"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, April 29, 2022


The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Book Beginnings quote:

Friday56 quote (from page 31, last page of preview):

Summary: Linus Baker is a case worker for the Department of Magical Youth. It is his job to make sure that all children are safe in the orphanages where they have been placed. And he does his job by the book. When upper management tells him to go on a special assignment to the Marsyas Island Orphanage for a month, he assumes he'll do his job by the book and them return. But when he is there he meets the most unique combination of children, a remarkable teacher, and caretaker who is magical herself. Suddenly 'going by the book' doesn't seem possible or such a good idea. While on the island Linus is also forced to confront his loneliness and eventually he discovers that 'home' and 'family' do not always fit into neat word definitions.

Review: A few months back my daughter, who is in a different book club than mine, raved about the discussion they had concerning The House in the Cerulean Sea. Having seen the book on a lot of 'favorites' lists in the blogosphere, I recommended we select the book for our club. I hadn't done any other homework on the book and didn't even realize it was a fantasy tale about magical beings. When I started listening to the audio version, expertly narrated by Daniel Henning, I was shocked. We don't normally select the fantasy genre for our club.

Honestly it took me over half of the book to get into the story, feeling vaguely irritatated about the repetitive nature of the writing. Phrases and information were repeated so often, they started to grate on my nerves. But finally I settled into the story and was eventually charmed by the characters and their interactions with one another mostly.  In an interview T.J. Klune said he wanted to write a fantasy book for all ages of readers about kindness. I'd say he succeeded.

After finishing the book I understood that it serves as an allegory for a greater issue, one we are all aware of with the villainization of so many people today: immigrants, Trans youth, LGBTQIA+, Muslims, Blacks, etc. We actually did have quite a bit to discuss at our club meeting and I, for one, thought the book was a catalyst for a thoughtful discussion.

"An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours" (Book jacket).

Book club questions that worked well to guide the discussion:

  1. Who is the target audience? The book was written for all ages juniors through adults. We felt it would especially appeal to the YA audience.
  2. Which character did you like best and why? We all had different answers. I liked Chauncey, the unknown type of being, who wanted to be a bell hop when he grew up. In a way, he provided the comic relief.
  3. What were the major themes of the book? Belonging, acceptance for differences including LGBTQIA+, family, and home.
  4. What traps people in unhappy jobs? We explored lots of reasons.
  5. Was this a good book club choice? Answers varied. One gal loved the book and she often doesn't like our selections.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material.  

RHS Gals Book Club, April 2022


No comments:

Post a Comment

I look forward to your comments and interactions! Join in the conversation.