December 9, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley | SLJ Review

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redstarCROWLEY, Cath. Words in Deep Blue. 288p. Knopf. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101937648.

STAR-YA-Crowley-WordsinDeepBlueGr 9 Up –An astonishingly realistic look at loss, grief, love, and the importance of words. Rachel Sweetie’s world changed forever the day her little brother Cal drowned. In the eight months since, she’s failed to graduate from school and alienated most of her friends. Rachel’s family seems to think returning to live with her aunt in their old hometown will help. She’s up for the change of scenery, if only it didn’t mean seeing her ex–best friend Henry. Before moving, Rachel wrote a letter to Henry professing her love and left it in his family’s bookstore, Letter Library. Customers communicate with one another by writing in and marking up a select set of books and by leaving letters in between the pages. Henry never responded. He and many of the other characters are undergoing losses of their own, in varying degrees. The secondary characters are multidimensional and well defined, and their struggles are equally touching. Readers will identify with and root for them. This poignant tale exquisitely chronicles the journey from hopelessness to learning to live again. The charismatic and well-crafted cast will immediately draw readers in. There aren’t pat happy endings for anyone, and the story is better for it. VERDICT This rewarding novel packs an emotional wallop; a must-purchase.–Cindy Wall, Southington Library & Museum, CT

This review was published in the School Library Journal April 2017 issue.

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