This book was recommended to me by a friend and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to read it, it is not a book I have seen or heard of.
Words in the Deep Blue is a piece of YA fiction, Young Adult for those who haven’t heard the term. YA fiction is aimed at teenagers really and generally features protagonists of that age to allow readers to relate to the books that they are reading. Personally I love some YA fiction and there are some really great authors out there being tagged as YA meaning oldies like me potentially miss out on excellent books. And this one was no exception!
Rachel left town years ago to move to the coast with her Mum and brother so that they could live with her Gran. As she left she put a note in her best friend Henry’s favourite book telling him that she loved him. He never responded to her note and over time she decided that clearly this was his subtle way of rejecting her. He continued to write to her about his girlfriend Amy and Rachel slowly stopped replying.
When Rachel’s brother drowns in the sea she is left distraught and struggling to live. She fails her final year at school, though she had been a good student with plans of becoming a Marine Biologist, and her boyfriend breaks up with her. Rachel’s gran and Aunt decided that Rachel needs a break and that she should move back to her childhood town and live there with her Aunt who has got her a job. She knows that she doesn’t want to face Henry and she knows that she doesn’t want to tell anyone that her brother is dead.
By the time Rachel arrives back in town the job her aunt had found her has fallen through but fortunately she has managed to secure her work at the local second hand bookshop. Owned by Henry’s family. And where Henry now works.
Face him she must.
Henry of course is none the wiser as to why Rachel and he have grown apart. It becomes apparent that he never saw the letter she left him. Amy, his on and off again girlfriend, has broken up with him again despite their having book flights for a round the world trip and he feels like no-one has got anything worse than him going on in their lives.
This book was just glorious. The world was so well painted and the story so well plotted. All the characters were developed so beautifully as was the bookshop which I wish was real. Perhaps I should say that this book is not for those that don’t think you should write in books! This book urges you to write in books! The characters send each other notes written in the margins of their favourite novels as well as leaving letters for each other in them. Rachel gets the job of logging all of these messages from all the books in the shop that are kept just for the reason of writing in them. This alone made me want to go to a bookshop and find hidden messages. And leave them.
Grief is dealt with so beautifully in this book and the death of Rachel’s brother has a tangible effect on so many of the characters to a greater or lesser extent. There are arguments and tears in this book, decisions made around personal agendas and realisations of things changing forever.
All sorts of books get a mention in this book and there is a huge joy in that. From Dickens to Kazuo Ishiguro, I intend to go back through it and list them all so I can seek out the ones I haven’t read.
The bookishness of this book was just delightful, set in a bookshop surrounded by people that read and love reading and talk about books when they are not reading. Even the cat is called Ray Bradbury. I loved this book so much, would love to see it made into a film.
Recommend it to you and in turn all the 15 year olds you know x