“Regardless of what else he is, he is still a child, as they all are. And don’t all children deserve to be protected? To be loved and nurtured so that they may grow and shape the world to make it a better place?”The House in the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune
In Summary of The House in the Cerulean Sea
Linus Baker is a man leading an ordinary, boring life slaving away at his job as a case worker for orphanages under the care of the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He has lived his life according to the rules, until he is sent on a special project to Marsyas Island Orphanage – home to unusual, and potentially dangerous, children; these children include the Antichrist, a gnome, a blob with eye-stalks, a wyvern, a sprite, and a boy-to-dog shape-shifter.
During his time there, however, his work turns from objective to one of love and compassion for those who live in the orphanage. He must decide who his loyalties belong to, while facing the choice between what society deems as normal versus worthy of ostracization.
|Message of love and positivity||Starts slow to get to the orphanage and the characters in it|
|Vivid descriptions that paint beautiful pictures of setting and characters||The children do not experience much growth; most characters are stereotypes portrayed as magical characters|
|LGBTQ representation||Cliché heavy|
|Preaches love of everyone and challenges societal norms||Outcome is predictable|
“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.”
A sweet premise played out by some salty characters next to the sea, sprinkled with gay pride and acceptance garnished on the side…
What more could you want in this delectable tale?
This book has received a great deal of hype and all for good reason. It plays on the values that people wish to see in humanity – acceptance, equality, equity, courage, empathy, and inclusion. We want happy endings to occur and for the vulnerable and good to be lifted up with love.
However, this novel does enter “cheesy” territory. If you are someone who doesn’t like cheesy writing with cutesy characters and cliché dialogue, then this may not be your style of book. Personally, I don’t mind this, so it wasn’t a negative for me; the story was an uplifting change-of-pace from the rather dark and heavy novels I’ve been reading recently in the wintertime.
Additionally, be aware that almost all of the characters are one-dimensional despite their charm. This may annoy some readers, but I believe this added to the fairy tale / fable-like nature of the story. If you think about fables (theme-heavy stories filled with talking creatures and magical elements), they are meant to use the characters and story to illustrate a lesson for humans. In a similar way, The House in the Cerulean Sea employs this style. Also, this style complements the vulnerable, innocent, youthfulness of the characters; it is such a refreshing read!
If you are wanting to read a book that incorporates and honors LGBTQ relationships and representation, then this is a great choice! On the other hand, if you are NOT wanting to read the book because of this, I also recommend this book to you. After all, growing into a human that accepts others is important and maybe you should force your mind to grow a bit. 🙂 Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
To sum it up – read this book. It will bring you much needed joy.
The House in the Cerulean Sea Book Information
- Published: 2020
- ISBN: 1250217318
- Format: Paperback
- Length: 396 pages