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Words in Deep Blue
Cover of Words in Deep Blue
Words in Deep Blue
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"One of the loveliest, most exquisitely beautiful books I've read in a very long time. . . . I didn't just read the pages, I lived in them." —Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of...
"One of the loveliest, most exquisitely beautiful books I've read in a very long time. . . . I didn't just read the pages, I lived in them." —Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of...
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Description-

  • "One of the loveliest, most exquisitely beautiful books I've read in a very long time. . . . I didn't just read the pages, I lived in them." —Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places

    A beautiful love story for fans of Jandy Nelson and Nicola Yoon: two teens find their way back to each other in a bookstore full of secrets and crushes, grief and hope—and letters hidden between the pages.

    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.
    "Reading Words in Deep Blue feels a little bit like a slow dance, or falling in love, or swimming in the ocean on a rainy day. It's a stunning reminder of the power of words and books and stories that will leave your heart full and heavy and hungry for more. Cath Crowley is magic." — Krystal Sutherland, author of Our Chemical Hearts

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Rachel

    I open my eyes at midnight to the sound of the ocean and my brother's breathing. It's been ten months since Cal drowned, but the dreams still escape.

    I'm confident in the dreams, liquid with the sea. I'm breathing underwater, eyes open and unstung by salt. I see fish, a school of silver—bellied moons thrumming beneath me. Cal appears, ready to identify, but these aren't fish we know. "Mackerel," he says, his words escaping in bubbles that I can hear. But the fish aren't mackerel. Not bream, not any of the names we offer. They're pure silver. "An unidentified species," we say as we watch them fold and unfold around us. The water has the texture of sadness: salt and heat and memory.

    Cal is in the room when I wake. He's milky—skinned in the darkness, dripping of ocean. Impossible, but so real I smell salt and apple gum. So real I see the scar on his right foot—-a long—healed cut from glass on the beach. He's talking about the dream fish: pure silver, unidentified, and gone.

    The room is dark except for the moonlight. I feel through the air for the dream, but instead I touch the ears of Cal's Labrador, Woof. He follows me everywhere since the funeral, a long line of black I can't shake.

    Usually, he sleeps on the end of my bed or in the doorway of my room, but for the last two nights he's slept in front of my packed suitcases. I can't take him with me. "You're an ocean dog." I run my finger along his nose. "You'd go mad in the city."

    There's no sleeping after dreams of Cal, so I pull on clothes and climb out the window. The moon is three—quarters empty. The air is as hot as day. I mowed late yesterday, so I collect warm blades of grass on the soles of my feet as I move.

    Woof and I get to the beach quickly. There's almost nothing between our house and the water. There's the road, a small stretch of scrub, and then dunes. The night is all tangle and smell. Salt and tree; smoke from a fire far up the beach. It's all memory, too. Summer swimming and night walks, hunts for fig shells and blennies and starfish.

    Farther, toward the lighthouse, there's the spot where the beaked whale washed ashore: a giant at six meters, the right side of its face pressed against sand, its one visible eye open. There was a crowd of people around it later—-scientists and locals studying and staring. But first there was Mum and Cal and me in the early cold. I was nine years old, and with its long beak it looked to me like it was half sea creature, half bird. I wanted to study the deep water it had come from, the things it might have seen. Cal and I spent the day looking through Mum's books and on the internet. The beaked whale is considered one of the least understood creatures of the sea, I copied into my journal. They live at depths so deep that the pressure could kill.

    I don't believe in ghosts or past lives or time travel or any of the strange things that Cal liked to read about. But every time I stand on the beach, I wish us back—-to the day of the whale, to any day before Cal died. With what I know, I'd be ready. I'd save him.

    It's late, but there'll be people from school out, so I walk farther up to a quiet spot. I dig myself into the dunes, burying my legs past my hips, and stare at the water. It's shot with moon, silver leaking all over the surface.

    I've tried and tried to stop thinking about the day Cal drowned, but I can't. I hear his words. I hear his footsteps through the sand. I see him diving: a long, frail arc that disappears into sea.

    I'm not sure how...

