by April Genevieve Tucholke
To be published by Dial
On August 15, 2013
Source: ARC sent for review by publisher
Connect with the author: website.
Summary from Goodreads: 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 guesthouse 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.My take: You know that happy feeling you get when you read the first few pages of a book and just know that it's your kind of book? That's the feeling I got as I began Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. When I was a kid, I spent every boring summer reading and re-reading all the musty books in my family's basement, which included a lot of paperback Gothic romance -- you know, innocent girl who's sent to work as a governess in a creepy old house and meets a brooding, mysterious guy… I just never get tired of that stuff, from Jane Eyre to contemporary Gothic fiction.
In Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Violet White and her brother Luke are alone in their crumbling old house (nicknamed "Citizen Kane") after their flighty artist parents head off on a European trip. Money's tight, so Violet has tacked up signs in town offering their guesthouse for rent. Enter River West. He's gorgeous and mysterious and Violet is immediately drawn to him. But there's also something slightly menacing about River…something that doesn't quite add up.
The book features some elements very familiar to readers of both Gothic fiction and YA paranormal romance: a girl alone in a spooky setting, the mysterious new boy in town who will either be the love of the girl's life or kill her, etc. etc. But I loved the way that Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea both embraced these familiar tropes and slyly used them to toy with me as I read. Every page of this book was beautifully written, taut with tension and suspense, hinting at terrible things to come. The story takes place in the small town of Echo, a place with a creepy cemetery and abandoned tunnels and kids who whisper warnings about a kidnapper who snatches children. Because the reader is kept in a constant state of uncertainty about River's identity and motivation, I wouldn't exactly call this a swoon-y romance. Yes, River is a handsome, beautifully dressed guy who whips up delicious meals for Violet and sleeps chastely next to her. But isn't he too good to be true?
I absolutely loved this book. If you love Gothic fiction, beautiful writing, atmospheric stories, and suspense, then Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a must-read!
I'll be giving this away tomorrow on Freebie Friday...