Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Words in Deep Blue, by Cath Crowley, is written from two people’s points of view; Rachel and Henry. These Australian teen, best friends tell the ups and downs of their loves and losses, with books playing a big part in their lives.

Henry’s family owns a second-hand bookstore, with a unique ‘Letter Library’. This is what their bookstore, Howling Books, is best known for. Anyone can write or mark anything in any of the books in the Letter Library. A letter to a loved one, a dedication, underlining a few words they liked. They’re all so unique, which makes it interesting. The rest is for everyone else to see and imagine different things from these little notations. This was a touching and vital part of the story, as many love stories are explained through this library. Including Rachel and Henry’s. One thing I disliked was how Henry kept going back to his girlfriend, Amy, who he started dating after Rachel left her childhood home to live by the ocean with her family. Rachel and Henry are destined to be together, and Cath Crowley makes you wait for it. Her intense writing keeps you on the edge of the seat, as Rachel comes back to Henry’s town after three years. Only this time, she’s got a secret. Her brother, Cal, drowned in the ocean, and she isn’t taking it well at all. Her moods change, she’s skinnier, she bleached her hair, and she decides to not tell anyone about her loss. Rachel took a job at a coffee shop near her aunt’s house, where she stays because of the move. But the job miraculously falls through, and her aunt found her work at Howling Books, cataloging the Letter Library. Rachel and Henry see each other for the first time in three years, and it’s not pretty. Even though Rachel is supposedly ‘over’ Henry, she still wants nothing to do with him. She tries to avoid him the best he can, until one night, their friend is playing at a club, and Henry decides to drink a little more than he should have. Amy broke up with him earlier, and said that she was in love with someone else. That someone else was Greg Smith, a good looking guy with lots of money. Amy says it’s got nothing to do with Henry, but he’s convinced it’s because he doesn’t make much money, working at a second hand bookshop. Although she doesn’t want to admit it, they both know Henry is a little bit right. Rachel and Henry run into each other at the club after he falls down from drunkenly accusing Greg Smith when he sees him with Amy. After that, Rachel and Henry get closer, not knowing they both want each other until it’s too late. Meanwhile, Henry’s family is falling apart, because some people want to sell the bookstore and the others don’t. Seeing if the long lost friends can save the bookstore and their love is a crazy, intense story.

Words in Deep Blue is a quick read, though enough time passes to make you feel like you’re in the story yourself. Even with its many heart wrenching sad points, this is a book I could not put down. Constant shockers and amazing writing makes it a true must-read. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to be sucked into a story about love, books, and friendships. Anticipation crawls on your skin as you read about Henry and Rachel, hoping they find their true feelings for each other. Crowley’s beautiful and realistic writing makes everyone want to spread the Letter Library in their own bookstores. Cadie P.

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Invictus by Ryan Graudin

In this fast-paced time-travel novel, Ryan Graudin blends everything from sci-fi and fantasy to historical fiction, romance, and humor. With a compelling and action-packed storyline, and a vibrant and unique cast of characters; Invictus is perfect for a wide range of readers. Graudin brings a new take to the idea of time-travel, weaving in themes of friendship, romance, mystery- and the odd red panda. Whether or not time-travel or sci-fi is your usual genre, Invictus is a book that will grab you from the first chapter and not let go until you reach the last page. In the space of five minutes you’ll laugh, you’ll cry. And you will definitely fall in love with Imogen’s rainbow hair, Priya’s patience, Farway’s ego, Gram’s cluelessness, and Eliot’s mysterious mission. Hop aboard the Invictus, and sit back to enjoy this wonderful, quirky, mysterious, beautiful book.-Claire C

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Get Your Veronica Roth Tickets!

Bookshop Santa Cruz presents international bestselling author Veronica Roth (Divergent) for an in-conversation event and Q&A about her latest novel, Carve the Mark, the first book in her stunning new YA science-fiction fantasy series. This offsite and ticketed event, Roth’s only Bay Area appearance on her Carve the Mark tour, will take place at Santa Cruz High, 415 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz. Receive a signed copy of Carve the Mark with every ticket package purchase and be entered into our Super Fan raffle: 100 lucky winners will get to meet Veronica Roth, have their books personalized, and take a photo with the author after the event.

