I'm in the mood for reading lately, so here's another review!
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Title: Between the Spark and the Burn
Release date: 14th of August 2014
Series: Between #2
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Romance, Horror
Published by: Dial
Pages: 320 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it's easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he'd done both to me.
The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet's life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River's other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn't long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . . .
I’m no fan of horror or anything scary, far from it, but I was really fascinated by the first book in this two-book series. It managed to lure me in with gorgeous prose, a simple yet compelling plot and creepiness galore. There was no question on if I would take on the second one or not.
From the picturesque and the abandoned grandness of Citizen Kane, the characters are off on a road trip through one uncanny and mysterious town to another in search of River and the diabolical Brodie. With clues where to look for next coming from a supernatural sightings radio show, the gang stumbles on several dangerous situations and far off their rockers people. The atmosphere through the book remains haunting, eerie and foreboding, it felt as if the characters and the story was cut out completely from the modern world and thus no common rules applied. It helped in creating an unpredictable and frightening journey with spooky and I-kind-of-saw-something-similar-coming-but-not-like-THIS twists.
It’s somewhat surprising given the genre and my attitude towards horror that I’m very fond of this series. It’s exquisitely written and, even though on a basic level, the plot isn’t anything extraordinary, the story is special in its whole essence, the feeling it creates and in its tone of dreaminess, it simply feels different from other YA, in a class of its own which I can’t fully characterize.
Nevertheless, no matter how much I genuinely savored this story, I couldn’t stand the ending, AT ALL. It was simply unacceptable to me, the whole 180 degree turn it took regarding the romance was like waiting for a birthday present, knowing what you get, really really craving the thing you’re going to get and then to get a pair of socks instead. A quality, soft and cute pair of socks, but socks nevertheless. I didn’t like it and if it wasn’t for the whole atmosphere of the book distracting me with the stunning vocabulary and images I would have been raging when finishing the last page. In a sense it’s an open ending, in a sense it’s bittersweet, in a sense it’s just, logical and realistic (as much as you can be in this book), but I DIDIN’T want it to end that way. There is nothing more aggravating in YA than love triangles!
Another slight con: The story did get slightly odd at times, I don’t even know how to explain, and most of the time I felt the book took place in another era or world, because come on, no mobiles, no laptops, no modern technology of any kind? But, I have to admit the author is masterful in making me forget that such things even exist in the setting for this book.
Violet – She slightly annoyed me in this one, her eccentricities were more explicit to me for some reason and due to that I couldn’t really understand her. Yes, I accept that you’re an old soul, a little too tightly attached to and obsessed with anything related to your dead grandma, but she felt distant and unrelatable and I don’t think it’s only due to her being eccentric. Despite this, I think she was an intriguing and not your run-off-the-mill heroine. She definitely won’t fade from my mind so easily like all the other Mary-Sues.
River – What a delightfully creepy and cuddly boy, you really never know what was going on in his deceitful, secretive and messed up head! He had his weird moments, but I loved him as a character and feel that in a sense he got the shorter end of the stick in the story, which was unfair.
Neely – Yes, he was dependable, nice, optimistic, courageous, etc, but he was just too good to be true and didn’t really fit with the other misfits of story. Definitely more of value than River, but also, less captivating.
As I already mentioned, apart from the ending this is a wonderful YA horror book. Don’t let my complaints about the end deter you from giving it a try, because it really is a memorable story in its genre with masterful text and, honestly, having the biggest scaredy-cat get through both of them and still praise it, has got to be the best kind of recommendation.