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Words in Deep Blue
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Words in Deep Blue

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  33,260 ratings  ·  5,706 reviews
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, and t
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published August 30th 2016)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,260 ratings  ·  5,706 reviews

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Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
bookstore livin’? check!
childhood romances? check!
secret notes and letters? check!
swoon-worthy crush? check!
one happy jessica? CHECK CHECK CHECK!

this is my type of book to a capital T. total perfection. i seriously cant get over how on brand this book is for me. total heart eyes emoji.

4.5 stars
Larry H
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Seriously. This book had me sobbing like I haven't since All the Bright Places or maybe even Me Before You, although there's not quite the same level of tragedy. But as I was crying so hard I wet my t-shirt (don't judge), at the same time I was thinking that I may very well become obsessed with Cath Crowley's writing after this one.

Henry and Rachel were best friends. They were utterly inseparable, and the truth is, Rachel was in love with Henry. She knew that Henry was fascinated by Amy, the pr
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
Saying I have mixed feelings on this seems like an understatement. I loved the concept, this truly is a bibliophile's paradise with all the references to other well known books and the second hand bookstore setting. It brilliant conveys the emotions of the characters however I found the characters themselves to be rather uninspired. I definitely have mixed emotions regarding the writing style. It was good in some ways but for the most part I found it scattered and confusing to follow. I feel lik ...more
Kristin (KC)
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sweet
*4 Stars!*

Who: Young adults navigating through this thing called life…
What: Love and loss. Then some more love and loss. And books!
Where: A cozy, family-owned secondhand bookshop that I desperately wanted to visit…

What more could I possibly ask for?

Great writing? Yes, of course—it has that, too!

WORDS IN DEEP BLUE has it all, and is the perfect antidote for readers craving an uplifting story about Love, Life, Loss, and Literature—but one that also packs a punch.

This author isn't afraid to showcas
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I'm so damn mad! This sounded like a book I would love. Most of my friends love it! So what happened to me????????? All it did was mostly get on my nerves even though I loved the majority of the people in the book and it was sad and there were books.

I'm at a loss people!

this was more emotion-y than bookstore-y.

3.5 stars


can't stop / won't stop reading books about bookstores

original review


Seriously. Look at it. This book, with this cover, with this plotline, in this genre? It's fantastic. It's incredible. It's a massive injustice that it took me this long to find it.

This is exactly what I needed. Mainly because it's a contemporary, and I am so incapable of reading anything that isn't a contemporary when it'
Charlotte May
“Sometimes science isn’t enough. Sometimes you need the poets.”

I loved this with my whole heart 💙

It had everything I needed for warm fuzzy feels.

1. Friends to lovers trope. Basically the only time I ever get behind a romance is with this trope. Just knowing someone so well and that leading to love. Gah! I love it so much 😭

2. Set in a bookshop. Nothing makes me happier than a book about books.

Other reason I loved this book - awesome set of characters all with their own personalities.
There a
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had all these words in my head about how I would express my feelings about this book because I’m so in love with it and now that I’ve finished reading it and I am writing this, I realise I’m at loss for words.


I’ve found my weakness: books about books.
I will find you all and read you.
Dana Ilie
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
Words In Deep Blue is a book you read on a beach. The letter library is such a wonderful idea I hope it exists somewhere so I can go to visit it, and the relationship between Rachel and Henry is beautiful, realistic and fun. Crowley manages an intimacy through her words, through the relationship between Rachel and Henry. These young characters are wise, they're well read, and they have a zest for life that makes it possible for them to surmount the loss and limitations that once held them back. ...more
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Reread on February 25, 2020

Rereading a good book is honestly the best therapy. I have been sick for already a week and I thought rereading would help me feel better a little and it certainly did. The beautiful concept of Letter Library in this book is a wonderful reminder of the miraculous power of words. I still cringe just a little bit at the mention of the notes and scribbles on the pages of the books (lol!) but it’s really one of the most original YA contemporaries I’ve read.

