Literacy 2021: Book 1: The House in the Cerulean Sea

I’m going back through the books I’ve read in 2021, so I have all my synopses in one place that’s not Goodreads.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Magical realist gay romance, possibly young adult?

A downtrodden case worker charged with inspecting orphanages for magical children is assigned to a special house that changes his life.

Earnest, compassionate, and for lack of a better word, “wholesome.” Adult gay romance that’s treated matter-of-factly instead of as the source for all the conflict. The parallels between prejudice against magical youth and prejudice against homosexuals is left implicit. The book is good at establishing mood, and its ending feels deserved.

Everything is turned up a bit higher than I’d like, and everything is a bit too broad for my taste. The main character’s life is miserable, his workplace and bosses are horrible, the good guys are near flawless. Characters meant to be endearing are often really grating. The ending feels deserved, but is also entirely predictable.

I hate being down on this book since it’s so well-intentioned, but it just didn’t work for me. It took me forever to get through it. Reading it felt like developing a dislike for someone who’s perfectly fine, but is just a little too nice and not very funny.