Between the Devil and the Deep Blue SeaFeaturedHot
River West is the seventeen-year old stranger renting the guesthouse behind the rotting mansion on the sea, where Violet lives. And as eerie things start happening in Violet's town, she begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling, coffee-loving liar with rascally eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something else? Something...evil?
Violet's already so knee-deep in love she can't see straight.
And that's just how River likes it.
It's been a long time since I felt like a book was written just for me. How did April Genevieve Tulcholke know all the ways to stir my inner gothic hipster? How did she know I used to dress in my grandmother's clothes and pretend I was a temptress in the 40's? She has powers, you see. Deep, dark, authorly powers.
It's clear from the first page that DEVIL is steeped in lush, eerie prose reminiscent of the horror pro Edgar Allen Poe.
Either way you slice it, DEVIL is Poe Pro all the way.
Violet takes the reader on a tour of her sleepy, superstitious coastal town, with its slow pace and summertime rituals, as well as every nook and cranny of her cliffside, crumbling mansion. You feel so at home in Violet's world that you never want to leave. And then River West arrives, swaggering right up to the front door, dressed like a boy right out of the 20's, and you fall in love a little. Maybe even a lot. Especially when he serves you espresso and cooks you breakfast with organic eggs.
But the moment he arrives, horrible things start happening across town. Missing kids. Murder. The townsfolk believe it's the work of the devil, and they might be right. Violet's grandmother warned her about the devil, but River's smooth talk and gentle ways make it hard for Violet to heed that warning. River can charm the doubt out of anyone's mind, even the reader's. By the end of the book, you're still not sure if Violet should trust him or run screaming for her life into the hills.
I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel and uncover all the secrets Tucholke has woven here.
What left me wanting more:
Without giving too much away, I must say the ending was quite a surprise. Going back, I noticed the clues Tucholke left for the reader, but it didn't end the way I expected. In fact, I'm guessing this ending isn't even *truly* the end. I think it's another twist -- another masterful diversion, which are plentiful in DEVIL -- that will just end up blowing our minds in Book 2.
I devoured DEVIL in a handful of hours, taking breaks to just stop, close my eyes, and revel in certain sentences and scenes. Tucholke is a master of mood. This could very well be one of the few books I read multiple times just so I can keep going back to live in Violet's world.
I was sort of disappointed when I read this book; I was expecting something a little darker, with more of the horror element to it. I wasn't afraid for the characters like I have been in some other books.
I also did not like Violet enough to care about her situation and found that she made choices which were not always fully explained and thus left me confused. I did not connect to her and I actually found myself feeling empathetic towards the "villain" of the story, instead.
However, this book was not entirely disappointing. While I love angels, vampires, werewolves, etc.., I appreciated that the author chose to deviate from the stereotypical YA novel's cut-out paranormal type characters and try something a little more original.
I recommend this book to those who are looking to expand away from the angels/vampires/werewolves in many of the other current YA books.
this review can also be found at http://fortheloveofbooksreviews.blogspot.ca/2015/03/between-devil-and-deep-blue-sea-by.html
As for the characters, I don’t get any of them. I felt the writing left much to be desired, both with the story and the characters. Maybe it adds to the charm of the Gothic by letting nearly all the characters get sudden bursts of seriousness, but such moments get quite creepy. Violet, the main protagonist, is quite frustrating. She is naive and smart, but morbid and romanticizes nearly everything. River is quite smooth – strike that, all the guys in this book are smooth, grabbing hands and what not – and she can’t really stop herself from drowning in his lurve. Even after knowing the truth, she still can’t let go of her feelings – which may or may not be manufactured. I wouldn’t say I like her but I liked the way her character developed with it’s flaws. Sunshine – god, was she a cliche – the seductive best friend who gets nearly killed. But Brodie takes the cake on the most frustrating characters ever met – he is supposed to be this evil antagonist but in reality is just a psychopathic preteen drunk on power. About River, well, he was two murders short of joining Brodie on the insane side but mostly I didn’t like his character for the fact that nothing out of his mouth can be trusted. Also, he likes to manipulate people and is remorseless about it, no matter his resolution at the end. I also didn’t get what the deal was with the Devil sprinkled throughout the prose – since the evil is quite human in origin. I thought it was sinister in the way supernatural horror would be, but in some scenes it just feels like a slasher flick. The Gothic feel was certainly there but the characters are quite frustrating. The story was okay, but the writing was inclined more towards setting up the atmosphere rather than story progression. Overall, an okay book but I wasn’t just satisfied with it.
