Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Release Date: August 15, 2013
Publisher: Dial
Series: Between, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: ALA 2013
Buy: Amazon  The Book Depository
Goodreads Website

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.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was one of my most coveted books of 2013. When I finally got my hands on a copy at ALA 2013, I just about died from the sheer gorgeousness of the cover. In person, and even on a slightly bent ARC, it's still beautiful and I'd spent ages just admiring it before actually reading it. I finished reading the book during one flight, and all I can say is this: while I did enjoy it, I didn't love it.

Yup, you heard me.

I really tried to love this book, trust me. With the promise of devils and a gothic setting I was sold, but I found that it fell short. It had too much insta-love, and the plot didn't make much sense here and there. It was almost like Twilight: a paranormal love interest, a girl who doesn’t exactly fit in, and dark secrets. I didn't get the paranormal part of the book as well. I wanted the Devil, but all I got was confusion and reasons that didn't make much sense.

The setting is absolutely gorgeous. I was reminded of Dark Shadows (the movie) and I constantly kept picturing the town and the big mansion in the movie in the place of Echo and Citizen Kane (Violet's home) respectively. The author's writing was a little slow, but it matched the atmosphere and characters’ surroundings. The food descriptions certainly had my stomach grumbling. However, I feel like you need to have watched some old movies or at least know some old actors and actresses pretty well to get the author’s writing. Same for the books mentioned in the novel. There’s quite a few allusions, and if you haven’t even heard of some of them then you might end up confused or would have to resort to googling everything that’s mentioned. It sometimes could be a little tedious, the name dropping in this book. I get that the main character is not like a typical teenager but jeez, don’t need to push how different and indie and non-mainstream she is, or how archaic the town is– which it is surprisingly. I thought this was contemporary, so I’m surprised with the lack of technology present in the novel. Again, confusing.

And I prayed to Freddie about the Devil. I asked her to keep my hand out of his. I asked her to keep me safe from evil.
But, for all my praying, the Devil still found me.
–p. 5, ARC*
*text is subject to change in the final version

I. didn’t. like. River. Sue me. He seemed kind of arrogant at times and it was really off-putting. I wasn’t too big a fan of Violet either because of how she’s willing to see past all that River’s done and how easily she accepts everything. I actually ended up liking Luke, because he seemed “real”, other than the sexism and pig-headedness. Jack was a cool character, and so was Neely. Both have an interesting role in the story, and can’t wait to see more in the next book.

Even though I didn’t like some bits of the book, I’ll definitely be picking up Between the Spark and the Burn, partially because of the cover, and also because there’ll be more Neely. Sultry, seductive and dark, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a gothic paranormal that will attract fans of Dracula. Tucholke’s prose is beautiful and will have readers trailing every word.

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