Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between #1)
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Macmillan)
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: August 15, 2013
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've always imagined that winning the lottery is an exciting and pulse-pounding experience. Until the people and things around you become creepy, and then downright scary. When all the family starts showing up with their secrets and airing of dirty laundry, things start to go downhill. Finally, the batshit crazy muthatrucker that nobody has ever heard of comes along, demanding things and waving his gun around, pretty much ruining any good times to be had for everyone. This lottery metaphor pretty much sums up April Genevieve Tucholke's debut, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
Violet and Luke White already have money... Well, they came from money, so they don't suffer from the sudden wealth from a lottery win. They are so broke with their parents in Europe that they are forced to rent out their guesthouse. Violet is socially awkward and has only two friends, so a love interest and ally in the new renter is like a windfall for her. Having River around and interested in her - not the sexy neighbor, Sunshine - is exhilarating for the girl. Well, until things get weird.
Apparitions in dark tunnels? Check. Ghosts communing with the living? Check. Kids running around the cemetery with stakes, claiming to have seen the Devil himself there? Check. (That's where creepy starts going scary.)
To this point, it all works for Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It's mysterious and exciting. Sure, there's an instalove, but I like Violet - let her have it. She's a good kid, she'll figure out how messed up the situation is. But who always comes along, ruining such a wonderful evening? Yep, you guessed it - the family.
I like secrets and drama as much as the next person, but there were enough family members popping into this story to put The Bold and the Beautiful (an American soap opera) to shame. (And I don't think Violet and Luke's grandmother was named "Freddie" - it was Brooke Forrester, I shit you not.) And as with any soap opera worth its salt, things got strange and silly very quickly.
As I would with winning the lottery, I enjoyed Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea until the family showed up. They were tiresome and distracted from the story. It was creepy, chilly, and suspenseful until about sixty percent of the way in, when it just got absurd. Sometimes, family just ruins everything. Being as it was an ARC that I was reading, hopefully the final copy was cleaned up.
While Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was not a lottery win for me, I do think Tucholke is a writer worth watching. I'll give the sequel a chance, and I'll be keeping an eye out for any future projects for her. There are a lot of positive reviews for Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and I recommend that you check some of them out.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
This book counts toward my completion of the Debut Author Challenge.