Some YA again :)
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Series: Between #1
Release date: 15th of August 2013
Published by: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Imprint: Dial Books
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, YA
Pages: 360 in Hardback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository
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.
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.
I’m the most sensitive scaredy-cat. I always put all the lights on when going to the toilet at night, being home alone can be stressing during the night, I can’t even watch a minute from a horror movie without being agitated for at least a couple of days, and after reading from other review that this book was definitely a no-no for after sundown reading pleasure and is meant for sunny and happy days, I was slightly nervous. BUT, while there were plenty of reasons, I wasn’t scared under my blanket because of the happenings as I thought I would be. And that is a good thing!
First things first – this book impressed me in several ways, due to which I can confidently say that I loved it, but it also disappointed me on a couple of occasions with aspects that let a lot of wind out of this high soaring balloon of YA greatness.
The writing was excellent, descriptive without being boring, keeping me on the edge of the seat without giving too much away, the dialogue flowed and what I loved the most was how everything came alive in the book – as in the house, the town, other important locations the story introduced us to, the characters – it felt real.
The horror factor wasn’t as toned up as I was expecting, but there still were some creepy, bloody, disgusting and flat out scary settings and situations. And I absolutely loved how River was always in the middle of everything. But more on him later.
I liked how the characters were created and was more than grateful that while still somewhat cliché in the YA scene they managed to be odd, unique, wacky, eerie, likable, distinct and intriguing in their own way. The first place, however, goes to River. He was a creepy and suspicious dude, but oh so compelling and charming that it was slightly bordering on scary and uncomfortable.
The final villain, sigh, I was really expecting something epic, but it wasn’t even near the case. Then again, it wasn’t too shabby, but it didn’t really go with the flow, atmosphere and mysterious setting of the first half of the book. The baddie and everything else up to that point were like two pieces of a different puzzle, they didn’t fit. And also too much empowerment is never a good thing.
I respect Violet for not buying any of River’s lies, even tough, she gave in and let him overwhelmed and seduce her so that she at least gave him the benefit of the doubt. She still kept her backbone and fought River all the way, not keeping anything for herself and telling everything what she thought about him and his wicked ways. Her mind was against him, but her feelings for him were in conflict with her head. I was slightly put off by her attachment to her dead grandma and wearing her clothes, etc, but I decided to take that as a quick of hers and not let it bother me too much. Generally, I liked her.
River was so bad but so good. He was a perpetual liar – I loved the way he deceived everyone and lied like it was already an art form, at one point I had no idea what to believe or not, it just came so effortlessly to him. I loved that about him. He was morally ambiguous and on such thin ice with the questions is he evil or not. He was complicated and hard to figure out or believe in. He was a great character!
I was really impressed and liked this book a lot. Different yet familiar. An interesting take and context for your usual YA. Great characters and setting. I recommend, despite, the cons.