I love the me
Jul 12, 2022 rated it liked it
Okay sooo I am conflicted about this book.

On one hand I absolutely loved George, Cal, Rachel, Martin and the letter library. I especially loved their interactions and their storylines however the main story that is about Henry and his love for Amy while Rachel is in love with him, was not good.
Henry did not deserve Rachel in the end especially with how i love he still was with Amy and wow she is a grade a bitch.
I feel like the romance story ruined the plot for me because I was sooooo invested
Berit Talks Books
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was just simply beautiful.....

On the surface this book was about Rachel and Henry and their second chance at love, but truly it was so much more than that.... it was a book about love and life, death and grief, and the power of words... I found both Rachel and Henry extremely likable and relatable; i'd love to go to Australia and visit this book shop, especially the letter library.... if you love books and Love ❤️ this book is definitely for you! So grateful I found this little gem...

Anne Bogel
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
If you love books about books and bookstores, I've got one for you.

This book contains so many elements that appeal to both teen and adult readers: friendship, love, loss, and books I must admit it was the books that really caught my eye: the story is set in and around a family-owned bookshop called Howling Books, and its special room called the Letter Library, where patrons exchange messages in the pages of the secondhand books.

I borrowed this YA novel from my daughter's bookshelf when I was cr
Occasionally, one stumbles upon a book that just moves you in unexpected ways. Words in Deep Blue is one of those books. So what if it's labelled "young adult". If it's good, it's good.

Our protagonists are Rachel Sweetie and Henry Jones, both eighteen. They've been best friends for many years, with a three-year gap, when Rachel moved away to another town and stopped all contact with Henry.

When Rachel moves back to town, she finds things are not the same, as Henry is dumbfounded that Rachel ha
♛ may
this book is blue and beautiful and features
- grief
- many great characters to ship
- books, books, books
- tears
- letters between book pages
- cute nerdy boys who read more than you

okay im still trying to wipe my tears and emotions so RTC
Caro (Bookaria)
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, fiction, young-adult
This is the story of Rachel and Henry. They have been best friends for years and at the end of their senior year of high school they have a plan to travel the world together. All is very exciting until someone enters the picture, *cough* evil vixen *cough* and their plans crumble. At the same time, Rachel is secretly in love with Henry and leaves him a letter expressing her love before she moves away. What happens then? you have to read the book to find out.

The story is told from the alternating
I fell in love with Cath's words with Graffiti Moon and I knew I wanted to read this before I knew what it was about.

I loved Rachel and Henry. They're both going through so much and while they rate differently on the spectrum of bad, to each of them, it's catastrophic. I loved their dynamic, their banter, their desperation to help the other when they weren't doing well themselves. And of course there are a small cast of characters who are all excellent and add a layer and texture to the story.

Elyse Walters
There is so much to love about this book....
The writing is alive with authenticity, and angst. The intimacy of communication
shows how extraordinary an ordinary life is.
Beautiful...and soooo very moving!!!!

Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Words in Deep Blue is a young adult book about love and grief. It’s a story filled with loss and mourning yet also hope and love. While this is a YA book, evidenced by the age and by some of the actions of the main characters, Rachel and Henry, the writing was eloquent and the topics are relatable.

As a book lover and avid reader, I enjoyed that the story primarily centers around a bookshop, and also enjoyed the concept of the letter library. As with art or music, it’s always an interesting obse
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-4
Thank you to GR friend Jessica for recommending this one! The perfect book to read snuggled with a favorite pet and a cup of something warm to drink. This one was soooooo good. But one of those that beautifully deals with grief and loss in all of its different facets so it was a book where I was so happy for the experience of having read it, but one where I definitely needed some breaks in between because the author did such an effective job of drawing you into the pain of the characters.