Add it to your Wish List–it makes a perfect gift! Buy your tickets in-store or online!Veronica Roth Bookshop Santa Cruz

Great visit by Len Vlahos

Teen Book Crew reviewer Caleb meets author, Len Vlahos

Teen Book Crew reviewer Caleb meets author, Len Vlahos

Both Santa Cruz High School and San Lorenzo Valley High School were excited to welcome author Len Vlahos today. He presented his debut novel, The Scar Boys, to enthralled audiences at both schools. Len recorded students playing the guitar and will be posting that on his website, lenvlahos.com. He also took questions, shared information on becoming a writer, and answered student questions. It was an inspiring afternoon.

Len Vlahos at Bookshop Santa Cruz

Len Vlahos at Bookshop Santa Cruz

Len Vlahos and Teen Book Crew facilitator Jakeh Hall

Len Vlahos and Teen Book Crew facilitator Jakeh Hall

CONGRATULATIONS TO MATT DE LA PEÑA!

mattHis young adult novel, The Living, was just named a Pura Belpré Author Honor Book. The Pura Belpré Awards celebrate Latino/Latina writers and illustrators whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience. Ryan W. of our SC Teen Book Crew recently reviewed it calling it, “One of the best adventure novels I’ve ever read.” Read that review.

Salvage Review

salvage cover

 

Salvage, by Alexandra Duncan is set in a world hundreds of years in the future where earth isn’t the only inhabited planet. Due to catastrophic flooding on Earth, many humans fled to other planets, beginning the space age. Many colonists also fled into deep space to mine the mineral rich asteroids and planets. On the ships out in deep space males rule and women are treated as objects. Ava, the main character, is a young women living on one of the spaceships. She longs to have kids and can’t wait to marry her crush but right when she thinks everything’s perfect, it all goes wrong. Facing death, she flees from her ship to earth where she sees how humans actually live.

 

Duncan really swept me away with Salvage!  Normally YA books don’t approach the topic of gender equality but Duncan showed how real the situations are for mistreated women and how what we see isn’t always the truth. The best part of the book was how the author showed everything through Ava’s eyes so realistically; I could imagine myself right there with her. Salvage gave me everything I expected in a sci-fi thriller and more, showing that everyone is equal no matter how different they seem.

 

For fans of Ender’s Game, and other sci-fi thrillers, Salvage is where it’s at!

 

The Living – Great Adventure Novel – On Bookshelves Now

The Living

The Living by Matt de la Pena, was surprisingly one of the best adventure novels I’ve ever read. Most adventure novels are just adrenaline and action but The Living was more than that. The story deals with social barriers, unreturned love and corruption while still providing suspense and excitement.

Shy is a character that starts out looking normal and kind of bland but as the story goes on, and his life is destroyed, Shy shows that he’s a survivor at heart.

The plotline of The Living starts off a little slow but as the story progresses it gets deeper and reveals the darker sides of people. Once I got into The Living I just couldn’t put it down! The witness of a suicide pulls you in and I loved how de la Pena unfolds each disaster in a totally new way.  He makes you think the worst is over when there’s more to come. One of my favorite parts of the book dealt with Shy’s crush, Carmen. He really likes her but she doesn’t know it. She’s engaged to be married but it’s clear that she and Shy share a deep connection. What I like most though, is the fact that their relationship isn’t the focus of the story.  The Living is mostly about Shy’s story with Carmen as a side character. However, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like to see more of Carmen in the next book! It’ll be cool to see how their world and relationship unfolds in the sequel!

If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games and other mysterious thrillers, The Living is the book for you!

Proxy – For fans of Legend, and Other Dystopian Thrillers

Proxy

Proxy, by Alex London, is set in a futuristic dystopian Denver hundreds of years in the future. The society is the only civilization on the continent and runs on the “proxy” system where the rich own the poor’s debt and the poor take the rich’s punishments. Syd is a poor citizen living a boring and terrible life because his “patron”, Knox (a rich person), is basically a criminal. One day Knox accidentally goes too far when he kills a girl and can’t face the consequences. This event threatens to ruin both of their lives and forces Syd and Knox to see the truth behind their society.

I loved how London isn’t afraid to include a homosexual main character.  It helps make the story more interesting and also gives insight on how someone’s sexuality doesn’t change who they are. The best part of the book by far was how the author presents and describes the city throughout the story. The description is so intricate and seamless that I could basically see London’s futuristic world before me. Proxy gave me a whole new view on how society works and showed me that everything really does come with a price.

For fans of Legend, and other dystopian thrillers, Proxy is the book to get!