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Words in Deep Blue

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  15,793 ratings  ·  3,152 reviews
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 leav
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published August 30th 2016)
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,793 ratings  ·  3,152 reviews

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C.G. Drews
READ 2 | Dec 2018

Rereading books is like coming back to old friends...and if it's been long enough, you don't remember that these olD FRIENDS MADE YOU CRY. Seriously this book both hit me harder emotionally this time (for losing things you love) but also made me ever so much more frustrated (specifically, Henry for being so self-obsessed). So it was a mixed-reunion? But still, I am a frazzled mess rn, thank you so much for that, book.

We are the books we read and the things we love.


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 (HaileyinBookland)
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) - Traveling Sister
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!

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
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
The letters left in books as a way of communication were absolutely wonderful. The inclusion of book culture itself caught my interest very fast. Books about books rarely disappoint me.

But the romance did. Rachel loves Henry, her best friend, but Henry loves Amy. Rachel leaves. Three years later, after her brother’s death, she comes back and is forced to face Henry again. What if she falls for him once more? Meanwhile, Amy breaks up with Henry, but Henry wants her back desperately.

Henry is ver
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Neil (or bleed)
“If they were just words then people wouldn’t fall in love because of them…”

A beautifully written YA contemporary story about grief and love, death and life and most of all, about the magical power of words to people. Every element fits the overall theme and I love that most of the story is set at a local secondhand bookstore somewhere in Australia. I could practically imagine myself inside Howling Books enjoying every section of the store especially the Letter Library area where people are

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's summertime that it's not even funny. But also because it's a fun romance with b*tchy girls (big love), and markets itself kind of as Sad An
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...

Jun 29, 2017 marked it as on-hold-or-dnf
Dear gorgeous cover and an interesting premise,
Be good to me, please.

Desperate reader in a slump-ish
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
Carol (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
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’s Henry’s obsessive love for a girl name Amy and a secret pain she has not shared wi
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
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
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
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
Joshee Kun (조수아)
Henry, if the love of your life is kissing a moron, it's probably time to reassess whether or not she's the love of your life. —Rachel

As someone who devours literature on a daily basis, I always enjoy reading books that feature similarly bookish people. My reading experience becomes more meaningful and memorable whenever I am able to fully connect with characters, as fictional as they are.

Following this train of thought, Words in Deep Blue is a perfect summer read for us lovers of the written w
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
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens, book-lovers, people who've lost someone
Recommended to PattyMacDotComma by: Bianca

“’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

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
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-contemporary

I enjoyed this book! My favorite aspect of the entire book was the bookstore, Howling Books and more specifically their Letter Library.
In the letter library you cannot buy any of these books. You are more than welcome to read them, peruse them and even write in them and also write letters to other people.
I just loved reading all of the lettters people wrote to each other and left in certain books and the letters between our two main characters, Henry and Rachel.
Of course this letter librar
This was on okay read though I expected to enjoy it a lot more.

To me, the hero was sweet but at the same time incredibly whiny and spends more than half of the book pining for another girl (who is a TERRIBLE person.) This book was more centered on grief, loss, and how to deal with losing someone and less about romance, which is what I wanted and was expecting and wished the author focused more on. This story seemed to be targeted for younger readers and just not something I connected entirely w
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m in love. With this book, with the characters, with the writing, with everything. As a reader, this was a book that literally warmed my soul and heart. It’s a story about love, loss, friendship, family and, most importantly, books. It’s essentially a love letter to books and I think I’ve been waiting to read it my entire life. I’m so happy I found it.

From Goodreads:

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 sto
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it

This book has a really cool concept and I enjoyed the storyline a good deal. However, I had a few problems with the characters and the pacing. It felt really slow at times and I was not really connected to any of the characters. I mostly wanted to slap Henry half of the time.

Now that being said, the concept of this book is brilliant. It's very bookish and quirky and I adored the whole book vibe throughout... I just don't believe I'm going to remember these characters for any long period of
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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.

“We are the books we read and the things we love.” 154 likes
“But I love you, and before you say it words do matter. They're not pointless. If they were pointless then they couldn't start revolutions and they wouldn't change history and they wouldn't be the things that you think about every night before you go to sleep. If they were just words we wouldn't listen to songs, we wouldn't beg to be read to when we're kids. If they were just words, then they'd have no meaning and stories wouldn't have been around since before humans could write. We wouldn't have learned to write. If they were just words then people wouldn't fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, stop aching because of them, have sex, quite a lot of the time, because of them.” 86 likes
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