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The House in the Cerulean Sea

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  378,260 ratings  ·  65,493 reviews
Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He's tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world.

Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light.

Hardcover, 396 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by Tor Books (first published March 16th 2020)
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David I would really say that it depends on the 9 year old. I read "Carrie" when I was 9. My mother knew that I could handle it. The parts that I didn't und…moreI would really say that it depends on the 9 year old. I read "Carrie" when I was 9. My mother knew that I could handle it. The parts that I didn't understand caused me to ask questions.

There is a blossuming gay relationship in this book. If your 9 year old is aware of such things, then the book is fine. If he's not, it might be an opportunity to teach. But the relationship is described with a great deal of care, and there is nothing sexual depicted. I'm sure some children would read it as the two simply being close friends.(less)
Emily Van Coolput For heaven's sake, if you enjoy the book, read the book.
The main parallel is the "framework", in that a lot of the kids in the orphanages have been ri…more
For heaven's sake, if you enjoy the book, read the book.
The main parallel is the "framework", in that a lot of the kids in the orphanages have been ripped away from their families to be placed under (often less-than-adequate) government care. If you stop to think about it it's not a pleasant thought, but the premises of children's books – which is essentially what this is – are often not pleasant.
You could compare it to Roald Dahl, who's taken a lot of terrible, traumatic situations (living in extreme poverty in Charlie and the chocolate factory, neglectful/abusive parents in Mathilda, mistreated orphan in The BFG, tragic death of parents in The Witches…) and made them all better because suddenly something magical and wonderful happened.
I'm a bit old for it myself, but I think a lot of people need this kind of Disney-style optimism in the face of grueling adversity and I see no reason why they should be shamed for enjoying it, or a writer for providing it.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.44  · 
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 ·  378,260 ratings  ·  65,493 reviews

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chai ♡
I think these days more than ever, with a pandemic ravaging every corner of the world, I understand more keenly how absolutely necessary it is to find the escape hatch in reality, to seek out a pleasant corner and while away the hours inside a story. And there is no better one I can think of than this one.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is a nonstop pleasure. It flooded every corner of my mind with delight and warmth and made me feel reassured and nourished in channels of my heart which had stood
May 31, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.

I'll be honest, I read it, and I loved it, writing was great and everything. Then months after reading it I discovered that his book was inspired by Canada's Sixties Scoop.

"It remained fuzzy until I stumbled across the Sixties Scoop, something I’d never heard of before, something I’d never been taught in school (I’m American, by the way). In Canada, beginning in the 1950s and continuing through the 1980s, indigenous children were taken from their homes and families a
Nilufer Ozmekik
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down. This is one of the best things I’ve read this year! I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!

I fell for the world building, creative-crazy-unique ideas, character development! This is not only a regular YA fantasy novel. This book is about acceptance, caring, opening your heart and soul! As a summary: this book is about unconditional love and respecting differences of others.

It’s a sweet, smart, entertaining and also heartwarming story hooks you from the first chapter, makes you giggle, smile, si
Rick Riordan
An orphanage for magical children. An impossible romance between two gentle, caring men who live worlds apart. A shadowy bureaucracy that wants to keep magical children "safe" and away from the eyes of the general public. The power of found family and kindness against prejudice and fear.

Mix these elements, bake until sweet golden brown, take out of the oven and enjoy fresh and hot with your best friends . . . That is the taste of T. J. Klune's The House in the Cerulean Sea. Our hero Linus Baker
Mar 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Please excuse me while I dry my tears and wipe that big goofy smile off my face. What an absolutely wondrous story The House in the Cerulean Sea turned out to be!

Linus is a buttoned-up, live-by-the-rules, no-fun employee who works for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. When he gets his latest secret assignment from Extremely Upper Management to visit an orphanage on a remote island, he doesn't know what to expect. But soon his assignment turns into the adventure of a lifetime, one that w
Sep 22, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: mine
Updated 12/29/20

The House in the Cerulean Sea is now out in paperback! Return to the island where everything is happy, and you'll only be threatened a little bit by a gnome with a shovel and the Antichrist. Now available wherever books are sold. (Buy link below, or support your local indie store!)



