blue

Lauren Toneatto ’21, Social Media Editor

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Just when I finally think I’ve exhausted the genre of “YA Romance,” another novel with best friends falling in love, the death of a family member and an abundance of other clichés, reels me right back into reading. 

This week’s prime contender is Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. I picked up Crowley’s novel on a whim and in a rush before heading back to campus following winter break. That being said, my main reason I picked up this book in the first place was solely based on its cover (I know, I’ve broken the number one reading rule, sue me). 

Crowley’s novel was pleasantly surprising to read. That statement follows my intense eye roll after reading the novel’s second sentence, “It’s been ten months since Cal drowned, but the dreams still escape.” 

Believe me, I’m all for cringey romantic comedies and novels, but Crowley really started off swinging with the overused teenage tropes (I judged a book by it’s cover, maybe this is my own personal punishment). Nevertheless, I read past line two and really enjoyed my experience.

Considering the first page reveals the death of protagonist Rachel’s younger brother, you can’t blame me for spoiling a main plot point. After Cal’s unexpected death and flunking Year 12 (oh yea, the book takes place in Australia, that was a nice surprise I haven’t encountered before), Rachel decides to move back to her childhood hometown which she left three years prior. There, Rachel cannot escape her previous crush, Henry, and his family’s infamous bookshop. 

I don’t have a specific reason for liking Words in Deep Blue. Frankly, there are several reasons this book is lackluster. Rachel is not a particularly pleasant protagonist. Granted she’s dealing with grief, but as Henry describes, she is a completely different person when she returns to the city, complete with a new bleached hair-do and a mean streak. Luckily the chapters are split in narration between Rachel and Henry with various love letters scattered in between, alluding to Howling Books famous “Letters Library,” a prominent plot point in the novel. This is a relief because Henry is a much more enjoyable narrator. Though his hopelessly romantic demeanor can be rather annoying when it equates to chasing after his ex-girlfriend, Henry is quirky and an unexpected light compared to Rachel’s newfound darkness. 

Words in Deep Blue took me a few days to get into but afterwards I couldn’t wait to continue reading. It doesn’t have the most monumental plot, but honestly when I am reading for pleasure I’m all for a little fluff. Overall, I would recommend Crowley’s novel. In the spirit of the story itself, I think the best way to obtain this book is through a friend lending it to you. 

It’s not a novel that warrants seeking it out specifically in a bookstore, but if your friend were to pass it on to you, certainly give it a read. If nothing else, the book’s cover is aesthetically pleasing, and what more could you possibly ask for?