“We are the books we read and the things we love.”
Rachel and Henry were best friends, however everything changed when Rachel moved away to a new home by the sea. Three years later she is back and working at Henry’s family’s bookstore, Howling Books, a comforting place filled with secondhand books where visitors leave notes and letters to strangers and loved ones. Rachel is grieving a terrible loss and Henry is struggling with his plans and desires for the future. It is against the backdrop of Howling Books that they embark on figuring out themselves and what they mean to each other.
“… 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.”
Words in Deep Blue is a lovely YA book that explores love, grief, the pain of loss, and the beauty of words. The writing is wonderful, and the author relates each feeling and experience in a relatable way that evokes emotion and understanding. Certain aspects of the story can be a little frustrating, particularly when it comes to the character of Henry, however there is a feeling of realness to all of it that reads like real life behaviour. My favourite aspect of the novel was the Letter Library section of the bookshop that contains books in which people have left notes and letters. Such a beautiful idea and used effectively throughout. A heartwarming and touching novel.