At last, at long last, my first book with Tor has released!

The House in the Cerulean Sea is a love letter to those who should be allowed to feel sm
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
I really enjoyed this! It was filled with charming characters, children and adults alike, so much whimsy, a hint of romance, and was just an overall sweet read. However, I can't help but wonder how I would have felt about it had I not seen so much hype surrounding it. I think I would have liked it a bit more because while I enjoyed it a lot, my expectations were too high going in. That being said, I think that it was a very unique and fantastic read. Kind of like Miss Peregrine's but for adults ...more
ELLIAS (elliasreads)

S O B B I N G .

This shit hit different and I too, want to live in the House in the Cerulean Sea.

Reading Vlog : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5h-ln...
Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube |
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
So... this was unexpected.

I'm not sure if it's 2020 or the Holidays getting to me but this was very wholesome!

This definitely felt a bit like a children's book but the characters were attaching and I definitely laughed/smiled a few times while listening to this audiobook.
mina reads™️
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: found-family
This book made me cry over a button so clearly it’s a five star read 🥺
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
omfg this was so cute I am DYING
Nov 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
i have actively avoided this book. even with all the hype its gotten over the past year and half, the story just didnt interest me in the slightest. but then i read TJKs ‘under the whispering door’ and it broke me. so here i am. hoping to have a similar experience.

and i did. gosh, there are so many little nuggets of wisdom and truth embedded in this. there are also moments of pure happiness and love. like this adorable gem:
‘youre too precious to put into words. i think… its like one of theod
Retrowave - Disappointed but not surprised | Retrowave Text Generator | Memes quotes, Stupid memes, Reactions meme

I'm shaking my head and locking the gates.

Here I was thinking this book was just a wholesome story about kindness and acceptance.


TW for this review: rape, residential schools, ethnic cleansing, trauma

Edit: Apparently people are misunderstanding my review. The problem with this book isn't that it's based on historical events. Pretty much every fantasy book is. The problem is that it romanticizes and glorifies residential schools. If some author took
Maybe I'm just a cold person but to me this book felt over the top with saccharine sweetness, went into overkill with the morality lessons, and the odd humor fell flat. I honestly almost gave up on this book at the 75% mark but at that point I figured I might as well just finish it out.

The book starts off just with a weird humorous tone - the heads of the corporation that the main character Linus works for is referred to only as "Extremely Upper Management". I'm not making that up. So from that
after i'd already picked this up and read most of it, i learned through good samaritans in my comments that this was to some degree inspired by the Sixties Scoop.

i won't tell you how you should feel about this, but i think that taking the unbearable trauma (a trauma that included not just the murder of a culture but also murder in a quite literal sense) of real-world Native children and turning that into a happy-go-lucky tale of how Hate Is Bad but the fantastical equivalent of those disgusting
Reading_ Tamishly
This is one goddamn fairytale. An original one. Which won't be retold in such perfection. I can see authors trying to tell their versions of this fairytale in 2050. Even then, they will find this hidden in the internet archives that once a reviewer gramma wrote this and they would be low-key panicking whenever there's the feeling of thinking of rewriting this precious goddamn fairytale 😎

There's this stepmother (mean, biased fairytale writers! Why only stepmothers are grouchy bad eh??!)...well, I
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
Enjoyed meeting all the magical characters. The children were totally charming, and the adult characters were equally delightful. Beautifully written and full of humor and whimsy with a touch of romance. This was a heartwarming story of a middle-aged man finding what truly matters in life.
We should always make time for the things we like. If we don't, we might forget how to be happy.

So adorable.
Maggie Stiefvater
this book is for people whose hearts are not crusted with barnacles

(my heart is crusted with barnacles)
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
An extraordinary treat for both T.J. Klune fans and those new to his writing, The House in the Cerulean Sea is a heart-warming, wholesome, diverse, ridiculous, and completely lovable fantasy story.

As a long-time T.J. Klune fan, as I'm sure many of you are, I know you are asking yourself what this book will be like now that T.J. Klune is publishing with the big boys. I'm very happy to report that the book read just like I was expecting it to, which means tight writing, romance (!), queer charact
If you were to ask me how I’m feeling today, I’ll tell you I’m feeling pretty fuckin’ perfect.

