Words in Deep Blue

At heart, Words in Deep Blue is about connections--those made and those missed--as every character desperately seeks something. It is also a love letter to the power of words and story.

The plot is complex: two families face a newly uncertain future for which they are completely unprepared. Henry, 18, his sister, George, 17, and their parents own and occupy Howling Books, a secondhand bookshop in Gracetown, Australia. After 20 years, though, the parents are splitting up, and their mom wants to sell the shop. Henry is in love with a girl who has just broken up with him for the nth time. George, after losing contact with a mystery pen pal, has simply stopped believing in love: "[O]ur family is sh*t at love."

Three years earlier, Henry's best friend, Rachel, her brother, Cal, and their mother moved to the coast to help care for their grandmother. Ten months ago Cal accidentally drowned; grief-stricken, Rachel decides to move back to Gracetown, but she can't bear to tell her old friends about Cal's death. Meanwhile, her longtime secret love for Henry is reawakened when she winds up working at the bookstore alongside him.

Alternating between Rachel and Henry's voices, with occasional flashbacks and "found" letters interspersed between chapters, the novel unravels the intrigue, mystery and tragic loves in the lives of its protagonists. What happens between the teens is something geometrically greater than a love triangle and readers will hang on every clever, funny, heartbreaking word. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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