by Cath Crowley
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Aus Lit
Release date: August 30th, 2016
| Goodreads |
Sometimes you need the poets.
This is a love story.
It's the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It's the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she's back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.
Fact 1: Cath Crowley makes simple sentences so poignant and beautiful it hurts.
Fact 2: I basically cried reading from halfway through until the end, no joke.
Fam, you should know that a couple of nights ago I have been brutally murdered by a book. I am writing this to you from my grave.
I'm tempted to end this review right here because yes, that's basically it. That's what I felt by the time I reached the end of the book--like being stabbed repeatedly. Now I don't have the firsthand experience of being stabbed repeatedly (and hopefully never will) but I reckon it might be somewhat similar. So painful.
I love it.
I love it.
I am jumping-on-the-couch loving it so hard oh my
if I were a more eloquent writer I could probably have found better, more fulfilling words to describe how I truly feel about this book beyond I love it, because right now they are not enough.
Where do I start?
Or better yet--how do I make this coherent?
Let's start with the characters.
Let's start with Rachel Sweetie, whose grief was so heavy in the first few chapters it hit me straight in the gut and made me put the book down for a moment to catch my breath. Rachel, who lost herself after her brother died, failed Year 12 when she was a straight A student and could have passed it in her sleep, and found herself heading back to the town she grew up in. Back to her old best friend Henry who she used to be in love with, and whom she hasn't spoken to in three years.
Ha, where do I start with Henry?
He was so charming but he is, to quote my friend, so painfully dense. At the beginning of this book, he was in love with another girl who didn't give a shit about him, and it was so frustrating to see him pining over this girl when Rachel was right there.
Oh yeah, a little heads up: if you're a person who can't stand love triangles, then this book might not be for you since the triangle thing was a huge part of the book. But I still suggest that you give it a chance anyway because everything else was just A+ and you'll be missing out if you pass this up.
You can't patch up someone forgetting about you. For the rest of your life you'll always be worrying that they'll forget about you the same way they did before. You'll always know that they'd be a hundred percent fine without you but you wouldn't be a hundred percent fine without them.
I'm a character person; I will most probably still enjoy a book with a shitty plot if it has great characters. And I adore the characters in this book. I love Rachel and Henry with all my heart, their newly-reconnected friendship, the way that they understand and love each other. I love Henry's family; his parents--his dad, especially, is the awesomest, his sister George who is so sarcastic and full of wit, the crew in Howling Books: Martin, Frederik and Frieda, Rachel and Henry's other best friend Lola, Rachel's aunt Rose,
and Cal Sweetie, who felt so alive to me in this book I can't believe he's actually dead.
Oh my god, Howling Books, let's talk about that.
Henry's family owns a bookstore that sells secondhand books, and there is a section in the store called the Letter Library that has books you can write in or circle words or leave letters between the pages of the books for strangers. I love the whole concept of it; I wish Howling Books existed near me so I can spend my time in there. I love that books played an integral role in this story. I live for all the book mentions (I got really giddy when Kirsty Eagar's Summer Skin was mentioned; I've read this book!); I'm going to highlight everything on my second round soon so that I can check them out.
Sometimes science isn't enough. Sometimes you need the poets.
Overall, this is one incoherent gush-filled review wow. It's worth repeating that I love the role of books and poetry in this and the relationships that are formed over the love of literature. I love how the POV change is so seamless, and that the chapter starts with little sentence previews; I started playing a game of Hunt That Sentence as I read.
Words in Deep Blue is hands down one of my favourite books of 2016. My only regret is that it is not widely accessible (it's only released in Australia currently, with a slated 2017 US release) because I just want more people to read it, and read it now.