Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley follows Rachel Sweetie who returns to a town where she formally lived with her aunt after a traumatic accident that left her brother dead. Rachel takes a job at Howling Books, where her old best friend and old crush Henry, works. Rachel and Henry’s relationship ended abruptly after he never responded to a letter she wrote which expressed her true feelings. Henry struggles to rekindle his friendship with Rachel and the possible end to his family’s store.
I’ve heard rave reviews for Words in Deep Blue, so I requested it from my library’s online catalogue as soon as I saw it available. While Words in Deep Blue isn’t necessarily a bad contemporary YA book, it wasn’t exactly what I expected. Even though it didn’t personally meet my reading preferences, I can still see why many other people would enjoy this book.
Since I read so many YA contemporary books, it’s hard for any set of characters to really stand out for me. I had the same problem with this book. Rachel is the somewhat sarcastic YA narrator who tries to fight her feelings for Henry, but eventually falls in love with him again despite his numerous attempts to get back with his ex. Henry is a lovesick boy who doesn’t realize what is in front of him until it’s almost gone. Henry’s ex is a typical mean girl who will do whatever it takes to sabotage Rachel and her connection to Henry. Since I’ve seen this all before, and have liked it better in other books, these characters didn’t really stick with me after reading.
That being said, I did really enjoy one of the sub-plots in this book. Henry’s quirky younger sister and her developing relationship with one of the popular boys in her grade was very enjoyable to read. I felt like I liked their communication between letters more interesting that Rachel and Henry’s correspondence. I would love to see a book from her point of view that reveals her reactions to Cal’s death and her developing relationship with the boy introduced in this book.
Overall, Words in Deep Blue is a pretty solid story. However, I just really didn’t connect with the story or the characters. I give this book three out of five stars.