A review by nae20
The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune

adventurous emotional funny hopeful inspiring reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Another engaging read from TJ Klune! I, like many others, loved The House in the Cerulean Sea. Be warned: This is not quite the same type of heartwarming story. 

Wallace is a partner at a big-city law firm and not a great guy. When he drops dead in his office, he's in complete denial. He is taken by a reaper from his funeral and ends up at a tea shop in the woods - a waystation run by the ferryman who will shepherd him on to what's next, whenever he's ready. There, he gets the time to come to terms with what's happened. With the help of the strange and lovely inhabitants of the tea shop, Wallace finally figures out what life is all about. 

This is a lovely story, by turns gut-wrenching and charming. I loved the character growth and the atmosphere. It is also quite sad. It deals with death - of a parent, a child, a pet, a partner - and the grief left behind when they go. In this world, we see the grief of both the deceased and the loved ones, and it can almost be overwhelming. This is somewhat balanced by the charm and humor inherent in Klune's writing. At the core, this is a love story. Wallace meets Hugo, the ferryman, and the two grow to care about each other over the course of the book. There were some aspect of the end that I didn't love, but they were not enough to change my opinion of the book. 

All in all, a beautiful story about life, death, and what we leave behind.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing this digital ARC for review. 

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