Love Letters In a Bookstore: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Love Letters In a Bookstore: Words in Deep Blue by Cath CrowleyWords in Deep Blue
by Cath Crowley
Release Date: August 30th 2016
Published by Pan Australia
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 352
Source: ARC received for review purposes

This is a love story. It's the story of a second-hand bookshop called Howling Books where people leave letters to strangers, or those they love, or want to love, between the pages of books in the Letter Library.

Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie are best friends. Or they were. Before Rachel moved away to the sea. Now, she's back, grieving for her brother Cal who drowned in the sea that he loved.

Rachel loves Henry. Henry loves Amy. Amy loves Amy but is happy for Henry to love her too.

This is a book about books. About the power of literature to cradle our past, present and future selves. It's about how we leave ourselves behind when we die. How we leave our histories in the things we love - like books.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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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 little second-hand bookstore, Words in Deep Blue was a book bursting with heart and emotions. Rachel’s voice nearly destroyed me with how poignant and emotional it was. It was full of grief as a result of having lost her younger brother, Cal, to a drowning and she was dealing with a lot of pain. It’s always a little hard for me to read books about grief and loss, but Cath Crowley knew how to write those themes in a way that touched me and made me feel. Rachel’s incredible journey to learning to live with her loss wasn’t an easy one for her, but she grew to become accepting of her new reality. Henry, on the other hand, I had conflicted feelings about. He was bullheaded in his staunch belief that his selfish ex-girlfriend, Amy, was the only girl for him. Frustrating as that was for readers, it was easy to see where he was coming from, being that he was a hopelessly romantic teen boy and all. Despite his flaws, he had some really great qualities: his loyalty to his family, his protectiveness when it came to his friends and his willingness to provide a shoulder to Rachel to lean on when she needed one. He was an all-around sweet guy, and a perfect fit for Rachel. Their romance was one that slowly evolved from a friendship. They had a one-sided romance before Rachel left town, and while it takes Henry quite some time to realize just how wonderfully perfect she was for him, the friendship the two shared made it all worth the wait.


Words in Deep Blue was much much more than just Rachel and Henry’s stories of self-discovery. They may be the narrators, but the secondary cast was just as invigorating. Family and friendship intersect in this story and it’s amazing to watch unfold. From George, Henry’s quirky and outspoken sister, who is ready to find love in her life to Henry’s father, whose love for his little bookstore made my heart ache to Cal, Rachel’s dead brother whose goofiness and love for the ocean made me cry. It’s truly an extraordinary feat when an author is able to make the secondary characters’ stories shine just as bright as the main characters’ – all the stories that I fell in love with here were full of heartbreak and hope. One reason I was more than eager to pick up Words in Deep Blue was the secondhand bookstore setting that Henry’s family owns. The bookshop in itself was a character with how vibrantly it was described as well as the stories that the books held and I’m not just talking about the books’ stories themselves. At Howling Books, people leave each other letters between the pages of the books and man, those letters just made my heart soar and completely swept me away.

Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue is what dreams are made of. It’s one of those gem of a book that I know that I will repeatedly read passages and I know that every time I do so it will cause a tiny pang in my heart. It’s beautiful and evocative and romantic and passionate and poignant and unforgettable. I am so grateful that Cath Crowley has graced the literature community with this book. It’s a story that will stay with me forever.

What are some of your favorite books set in a bookstore?
Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Kim (_booksarelove)

    This was an amazing review <3 I am adding yet another new book to my TBR. Your blog is so beautiful, I always enjoy looking at it and reading the things you post!

    • Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Kim. 🙂

  • wow – this sounds like quite the intriguing read! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • I hope you’ll pick it up, Sarah!

  • Aussie authors do have a flair for being a bit different and spinning stories from a different perspective 🙂 I’m glad you loved this, Nick!
    I hope you’re having a good vacay 😉
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    • They really do. They are magical beings!
      It’s going okay. It’s very hot and I’m ready for some cooler weather.

      • You’ll get cooler weather once you arrive in the US, won’t you? 🙂

  • kindlemom1

    Dang it Nick, stop adding to my pile! I finally read Every Breath and even though it took me a bit to warm up to it, I was in love with it by the end. I can tell this is another one I will need to try, thanks to you. 😛
    Lovely review and I truly do love this books that leave an impact on us.

    • I wish I could say I felt genuinely sorry, Ali, but I don’t. I am so so happy to hear you were in love with Every Breath by the end. I hope you’ll pick up the rest of the series too! And yes, this is most definitely one you need. 🙂

  • What a great review!! This was not on my radar at all but I need to add it ASAP. Love the graphic too!

    • Aww thanks, Grace. It’s Aussie YA and those usually fly under the radar, but this one deserves all the love.

  • This book sounds really lovely! I didn’t know about this at all, but I’m adding it to my tbr now! <3

    • I’m glad you got to add a new book to your TBR. You won’t be disappointed!

