BOOK REVIEW : Words in A Deep Blue
By Cath Crowley
BY SULPHIA IQBAL
I broke my promise. I read another contemporary. Fortunately, Words In a Deep Blue is one of the bearable ones.
When you go to goodreads and read the synopsis, you might be surprised that I somewhat enjoy this book. I will say, however, the synopsis makes the book sound sappier than it really is. Besides, if you don’t focus on the drama and relationship between characters, you might see where I am coming from.
Rachel and Henry have been best friends and inseparable, or so they thought. When Rachel realizes she is going to be moving away, she decides to come clean with Henry, and she is further motivated by this new girl who is becoming closer to Henry. The night before she leaves, she puts a letter expressing all her real feelings for Henry ( guys bear with me ) in his favorite book from Henry’s family bookstore, certain that he would see it. But Henry doesn’t see it, texts her he overslept ( this is the morning that Rachel is leaving ), and Rachel is understandably devastated, angry, and determined to keep Henry out of her life. In the three years she is away, she ignores all of Henry’s attempts to call her and oblivious Henry is left to wonder why his former best friend is so mad.
The book introduces us to a three-year later Rachel who is finally forced to go back to her first home after her brother drowns. She is struggling to cope with her loss and seeing Henry again just adds onto the stress. Rachel still refuses to talk to Henry, until she is forced to accept a job at his family’s bookstore. Henry is dealing with his own set of problems, including divorced parents constantly fighting, the possibility of having to close the family bookstore, and trying to get Amy ( that stupid new girl from before ) to get back with him so they can happily go on a trip through Europe he spent almost all of his money on.
Before I become the all captious reviewer I am, I need to address the amazingness of Henry’s family bookstore. This place has this thing called the Letter Library, a collection of books where people leave personal letters or little notes within the pages or margins. Can I just say - that is the best idea ever. This is ( to any bookworm ) the best form of communication discovered. I really wish a library like this actually exists.
(UPDATE : I have just searched this up and sadly, I cannot find anything like this in real life *sadness* )
I do not feel too much for the characters. Word in Deep Blue has diversity and it really does highlights issues that are real, like coping with a death in the family. While these elements are smoothly incorporated in the novel, they do not make up for the slowness of the plot. Rachel’s character is probably the one done best. Her dealing with Cal’s death is perfectly written. To the author’s credit, when Rachel comes home after three years, she does not automatically like Henry again - exactly the opposite, actually. This is refreshing because Rachel does not change because of her previous feelings for Henry; she warms up to Henry slowly and deliberately as a result of the time they spend together.
The side characters all have some awesome things going on while Rachel and Henry’s story unfolds. Henry’s sister George has her own situation and exchanges in the Letter Library, along with Henry’s parents’. But let me just address Amy. Amy is Henry’s ex-girlfriend, and the latter is frustratingly obsessed with her. As stupid as this may sound, I do not feel like it is Henry’s fault, but more Cath Crowley’s. Yes, the author is pretty much responsible for everything in their book, so I feel like Crowley deciding to make Amy this annoying obsession in Henry’s life is not really meant for Henry. It contrasts with his character at other moments in the novel, which make it seem forced. At the same time, Henry is constantly oblivious to various things throughoutWords In A Deep Blue, so maybe it is necessarily not forced. I also understand that not all characters are perfect, and that Henry’s constant need to impress and please Amy might just be proof of his imperfection. I guess it just depends on how you look it at. For some, it may be a nuisance. Other might see it as a practical flaw.
“We are the books we read and the things we love.”
“Sometimes science isn't enough. Sometimes you need the poets.”
“A dry, bookless world. It's too bleak to even imagine.”
“It’s like he’s picking up parts of the world and showing them to me, saying, See? It’s beautiful.”
Feeling in the mood for a book about an old, yet new, friendship?
Check out Words in a Deep Blue at the library and goodreads :