Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Words in Deep Blue

Crowley, Cath. Words in Deep Blue. Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.
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Summary (from back cover)
"Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family's bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.
Now Rachel has returned to the city--and to the bookshop--to work alongside the boy she'd rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can't feel anything anymore. She can't see her future.
Henry's future isn't looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.
As Henry and Rachel work side by side--surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages--they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it's possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough."

My Thoughts
The booktalk I heard about this book doesn't quite match up to what happens in the book, but I enjoyed it anyway.

The premise is Rachel & Henry work in a bookstore. Inside this bookstore is a Letter Library where people can (and are encouraged to) write in the books or leave notes in the book or mark passages in the book. Rachel's job is to catalog these notes. There are some touching notes!  Even the author of the book includes a note in this book for the reader, which I thought was clever.

I really like the concept of the Letter Library. I've had students leave notes to future readers in books before (thankfully, just notes--not passages marked in the book). As I read this book, it got me thinking about something I did in the classroom that I may start in the library next year.

I loved the many literary references in this book!  I also loved this description: "I'm fond of Derek Walcott. I could eat his poem 'Love After Love.' Just peel the words off the page and stuff them in my mouth" (Crowley 25). I feel this way about words sometime.  I had to look up "Derek Walcott" to see if he is real. He is.

There's a love story, a break up story and a growing up story all included. There's grief, healing and learning. There's a theme to not judge a book by its cover. (And the actual cover of this book is cute!).
We are the books we read and the things we love (Crowley 258). 
This quote sums up life.

I don't know if I'll remember the entire story line years from now, but I will think about "a book I read once" where people left notes in the books.

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