This book was unbelievably hyped. There are some hyped books you get, and an instinctual feeling sets in and you know that it’s deserved. Not just deserved: there’s something about it that sets it apart from others.

I knew my soul needed this book. And it’s not that themes discussed were anything new. Or all happy for that matter. But they made for great reminders and they made you feel content.
The au
Feb 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
The exercise of an “honest review” is an interesting one. Generally on goodreads I write frank reviews to vent or to remind myself of my thoughts for later. I tend to pick my reading for recreational purposes. That meshes well when I get a netgalley book to review which I would normally read anyway.

This book I asked for on the off chance that I’d like it, as some Klunes are desert island reads for me. Having quickly ascertained that this book was awful, I had to think a bit about what to do. If
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, m-m, cozy
this book is instant serotonin
It is a perfect magical escapist story filled with whimsy and enchantment. If you want a book that will make you happy from the first page to the last, look no further!
Lisa of Troy
Apr 03, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Calliope was my favorite!

For the past 17 years, Linus Baker has been living a quiet life as a caseworker. He visits orphanages that are homes for children who are magical creatures. However, Linus is assigned to a top-secret mission: to inspect an orphanage for five very special magical creatures and their leader, Arthur. What will Linus discover?

First of all, the cover to this book is simply phenomenal! I have heard many people describe this book as a hug. And I did find it enjoyable and adorab
This book as a major disappointment for me. Some spoilers to follow.

While there was a bundle of good messages at its core (don't be ashamed of who you are, don't judge others by outward appearance, change can happen) the story itself struck me as aggressively shallow. What I mean by this was that for all the neat or quirky ideas in the book there was little to no exploration of them.

For instance we learn that gnomes exist but have been greatly reduced in numbers (indigenous people parallel perha
Melissa ~ Bantering Books
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews.

“His thoughts were all cerulean.”

Mine, too. My thoughts are all cerulean, now that I have read TJ Klune’s wonderful novel, The House in the Cerulean Sea. And never have they been tinted such a brilliant, exquisite shade of blue.

Linus Baker lives routinely by the rules. He is a dedicated caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth; he knows every word of its RULES AND REGULATIONS by heart. At the end of each workday
Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books.

A delightfully pleasant cozy fantasy book that will leave you smiling from beginning to end.

This book was not written for someone like me. I like huge, epic fantasy - and the darker and bloodier the most I will usually like it. So read a "cute", low stakes fantasy is just so contrary to what my tastes are.

But I actually had a good time reading this, and it actually served as a good palate clea
truly perfection. this will 100% make my best of 2020 list come december. my heart is so very full.

Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch

Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤
edit: 5/31/21:

I'm just going to leave this quote here that TJ Klune said in this podcast.

“The House in the Cerulean Sea” is a, it’s a bit of a quirky fantasy, but it deals with some very real, topical, specific issues. It actually started from a Wikipedia article because I have a tendency to get lost in Wikipedia for a long time and that’s a problem. But I will be in one article and I’ll click on another one, then another one, and then another one until I’m completely off what I was t
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is a birthday cake of a book. Perhaps a birthday cake dressed up in scary themes, but ultimately, a heart-warming, delicious concoction of a story that just skirts being teeth-tinglingly sweet.


Thankfully, the children in the story are monsters enough to cut the sugar with a little milk.

I enjoyed Cerulean Sea, especially once our milquetoast hero, Linus, makes his way to the orphanage and meets the very special children The Department In Charge of Magical Youth wants examined. Until then, t
☆ Todd
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

This little gem completely snuck up on me, but I totally fell in love with both the story and every single one of the characters -- especially the six supernatural kids.

For the first ten percent (ish) of the book, we were introduced to Linus, who led a boring existence, simply going thru the motions, with no real life or friends to speak of.

These parts had a teeny tiny bit of humor, but honestly, if I hadn't already known that Klune wrote it, there wasn't anything to really indicate that fact fo
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TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it's important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories. ...more

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“We should always make time for the things we like. If we don't, we might forget how to be happy.” 768 likes
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