The House in the Cerulean Sea – Published 2020
“A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
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. ” – Goodreads
I’m really not sure why I am so late to this party. After I had seen it everywhere, a couple of booksta friends’ glowing reviews finally pushed me to read it. It is absolutely delightful. The writing is just so peaceful, and it will make you cry tears of happiness so many times. It’s perfect.
Explaining it to someone who’s never heard of it, though? Very difficult. I tried to pitch it to my mom and I was like, “Well imagine a total square works for, like, The Ministry of Magic, and he’s in charge of checking in on orphanages, but they’re not really orphanages, because none of the kids are likely to get adopted. And they’re all different, but all magical. So there’s a gnome, and a shapeshifter, and a bird, and one can grow trees, and one’s like a blob, and oh, one is the antichrist.” It just doesn’t sound like it would be good.
But it is, you guys. It is SO, SO good. It’s been a long time since a book has made me cry, and this one really did me in. I cried so many times in the second half. It’s beautiful, and endearing, and just so wonderful. It’s a look at prejudice, hate, self-acceptance, family, what makes a place a home, and love. It’s wholesome and heartwarming. It’s just lovely. Below are two of my favorite quotes:
“Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as your remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.”
“Oh. I see. So the real treasure was the friendships we made along the way?”
“You guys are the worst,” Lucy muttered. “The literal worst.”