The House in the Cerulean Sea – By T J Klune, Published 2020
An exquisite book, set in a slightly futuristic world where work deadens and fear rules employment, and most folks don’t think – too scary, risks are too risky. The world works just enough to keep most everyone miserable.
Linus Baker is a caseworker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, run by Extremely Upper Management. He lives one of those dead lives, and has made his caseworker decisions without regard to what happens after he decides.
Then he is sent to the far end of the country, with his cranky cat Calliope, to spend a month essentially judging whether to close down the particular and peculiar orphanage with 6 marvelously magical and gifted children with varied gifts, physical appearances, phobias and strengths. Located on an island in the ocean, it is run by Arthur Parnassus and essentially managed by a winged sprite who is chief cook and main supporter. Helping with the cooking is Lucy, one of the students / children, actually 6-year-old Lucifer, son of you-know-who.
This is a beautiful heart-wrenching and affirming story of one man’s growth, taking charge of his own life, and a story of overthrowing the bureaucracy. It is also a gay love story, not very gay (in terms of happy) until nearly the end. And a story of being different in a world that is not fond of different.
The story is magical in and of itself – beauty is everywhere in this book.