And some things are definitely worth the weight.
It wasn't creepy like I expected it to be, it was more of a mind-warp; a confusing yet alluring book.
I hated Luke, and I don't think I will like him ever. Sunshine didn't really bring much to the plot, but she wasn't irritating to have around.
Violet was sometimes clueless and very naive.
It was those Redding brothers that made me stick around. (yes, even that creepy little one). Their life and back story was hella interesting. Once everything started to fall in place, I knew this wouldn't be a story I was soon to forget.
Now I'm ready for the second one!
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea has many things I love: A distinct Gothic feel, a book chock-full of siblings(I love exploring sibling relationships), and enough creepiness to be nightmare-inducing. However, it also has plenty of tropes I hate: a insta-love relationship(which I was almost on board with because of the paranormal aspect until about 3/4 of the way through the book), and a trope I can’t really talk about for fear of spoilers but I HATE. The combination of these things–some of my greatest loves in literature, and some of my deepest hatreds–left me with quite a mixed feeling.
I will say that I loved the prose in Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Tucholke really captured the creepiness of the book with the way she turned words. It made my reading quite a visual experience, for which I wasn’t always glad. Even now I can still picture a cemetery full of children, all hunting for the devil, intent on a mission. The location and description is enough to sufficiently creep me out. I also thought that the timelessness that is so often present in this genre was captured well. It’s set in modern day, from what I can tell, but it could have easily been set twenty or thirty years ago. The huge, spooky house, the town flavor–I was a HUGE fan of the writing, even if not always the plot. Even though, I will say that Tucholke has a certain affinity for one of my least favorite often used phrases: “the crooked smile”. I counted it used at least four times in this book, and that’s the unofficial tally. It’s a small thing, but I’m still not a fan of that phrase.
The characters in this book aren’t likable, but they held my interest so much. Violet is insufferable at times, and pretentious, but her concern for her family and her relationship with her grandmother kept her grounded in at least “interesting narrator” territory. Not a character I’d like to emulate(I mean, she thought A Rose for Emily by Faulkner was a romantic story), but her characterization didn’t bother me too much. River is every bit the enigma presented in the summary–What’s he really doing? Is he who he says he is? Why are all these awful things happening? And while I did think these two central characters were 3-dimension, I can’t say I feel the same way about all the secondary characters. Violet’s brother, Luke, and neighbor, Sunshine, never quite seemed to have any depth to me. Towards the end, Luke was beginning to gain on this a little, but it was a bit too little, too late.
However, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s plot was it’s saving grace. The plot was amazing, and kept me turning pages and pages to figure out all the mysteries presented in the novel. The paranormal aspects, the Gothic atmosphere, all these things rolled up into one plot that was a heck of a page turner. I was waiting with baited breath until the big reveal.
Which is perhaps why the end was so disappointing to me. I can’t say without spoiling it, but the ending really did use one of my least favorite “plot reveals”. It’s the thing I’ve always thought of as a cliche, and I’ve really only enjoyed one book that used it. After that plot twist was revealed, the suspense was gone, because that cliche can only ever end one way. I really did enjoy Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, but the ending left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth.
Final Impression: I’m pretty split overall on Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. I really loved the writing style and most of the plot, but the characters weren’t the best and it did use some of my least favorite tropes. While some things didn’t bother me as much, I really disliked the ending for using what I consider an over-used cliche, especially in the genre. I enjoyed my reading of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, but it’s not a book I would recommend to someone who wants to start reading in the Gothic horror genre.
I've seen mixed feelings toward this novel, but I thought it was very well written. The imagery was absolutely wonderful. As I progressed through it's pages, I could almost feel the chill from the ocean seeping into me as the story grew darker and darker. I really wanted to live in the ambiance that the narrative created. And I think the characters were just as well developed. I've already stated how much I love the main character, but her brother, her friend Sunshine, and River especially, all had layers to them. And moving onto River--where do I start. I was feeling everything that Violet was feeling when she was feeling it. I assumed that River was the "Devil" that was being referenced in the title, but when he showed up with his vintage suitcases, I didn't care. And neither did Violet.
