Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
“Cath Crowley is one of my favourite YA authors of all time. I fell in love with Lucy, Shadow and Poet in Graffiti Moon and couldn’t wait to explore a new world with her book, Words in Deep Blue. Henry and Rachel felt so so real, I could almost hear their hearts’ beat.”
I was introduced to Cath Crowley in a young adult writing workshop a few years ago. We’d been instructed to read Graffiti Moon before our first session. I gave up my Saturday to read it, but it was definitely no chore. I fell in love with the way Crowley crafts her characters and then I subsequently devoured everything she’d written previously – The Grace Faltrain series and Chasing Charlie Duskin.
Impatient to the point of Google-stalking Crowley on Twitter, I anxiously awaited a new novel. It was worth the wait. Once again Crowley creates a world where her characters feel so alive.
It’s about a teenager called Rachel who used to have a crush on Henry. The day before she moves away from their home town, she tucks a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waits. But Henry never comes.
When Rachel returns to the city—and to the bookshop—she ends up working alongside Henry—the boy she’s written off as a ‘no go zone’. Rachel is not in a good place. Her brother drowned a few months ago, and she’s having a tough time. Surrounded by books, Henry and Rachel watch how other people’s love stories unfold, and eventually discover one of their own.
I laughed, I cried, I punched the air in anger and exhilaration. This story plonks you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and doesn’t stop until your knuckles are white and your face has morphed into a huge smile. The love story had me on the edge of a bus seat, a train seat and even a toilet seat; because I couldn’t put Crowley’s new YA masterpiece down. I read it in a day, finishing with tear-stained cheeks and droopy eyelids at 2am, the rain splattering against my bedroom window in Bristol, UK. Strangely soothing.
This is one of the best books about loss, grief and the power of love I’ve read in in a long time. Every teenager should read Words in Deep Blue. Every writer of YA should too (in my humble opinion, of course). So much showing and absolutely no telling.
Cath Crowley is the author of The Gracie Faltrain trilogy, Chasing Charlie Duskin, and Graffiti Moon. In 2011, Graffiti Moon won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, the Ethel Turner Award for Young People’s Literature, and was named an honour book in the Children’s Book Council, Book of the Year. Cath writes and teaches in Melbourne, Australia.