Words in Deep Blue was a stupendously brilliant read. It’s the kind of book easily inhaled in a couple of sittings.

Rachel Sweetie left her best friend, Henry Jones when she went to live by the sea. Before she left, she declared her love for him between the pages of The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock. Henry’s family own Howling Books, a second-hand bookstore in the city. The letter library inside the bookstore is a place for readers to leave notes in the margins of their favourite books and letters to other readers. NB: The book has inspired a virtual letter library which you can visit here.

Although Words in Deep Blue is the love story of Rachel and Henry, it’s also the story of Rachel’s grief for her brother, Cal taken by the sea. But it’s a story about books and ultimately, the power of words and reading, and human connection through books (isn’t that why anyone reads or writes stories—for the human connection?).

Crowley writes beautiful prose and a lyrical quality to her writing adds a layer of heartfelt poignancy to the story guaranteed to squeeze your heart.

The dual POV of Henry and Rachel creates wonderful tension throughout the story and I have to admit to loving both these flawed, gorgeous humans.

Words in Deep Blue is a beautiful Australian YA book. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to feel the power of words.


From the publisher:

Second-hand bookshops are full of mysteries

This is a love story.

It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets, to words.

It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.

Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal. She’s looking for the future in the books people love, and the words that they leave behind.

Sometimes you need the poets

The new novel from the award-winning author of Graffiti Moon.


Words in Deep Blue has been named an Honour Book in the Children’s Book Council Awards.

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 … this is a love letter to books and bookshops, to the ocean, to falling in love and finding your way.” Bookseller+Publisher

“Cath Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue is what dreams are made of … It’s a story that will stay with me forever.” Nick and Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

“Would I recommend it? Without a doubt. Words in Deep Blue is a gorgeous novel that’ll pull your heart strings, make you giggle and fill you to the brim with different kinds of love.” Trust in Tales


My favourite quote from the book:

“But I love you, and before you say it words do matter. They’re not pointless. If they were pointless then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history and they wouldn’t be the things that you think about every night before you go to sleep. If they were just words we wouldn’t listen to songs, we wouldn’t beg to be read to when we’re kids. If they were just words, then they’d have no meaning and stories wouldn’t have been around since before humans could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words then people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, stop aching because of them, have sex, quite a lot of the time, because of them.”

 Find out more about Cath Crowley and her books – link to Cath’s website.