The House in the Cerulean Sea

Image of a large house located on the tip of a cliff that jets out over a beautifully blue body of water with a radiant sunrise in the background.
TJ Klune
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Mar 18, 2022

I have not loved a book this much in a very, very long time. I have to be careful about saying that though because it immediately sets the bar at an almost impossible level. This book landed in my hands at exactly the right time. It was the first book I’d been able to read read (as opposed to listen to on audio) since having a baby. With my daughter finally sleeping through the night and in her own room, I was once again able to curl up with a book in bed and let my not-quite-as-sleep deprived brain travel to another place.

This book immediately brought up the same emotions I felt while reading A Man Called Ove. The main character, Linus, is a routine driven, overweight, middle-aged man living on his own with his unaffectionate cat who merely tolerates Linus’s company. He has a nosey neighbor who points out his missteps every chance she gets, and a thankless job in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. Linus is a case worker who assesses orphanages where magical children are placed in custody under the guise of being regulated for their own benefit. Linus is thorough and never questions authority. That is, until Extremely Upper Management assigns him a top-secret orphanage with the most classified residents, including an Albus Dumbledore like headmaster with secrets of his own.

Every page of this book contains perfectly timed sardonic humor. But this story is so much more than a charming chuckle. At its core, it is a story about surrendering oneself to the power of love. It is a story about the innocence of children and resisting the urge to let preconceptions overshadow what is really in front of you. It is about healing deeply cut scars and breaking through the safety of ones own bubble in order to fly. TJ Klune is clearly responding to current social hot buttons on racism, homophobia, and mental health, but with a charming magical flare.

There are so many great themes within these 400 pages, which is why I selected it for the Corinth Book Groups August 23rd discussion. I challenge you to read this book and then come to the Corinth Book Group and tell me and your fellow community members your own opinion of the book. Despite my unabashed love for Cerulean Sea, I hope there are a few dissenters that will add perspective and complexity to the discussion.

Ok, now that you’ve put this book on hold, go ahead and get yourself on the waiting list for TJ Klune’s newest book too, Under the Whispering Door. Though not a sequel, TJ Klune is establishing himself as a bestselling author who is here to stay.

Reviewed by Caitlin P
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