Jennifer Kyle
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites


I really liked this story and I thought that the writing was just brilliant. The story's setting is a second-hand book store called Howling Books which is owned by a family whose parents are going through a divorce. Their son is Henry our hero who just graduated high school. While our heroine who had left this small town to live with her family on the beach has returned masking the hurt over best friend Henry’s obsessive love for a girl named Amy and a secret pain she has not shared wi
Hari ~Brekker-Maresh~

“I think that we look back and read the past with the present in our eyes”

Henry and Rachel have been best friends for the longest time. Thing is, Rachel loves Henry and doesn't know how to tell him. Henry is in love with another girl called Amy. Rachel KNOWS Amy isn't the right girl for Henry. Amy only comes around when she's lonely. She doesn't love Henry, not like Rachel does. But Rachel has to leave town...

The day before Rachel is set to leave, the students at school decla
nick (the infinite limits of love)
HOW? How do Aussie YA authors do this? How do they just take a seemingly straightforward premise and make it wholeheartedly their own? Seriously, I bow down to their genius. My real love affair with Aussie YA started with Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon. When I read the synopsis of Words in Deep Blue, I knew that I had to have it in my life. This book slowly crept up on me and by the end, had me bawling my eyes out.

Told in the point of views of two friends, Rachel and Henry , and set in a quaint li

“‘You said you loved me.’

‘I do love you,’
she says, and then she starts italicising love into all its depressing definitions. ‘I just don’t think I’m IN love with you. I tried, though. I tried really hard.’

These must be the most depressing words in the history of love. I tried really hard to love you. I should ask her to leave.”

That was Henry speaking to Amy. (We like Henry. We loathe Amy, just so you know, even though we’ve all probably been there.) I completely enjoyed this tale of teen angs
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely brilliant! I went into it thinking it's just an ordinary romance story but it's so. much. more. it's beautiful. message to everyone who loves books and stories as much as I do: read this please ...more
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
And now? Now is ours if we take it.

You know what a good book is? A book which has the ability to stir the same spectrum of emotions the second time around just like the first one☺️. And this book is just that. Cath Crowley is a genius. And did I mention I loved those letters?

Some quotes I missed the first time around:

Mostly people write to strangers who love the same books as them – and some stranger, somewhere, writes back.

Write me one line to let me know where you are.So that I do
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Five wonderfully romantic totally sad but fantastic stars!

I so enjoyed this lovely charming book that took on young love, old love, a secondhand bookstore and the loss of a loved one. Capturing the theme of love, loss, and words left behind through letters and notes inserted into and onto books was delightful. Sometimes it is not easy to speak to one of your feelings. How much better it is to write them down particularly on a page in a book that writes of what you feel? Have you ever underlined
Jen Ryland
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Weirdly, this is yet another book about anonymous letter writing (along with Letters to the Lost and Alex, Approximately.) That said, Cath Crowley is in a class by herself. This is an amazingly beautiful book about life and love and loss, about books and the people who love them. One of my favorites of 2017.


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The FTC would like you to know that the publisher provided me a free advance copy of this boo

How does one start living again after a loss of a loved one, a pain so deep it stops everything?

”I wonder how she could forget about it, a thing like that. And I wonder how she can go on living if she doesn’t.”

Maybe we keep on living by keeping the dead alive in the pieces and stories they leave behind in the world and in our hearts.

Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue holds and shares so many stories—from two former best friends trying to be best friends again to the life and meaning of a booksto
11 out of 5 stars! If that's even possible.

I had no plans on rereading this book, but since I already did two rereads this year and I had a blast with both of them this book came to my mind (and that happens constantly) I decided to reread this as well.

A tiny part of me was scared at first, I thought I wasn't going to love this as much as I did the first time. Fortunately, I still loved it so very much. I was truly shocked at how much I still remembered from this book and I even remembered the d
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Author of Words in Deep Blue, A Little Wanting Song (Chasing Charlie Duskin), Graffiti Moon and the Gracie series.

Take Three Girls, a collaboration with Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood, is out in September 2017.

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