Author: Cath Crowley
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family's bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.
Now Rachel has returned to the city--and to the bookshop--to work alongside the boy she'd rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can't feel anything anymore. She can't see her future.
Henry's future isn't looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.
As Henry and Rachel work side by side--surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages--they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it's possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough. --Goodreads
This book is beautiful, and I'm not just talking about the cover (which is mega gorgeous!). It's pure poetry and will resonate with anyone who is a lover of books and stories and words.
Rachel and Henry were separated most of their high school years after Rachel moved out of the city to a small seaside town, but had been close friends throughout childhood and their early teens. Rachel worked up the courage to tell Henry how she felt about him the night before she moved, but life doesn't always work out in the ways we want it. Henry never got the note and their lives moved on...well, sort of.
Fast forward four years and Henry is coming to the realization that he's been wasting his heart on an undeserving girl for too long while Rachel is reeling from the loss of her brother in a drowning accident. After a dismal year 12 (oh yeah, the story takes place in Australia so lots of fun new lingo for those of you used to American settings in your YA) and no idea what or where comes next, Rachel finds herself back in the city reconnecting with family, old friends, Howling Books, and Henry.
Much of the story is centered around a section of Howling Books called The Letter Library. The books there can't be sold or leave the store, but customers can leave letters or even write right on the pages of the books to other readers. As a librarian that concept gives me all the feels. Just thinking about all of the different people who have poured over the same lines, been moved by a moment in a story, or simply saw the themselves reflected in the pages...sigh.
As Henry learns how to reconnect with Rachel, she learns that she has a choice in how she goes on living and loving after loss and grief. Rich secondary characters and excerpts from The Letter Library make this story touching, timeless, and one that readers will want to read again and again.
And perhaps, maybe, leave a little bit of themselves on the pages in a highlighted sentence or a note for someone else to find.
Rating: 5 Stars. Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell & Jennifer Niven!
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