YA Book Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Hi all, as you know by now, I’m writing a YA contemporary novel, and part of the process (or procrastinating) includes reading other books for reference points! I picked up Words in Deep Blue after much browsing late last year, and here are my quick thoughts on it. Verdict? Give this a read for sure! You’ll also find this review on my Goodreads profile. :)


widb cover
Book cover image from Amazon. I do not claim any rights.

*No spoilers here!*

I’ve been reading a lot of YA contemporary titles to get inspired for working on my own. I don’t know how many others do this, but I browsed for a long time on Amazon (I’m talking almost twenty tabs open, people) before coming across WiDB, my next read. I was immediately drawn to the bookshop setting and the romance, especially since I loved both of these elements in Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (beautiful tearjerker by the way!).

Overall I’m so very glad I took a chance on WiDB. The voices are very clear in the switching POVs between Rachel and Henry. The narrative and plot points themselves are very believable, but without being too predictable. I especially praise how Crowley wrote the interactions within Rachel and Henry’s families; multiple character scenes are so challenging to write, as I’ve learned! Finally, the ending is satisfying in the right ways, not just for the main characters but the well-developed side characters. Again, another feat!

I do have some of the same issues as other reviewers, most notably with the Amy character. I can understand that Crowley didn’t make her out to be appealing, but at some points I got so incredibly frustrated with Henry for continuing to be so infatuated with her! So much that I almost stopped rooting for him and Rachel to make up. Then I reminded myself that he’s a teenage boy, and I’ve also been susceptible to the same weaknesses before. Second, I also found it a little bit of a stretch for Rachel to hold her brother’s death the way she did in the book. I won’t spoil this but has been discussed in other reviews. It’s not a huge, huge issue, just required me to suspend disbelief for something besides a fantasy.

Give this a read if you love bookshops, a romance to root for, and a story on the quiet side but without any less emotional impact!


Originally published at J Wang.

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