“We should always make time for the things we like. If we don’t, we might forget how to be happy.”

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

‘The House in the Cerulean Sea’ by TJ Klune is an adorable and warm feel-good novel that everyone should read


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. 


What a heart-warming story! I really enjoyed this one. The House in the Cerulean Sea was filled with charming characters, both children and adults, with so much quirkiness, and a touch of romance, and was just an overall sweet and soft read.

I’m not used to reading such a character-driven book. I flew through this story. I briefly wondered “when something was going to happen” since The House in the Cerulean Sea depends on its characters and we don’t get to know them all right away.

I loved the behaviour of the main characters Linus and Arthur immensely. It was great to see how much importance they give to the children’s feelings. To the importance they give to the feelings of belonging and acceptance.

The way they built the love story was great. We get crumbs of the love story throughout The House in the Cerulean Sea and that was – for that book – perfect. Little by little, we get to know these characters and TJ Klune handles this tremendously well.

I think The House in the Cerulean Sea is a unique book. The representation in this book was also excellent.

I would love to read a second book about these characters. Maybe one set 10 years later?

Would I recommend it?

If you like to read a real YA book, I would definitely recommend this one.


Rating: 4 out of 5.



Trigger warnings
Abuse (mentioned), anxiety (trauma-related), bigotry, body shaming, bullying, child abuse (backstory), fatphobia (internalized), homophobia, microaggressions, queerphobia, violence (against children)
Fat main and side characters, gay main character, black character, queer side characters, M/M relationship, F/F relationship
Urban Fantasy
Publication date
March 17th 2020
Tor Book
About the author
TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.

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