Bourke’s Bookshelf: ‘Home is where you feel like yourself’

This week's featured read is "The House in the Cerulean Sea" by TJ Klune.

The House in the Cerulean Sea
"The House in the Cerulean Sea" by TJ Klune.

I’ll admit, I hopped on the bandwagon with this read.

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I joined a large book group on Facebook around the beginning of the year, and I’ve enjoyed scrolling through to see what kinds of books people from around the world are reading (and lusting after all the fabulous in-home libraries).

There are certain books and authors that come up on the page again and again, a recent one I started noticing was “The House in the Cerulean Sea.” Many readers billed it as a story that made them both laugh and cry and in some cases rekindled their love of reading.

All the hype made me add it to my list, so I downloaded the audiobook from CloudLibrary for my last drive to and from the Twin Cities.

‘The House in the Cerulean Sea’ by TJ Klune (2020)

In a world where magic exists and those with extraordinary abilities are forced to register themselves with the government, relations among the magical and non-magical are shaky at best.


Linus Baker is a social worker of sorts, following up on incident reports at orphanages for magical children. Though he lives a somewhat solitary, lonely existence, Linus is content with where he’s at in life and is less than thrilled when his bosses at Extremely Upper Management peg him for a highly classified job.

Before he knows it, Linus finds himself on a picturesque island, where he must determine if the six inhabitants of a little-known orphanage are properly cared for or if they’re a danger to themselves and the world at large.

Linus is in no way prepared for what he’s about to walk into.

There’s a reason he’s never heard of this place before. The children are so unusual, the government has paid off the nearby villagers to keep quiet about who lives on the island.

But the children aren’t the only residents Linus must keep an eye on. There’s also Arthur Parnassus, who runs the orphanage and will fight for his charges every step of the way, no matter what the government says.

There’s something about Arthur, though. Something intriguing that Linus can’t quite put his finger on. As the two men get to know one another better, Linus senses there’s more going on at the orphanage than he initially thought. But just how much of it should he report back to his superiors? And where on earth would these children go if the orphanage were to close?

Linus gets much more than he bargained for on his unexpected assignment, and it’s unlikely his life will ever be the same.

I didn’t quite cry like some of my bookworm peers, but I did laugh in the way you can’t but help when faced with the antics of children, and the story tugged at my heartstrings just the right amount to get me highly invested in all the characters.


THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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