Words in Deep Blue, by Cath Crowley

‘I feel like the universe cheated Cal, and cheated us along with him,’ I say.
Before Cal died, Mum would have explained calmly and logically that the universe is all existing matter and space, ten billion light years in diameter, consisting of galaxies and the solar system, stars and the planets. All of which simply do not have the capacity to cheat a person of anything.
Tonight she lights another cigarette. ‘It did,’ she says, and blows smoke at the stars.

Before Rachel moved away to a seaside town, she and Henry were best friends. But something more than distance came between them. Now Rachel is back in the city, but their relationship is still strained. Rachel is also mourning the terrible loss of her much-loved brother Cal, a loss she doesn’t want to tell anyone about. Henry too is mourning: the break up of a romance, his parents’ separation, and the loss of the family bookstore, which is soon to be sold.

Howling books is unlike other bookstores. As well as selling books, it also hosts a letter library, where readers can read the books, mark pages and leave letters to friends,strangers, even enemies if they wish. As they work side by side in the bookstore, Rachel and Henry look for answers in the books they read, and in each other.

Words in Deep Blue is a beautiful book. Blending a heart wrenching story of loss, with romance, friendship and the magic of the letter library creates a deeply satisfying whole. The bookshop setting is a delight for book lovers.

Words in Deep Blue, by Cath Crowley
Pan Macmillan, 2016
ISBN 9781742612386

Graffiti Moon, by Cath Crowley

Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers.

Even though she’s never met him, Lucy is sure she is in love with Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work is all over the city. On the last night of Year 12 she goes in search of him, but instead finds Ed, the last guy she would ever hook up with, after a disastrous first date. Ed says he knows how to find Shadow, so Lucy spends the night touring Shadow’s art work and learning about Ed and herself in the process. But will they find Shadow?

This is an absorbing and intense ride though 24 hours in the lives of a group of teens on the cusp of adulthood. Each character has demons or insecurities to confront, amidst the challenges of the future which the end of year 12 present to all teens. As the night progresses, readers get to know each character well and, whilst they may see what Lucy cannot, will enjoy seeing the story unfold towards a satisfying conclusion.

Graffiti Moon

Graffiti Moon, by Cath Crowley
Pan 2010 264pp
ISBN 9780330425780
rrp $16.99

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Gracie Faltrian Takes Control, by Cath Crowley

‘Give it to me,’ I whisper. I want to take the shot so bad…
The sound of smacked leather echoes and I’m off. I soar past Shukman, the strongest player from the opposition, and keep the goal clearly in sight. It’s so easy; I take a minute to play with the ball. I hook it onto my left ankle and toss it back to my right. Casual. Like I’m throwing with my hands. I tease everyone on the field.

Gracie Faltrain is happy – and why wouldn’t she be? She has a great boyfriend, her parents are back together, and the soccer season has just started. She is not going to repeat the errors of last season – she has learnt her lesson about being selfish.

But just as things seems to be going so well, Gracie has brand new problems waiting to bring her back down. Coach has entered the soccer team in the prestigious Firsts competition. A competition only for boys. And Gracie, as she is painfully aware, is not a boy. And it seems not even her parents want to support her fight to be included in the team. Off the field, Gracie is sick of watching her friend Alyce and her boyfriend Martin struggle to find happiness. She wants to take control and make sure they come out winners. But doing so could risk everyone’s happiness – including her own.

Gracie Faltrain Takes Control is a warm-hearted story about a soccer loving girl struggling to get it right – on and off the field. It is a feel-good book, but that is not to say that it is happy-ever after book. Bad stuff happens and Gracie has lessons to learn about life. Gracie is a likeable character but at times you feel like shaking her as her self-absorption makes her unable to see the truth – perceiving instead what she would like to be real.

A sequel to The Life and Times of Gracie Falrain, this book does stand alone, but is more satisfying read after the first.

A touching read.

Gracie Faltrain Takes Control, by Cath Crowley
Pan, 2006