  • Aww Nick, I love how poignant and emotional this book sounds! At first I was a bit confused by the synopsis (it was the Amy thing that did it I think), but it seems pretty straightforward after your review. I think it’s sweet that Henry finally notices how much of a match he is with Rachel. 🙂 And YESSS to secondhand bookshops! What an idyllic setting to have for a love story. <3

    – Aila @ One Way Or An Author

    • Yeah, the synopsis is a little confusing! I’m glad I cleared that up. It takes him a while to notice, but when he does, it’s wonderful.
      Right? Perfect setting if you ask me!

  • Eva

    Great review! This is actually one that hasn’t even been on my radar at all but it sounds so good! I love all the Aussie ♥ too Nick!!

    • You would adore this one, Eva. I hope you get a chance to grab a copy!

  • Kate S.

    I keep hearing about how awesome Australian YA is! I am up for any book set in a book store!

    Kate @ Ex

    • You’ve really got to experience how awesome it is. I only really got into it this year and it has been one amazing book after the other.

  • Aussie YA is unique, and I want more of it. Now you’ve made me add this to my list.

    • It truly is! I wish more made it to the US readers.

  • Oh, you’re so lucky to have been able to read this book ahead of us plebes. I’m so looking forward to reading this even if I’m a little terrified of it as well. I know she’ll break me. I can almost feel it. Lol.

    • I know! I randomly requested it from NG and got approved and I’m thinking it might have been a fluke, but I’m so glad I got it. I was a little nervous too, but man is she amazing.

  • Jessamine Julian

    You are so lucky to have read this! Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

    • Yeah, I certainly got lucky with it!

  • I miss my local second hand bookstore. It’s a quaint backdrop here but it’s sad that it’s a dying business venture no thanks to digital books…

    • I can imagine it’s a tough business. :/ I would love to own a second hand bookstore one of these days.

  • Christy @ Novel Ink

    Wow, I’ve never heard of this one before but that summary and your review SOLD ME! I’ll definitely have to pick this one up!

    • A lot of these Aussie YA books fly under the radar which is a shame because they are incredible. And I’m glad to hear that!

  • I added this to my TBR when I saw you had posted about it (maybe in a recap) and said you loved it. It looks amazing! I love the cover, for one thing. I cannot wait for this book! I need to read it ASAP. I’m officially sold, especially with the family and friends added bonus. Great review!

    • You would love it! It’s only going to be out in Australia this year, but I saw it was coming to the US next year if I’m not mistaken.

  • This is new to me Nick, but I’m loving the sound of the second hand bookstore that the friendship to romance builds around! 🙂

    • It’s an Aussie YA so it hasn’t gotten a lot of buzz just yet, but it was stunning. The bookstore was the highlight for me!

  • Jazmen

    I love the sound of this. I think I seen this somewhere else, but no review. I must have it!

    • You must! 🙂

  • I love the synopsis and then you with all the feels….yeah this sounds lovely!

    • Haha! You know I’m serious when I talk about my feels.

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    Wow, you are really on an Aussie kick Nick! I need to get in on this action. I absolutely adored Graffiti Moon, so I already know I love Cath’s writing and will undoubtedly love this one as well. Gorgeous review my friend:)

    • Yes, Jenny! I’m an honorary Aussie now. 🙂

  • This book was so beautiful, I loved it madly too Nick. The letter library was just so incredibly lovely and the elderly customer on the search for that one book, when I realised why I was in tears again. The heavy heart that Rachel carried not only for Cal but leaving believing that Henry didn’t want her. And George and Martin, Martin was such a lovable nerd, I was really rooting for the both of them. It’s just one of those books that crawl under your skin and a really important message too for readers to support their local bookstores. I’m pretty sure you’re officially an Aussie now Nick. You should move here. I’ll adopt you <3

    • I hate you both for being able to read this!
      Nick is an honorary Aussie now, but you can’t have her. She’s mine!

      • I might get a copy from The Book Depo when it becomes available so I’ll send it to you!! Because you most definitely need it. Haha!
        So much possessiveness. I’m flattered!

    • YES. That old man’s search broke my heart. I agree about Geroge and Martin too. I really was hoping for them to be together, especially with how patient Martin was with her. <3
      I so am! I need to tell people I'm Australian! And I'm seriously considering moving there one of these days! 😉

  • I want this book SO. BADLY. Alas, I cannot have it because it does not exist here. Or in the UK even, at least on TBD. So I shall be sad and wait for it. Eventually it will pop up somewhere for less than ALL the money, right? It sounds SO good! I mean, if it is the kind of book that will stay with you forever? That is saying a LOT! I don’t know that I have read any books set in bookstores. I think there was a bookstore in The Serpent King though! And that is one of my favorite books of ever, so we’ll go with that 😀 Great review!

  • I actually haven’t read that many books which are set in a bookstore but this just sounds so cool and so sweet and somehow to heart-breaking at the same time. And ahmazing. How comes I haven’t heard about this book until now? I really need it in my life.