About the Author-

  • CATH CROWLEY is an award-winning author of young adult novels, including Graffiti Moon and A Little Wanting Song. She lives, writes, and teaches creative writing in Melbourne, Australia. Visit her online at CathCrowley.com.au or find her on Twitter at @CathCrowley

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 10, 2017
    Eighteen-year-old Rachel, still traumatized by the death of her brother, wants to be far from the ocean where he drowned; she decides to move back to suburban Melbourne, where she grew up, to live with her aunt. Meanwhile, Henry, Rachel’s former best friend in Gracetown, is also confronting loss: his girlfriend just broke up with him, and his parents have decided to sell their bookstore, his place of refuge. In this novel set in Australia, mostly at the bookstore, Crowley (Graffiti Moon) effectively conveys the complexities of love, death, time through Rachel and Henry’s alternating narratives, as well as letters and notes pulled from the pages of old books. It’s only after Rachel takes a job at the store that she begins to heal, coming to terms with her failures, Cal’s death, and her rekindled love for Henry, who is wrapped up getting his girlfriend back. Filled with soul searching and philosophical quips, this book is for thinkers and lovers of literature who, like Rachel and Henry, are passionate about ideas and searching for answers. Ages 14–up. Agent: Catherine Drayton, Inkwell Management.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 15, 2017
    Rachel's best friend is the love of her life in this Australian import.By the end of high school Rachel realizes her fondness for Henry, her childhood buddy, has intensified. When she and her family moved to live on the coast, she left Henry a love note, but he didn't respond to it. After her brother, Cal, drowns, Rachel's grief is so profound that her heart goes into lockdown. Three years since she's seen Henry, Rachel returns, telling no one about Cal's death. The setting is Howling Books, owned and resided in by Henry's family. It's a neighborhood secondhand bookstore with a room called the Letter Library, where patrons underline passages and leave letters within books. By the time Rachel begins working at Howling Books she has forsaken her love of the sea, Henry has a girlfriend, and the bookstore is in peril. Shifting between Rachel's and Henry's voices with interspersed chapters of found missives, this is a story of longings hidden within the heart and revealed through the pages of books. Henry and Rachel, both white, are such honest, resonate characters that readers might want to join them for a cup of coffee, lingering over long conversations replete with silliness, accented by sadness, and blooming with ideas. This journey is original, wise, and essential, because as Henry points out, -Sometimes science isn't enough. Sometimes you need the poets.- This love story is an ode to words and life. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2017
    Gr 9 Up-An astonishingly realistic look at loss, grief, love, and the importance of words. Rachel Sweetie's world changed forever the day her little brother Cal drowned. In the eight months since, she's failed to graduate from school and alienated most of her friends. Rachel's family seems to think returning to live with her aunt in their old hometown will help. She's up for the change of scenery, if only it didn't mean seeing her ex-best friend Henry. Before moving, Rachel wrote a letter to Henry professing her love and left it in his family's bookstore, Letter Library. Customers communicate with one another by writing in and marking up a select set of books and by leaving letters in between the pages. Henry never responded. He and many of the other characters are undergoing losses of their own, in varying degrees. The secondary characters are multidimensional and well defined, and their struggles are equally touching. Readers will identify with and root for them. This poignant tale exquisitely chronicles the journey from hopelessness to learning to live again. The charismatic and well-crafted cast will immediately draw readers in. There aren't pat happy endings for anyone, and the story is better for it. VERDICT This rewarding novel packs an emotional wallop; a must-purchase.-Cindy Wall, Southington Library & Museum, CT

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews, starred review ★ "Original, wise, and essential. . . . This love story is an ode to words and life."
  • School Library Journal, starred review ★ "This poignant tale exquisitely chronicles the journey from hopelessness to learning to live again."
  • Booklist, starred review ★ "...Crowley has built a warm cast of surprising and memorable characters and placed them in universal circumstances that slowly unfold into something extraordinary."
  • Emma Mills, author of First & Then and This Adventure Ends "Words In Deep Blue is beautifully written. Laced with humor and poignancy, tragedy and joy, this story will break your heart and then piece it back together."
  • School Library Journal, starred review ★ "Give this incredible, satisfying book to fans of Sarah Dessen, Karen Foxlee, Melina Marchetta--actually, give it to any teen girl who longs a little and feels too much. . . . Unforgettable."
  • Booklist

    An ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
    "Crowley captures quiet moments with aching beauty and tenderness; her empathy for teen girls recalls Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen."

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    Random House Children's Books
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