Words in Deep Blue (Cath Crowley, Pan)
Since her brother Cal drowned 10 months ago, Rachel has failed Year 12, lost all her friends and watched her mother become consumed by grief. Desperate to get away, she moves back to Melbourne, which she left three years ago. Back to Henry, her once best friend/unrequited love. Back to Howling Books, the used bookstore Henry’s family owns. Back to people who have no idea Cal is gone. Meanwhile, Henry’s girlfriend just broke up with him, his mother wants to sell the bookstore and the best friend he hasn’t heard from in three years just arrived back in town, acting like a different person. Set largely against the delightful and evocative background of a used bookstore, Words in Deep Blue is a beautiful examination of grief, love and the power of words. Told in a dual narrative and littered with excerpts from letters and notes left in books at the shop, Cath Crowley has created a sweeping story about self-discovery and growing up, filled with complicated and flawed characters. Highly recommended for fans of Trinity Doyle’s Pieces of Sky and Fiona Wood’s Cloudwish, this is a love letter to books and bookshops, to the ocean, to falling in love and finding your way.
Meg Whelan is the children’s book buyer at the Hill of Content Bookshop in Melbourne