Ask a Bookseller: 'The House in the Cerulean Sea' is a feel-good read

'The House in the Cerulean Sea' book cover
"The House in the Cerulean Sea" by TJ Klune
Courtesy of MacMillan Publishers

Jolie Hughes of Morgan Hill Bookstore in New London, N.H. has a recommendation for people who want a summer read that leaves them feeling good. She points them toward TJ Klune's novel "The House in the Cerulean Sea."

Protagonist Linus Baker lives in a gray, rainy city, where he duly files his reports at his job overseeing the welfare of magical children. The only color in his life are the sunflowers around his little house and the mousepad on his desk with a beach picture that says, "Don't you wish you were here?" ("Yes, yes he does," is the book's refrain on the subject.)

Linus is assigned by Extremely Upper Management to inspect a home for magical children whose abilities have been deemed to be particularly dangerous — one of them is a child of the devil, with an appropriately diabolical sense of humor. With his trusty book of rules and regulations in hand, Linus boards the train — and arrives, for the first time, at the sea.

He finds a world full of color, with inventively magical but loveable characters who quickly fill his life with joy and some trepidation, as such attachments fly in the face of professional, distanced observation. The writing style is witty and charming, as is the gentle love story woven into the book.

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