Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Published: August 15th, 2013 by Dial
Source: Purchased for Audible
Format: Audio book narrated by Jorjeana Marie
Genre: Paranormal | Mystery | Horror
Group age: YA (older)
Grade rate: C+
You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand… Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.
Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back.
Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it. Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.
Hmmm… I’m not sure how to go about describing this one. I think I was expecting something different from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It turned out to be quite creepy, with a touch of horror to boot.
The story is strange and unrealistic. Yes, I understand it is fiction, but I just didn’t buy it. For starters Violet and Luke’s parents just up and take off for Europe leaving the 16-year-old twins by themselves and that seems to be okay with everyone in the small town of Echo. These teenagers seem to be gallivanting all over the place without any supervision. Then Violet decides to put their guest house for rent and takes in the first boy that asks about the house (it happens to be River), a total stranger! Then, even if strange things happen around River and Violet affirms that she doesn’t trust him, she still lets herself be kissed silly and then gets in bed with him (not what you’re thinking though)! When a man commits suicide in front of everyone, Violet decides to go and get his son Jack to stay with them before the police takes him away and everyone is okay with this too. The unbelievable things just keep mounting one on top of the other.
I’m not sure what to think about the characters either. Violet is naïve and too trusting, but she tries to do her best since she was put in an impossible situation. Luke is a little more realistic, he gives his sister a hard time, but that’s what brothers are for, right? He is into girls (*duh*) and he honestly likes his sister and cares for her. River is very strange. He has his own twisted sense of what is right and wrong and he loves to play god. He is very conceited and not the best person to know either. Let me spell something for you Violet: murder is wrong!!! Instant-love just doesn’t work here at all. The only sensible person might have been Violet and Luke’s grandmother Freddie, and she has been dead for four years when the story starts.
The writing is good, but I found the over use of simile and metaphor exhausting to keep up with. Maybe Tucholke was aiming for gothic and lyrical, but it didn’t quite accomplish it. The plot is good, I did like the sense of urgency, and mystery and I did not see the ending coming at all. Strange, creepy, horrific things happen at every turn. The ending is inconclusive, with River going away on his own to resolve a big problem; but hey! That’s what sequels are for, right?
All in all, I will still read Between the Spark and The Burn, due to be published in August, if only to know what happens with River and his glow at the end.