It’s rare that I say everyone should read a particular book, but this is a book everyone, of all ages, should read. TJ Klune has spun a beautiful story in The House in the Cerulean Sea. It’s about finding one’s place in the world, learning to re-write the narrative others have placed on one’s self, that bigotry and fear can be overcome, and that acceptance can be found, starting sometimes as small as with one person to then slowly grow.
Linus Baker is an investigator for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, sent to orphanages to make sure that they are being run competently and that the children are well cared for. By separating and registering magical beings, they are made lesser citizens and are generally feared by the populace due to ignorance. Linus is a worker drone with a boring and colorless routine, spending days diligently doing his job to then come home to his cat and otherwise empty house. Then his life is forever changed when sent to a special, secret orphanage for magical youth on an island in the ocean.
I won’t go into the different children and why they have been sent to such an isolated place, as that is best discovered by the reader. Like all children, they are each special but society has taught them that they are to be feared for their differences. This story is as much about them and their growth as it is for Linus.
I loved each moment reading The House in the Cerulean Sea, so many life lessons gently put forth in a fantastical setting. Going into this book, I knew nothing about it other than that people raved about it, Cannonballers, booksellers, and list makers. I kept coming across this book and decided to find out why people were so passionate and I’m grateful that I did. Originally, I was going to hand this off to my 13 year old to read independently but instead intend to read it aloud to the 13 and 9 year old together during summer break.