Hi, and thanks for stopping by.
I had totally different plans for today's blog post, but last night I finished reading Cath Crowley's Words in Deep Blue and it was stunning. Finally, I got to give another 5-star review in 2018, almost three months on from the first and only other one!! This is a contemporary YA novel, set in Australia, focusing upon themes of grief, unrequited love, literature and relationships. I hope you'll buy this book, because it's really, really great.
I want to thank the super kind, generous publishers for sending me a copy of this book to read and review, via NetGalley. All opinions are, as ever, completely my own. On with the gushing review!!!
"We are the books we read and the things we love."
Firstly, this book is predominantly set in a book shop. If that doesn't make you want to read it, I don't know what kind of bookworm you consider yourself to be. It's possibly one of the best settings I've ever read, actually. There so many stories concealed there, so much history. The Letter Library was a way for us to learn about other people's relationships and stories, not just Rachel and Henry's. It's really special.
“Shitness, my sister says, has a momentum that good luck just doesn't have.”
The significance of family in this novel is really heartwarming to read. A lot of books completely skip over family relationships to purely focus on romance or friendships, but families are so integral for so many people, whether in a positive or negative sense. Henry's parents were key, especially his lovely dad, and his sister George is one of my favourite characters of 2018 so far - she's so sassy and her ongoing flirtation with Martin was just classic.
“Sometimes I just want to sit in the same place forever because I don't have the energy for another day without Cal in it.”
Grief is also a really key part of this novel - I think it was written incredibly well, with sensitivity and realism. I liked that the grief made Rachel a difficult person at times, sometimes angry, sometimes terribly sad, sometimes completely numb. It felt very real, showing all of the flaws with no romanticising. Cal just seemed like the loveliest human; in a way it's a shame we didn't get to see more of him, but he was incredibly well-written nonetheless.
“These must be the most depressing words in the history of love. I tried really hard to love you.”
Amy was a really well-written character, too, purely in terms of how clever and manipulative she was. It was SO frustrating to me that Henry loved her, because, as Rachel pointed out, she was nowhere near kind enough for him. The unrequited love actually, in all of its various instances (because there are quite a few within this novel!!) was exceptionally well done - to me, unrequited love is one of the most painful things to read about, and this was one of the novels that has done it best, in my reading experience.
"Words do matter. If they were just words, people wouldn't fall in love because of them..."
In terms of Rachel and Henry, I thought both of their perspectives were written with great, equal weighting and both characters were very believable, sympathetic and funny. They had a really great friendship and some seriously killer chemistry. They aren't necessarily one of my favourite ever YA contemporary couples, nor was their potential-romance my favourite part of this book, but I do think they're really special.
"A dry, bookless world. It's too bleak to even imagine."
Cath's gorgeous, lyrical style was a delight to read - I can't wait to read more of her writing, already!! I loved the letter excerpts, as I mentioned earlier (particularly those written between George and both recipients, actually). The sadness towards the end of the bookshop being sold was so palpable, I genuinely felt heartbroken for everybody involved; the family, the friends, the regular customers who were losing something, too.
"We lose things, but sometimes they come back. Life doesn't always happen in the order you want."
Till next time