When it came to the plot, I didn't really know what to expect. I gave up trying to guess because I knew I wouldn't be able to get it right. But what I loved so much about the story was how everything came together. Half way through the novel, there were so many side stories and comments being thrown around that not only did I forget some of them, the rest I thought were just background information. Until they came into play later on. And the ending. I should have been able to predict some of it, but like I said, I thought some of it wasn't important. The ending was super creepy and very well written. Let's just say that someone shows up who might just be the Devil himself, he was so evil. And the explanation for why, I thought was plausible, which doesn't always happen when it comes to villains. They all have reasons for their actions and flaws just like everyone else.
Overall, I really enjoyed Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. I don't think it's for everyone (my mom was kind of creeped out that I enjoyed it as much as I did), but I am a sucker for gothic ambiance and creeptastic villains. I am really looking forward to book two and I really hope it retains the same feeling that Between did.
ARC received from Penguin Teen
Release Date: 8-15-2013
Reviewed by Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Enchanting, Grotesque, and Utterly Beautiful
Have you ever been completely swept away by the magic of a book? I mean, the kind of swept away that leaves you breathless and aching and dying for more? Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was that book for me. Reading it was like hearing a noise in the dead of the night and getting up to check it out. It’s the fear that lingers after looking into the deepest recesses of the dark and finding nothing, but just knowing, something is there. Lurking. Biding its time. April Genevieve Tucholke’s world is both monstrous and beautiful, with whispers in the dark and monsters in the shadows and stolen kisses in the night. I’ve never read anything like it. Her world has unequivocally and irrevocably placed a shadow on mine, and I can only dream about finding myself, once more, caught between her Devil and the raging sea.
From page 1, I felt completely and utterly immersed in April’s world, and for the hours it took me to read it, I wanted to be nowhere else. Even after I was done, I wanted to plunge head first back into the tumultuous world of secrets and devils. I could smell the sea salt lingering in the humid air, feel the cool breeze wafting in from the cliffs, and feel the thumping in my heart that accompanies unbridled fear. I loved the picturesque town that April built—it was enchanting and dangerous—like the imaginations of Bram Stoker and Emily Bronte and William Faulkner merged together to create a quietly deceptive town with its own brand of madness. I could picture every part of it, from the decaying mansion on the edge of the sea, down to the crunch of the rocks on the paths into town. Wild and treacherous and full of darkness, the town of Echo is truly a masterpiece of all things that go bump in the night.
I absolutely adored Violet, our main character. She was off-kilter and perceptive, and I loved how she could sit outside in the sun and read Hawthorne and quote poems and see right into someone’s soul. I felt her turmoil and her desires, and I loved watching her struggle with her own sense of right and wrong. I loved watching her come to her own conclusions about River, and more than that, I loved how she pushed aside truths for her gut instincts. I felt each emotion as it poured out of her. I loved her strange sense of fashion (wearing her dead grandmother’s younger clothes), and how she didn’t care about what anyone else thought. She was strong and confident, but allowed herself to be scared when she really needed to be scared. I loved everything about her—she is definitely a heroine that I will long remember.
And then there’s River West. His name just rolls of the tongue with spice, but you know he’s one of those spices that will leave your mouth burning for hours. He’s hot and cold, up and down, and the secret that he holds is definitely a doozy. But with a name like River and a smile that could light up the night sky, who cares about deadly and terrifying secrets? I loved River because he is one of those perfect gothic men that walk a fine line between good and evil, but when it comes straight down to it, you just don’t know which side he favors. He reminded me of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights because he could be the cruelest of cruel with a smile on his face, the Devil in sheep’s clothing. Yet, there is something about him that makes you want to wrap your arms around him and never let him go. He’s the bad guy that you can’t help but fall in love with, he’s the troubled guy that can’t be fixed, he’s the guy your mother warned you about. He’s the Devil that holds your hands and kisses your cheeks and makes you want everything and nothing and then everything again. He’s Trouble, and don’t you just love it?
I also loved April’s minor characters—Jack, Sunshine, and Neely. They each had a personality all their own, and they brought life to the story. They all fit perfectly into this gothic tale of love and horror, and none of them will escape unscathed. Watching their horrors and triumphs and losses was heart-breaking and amazing.
It’s been a while since a book was able to worm its way into my heart of hearts and put up for a permanent residence, but this book has done it. It’s the perfect mix of horror and romance, and I just couldn’t get enough of River and Violet. April’s writing was gorgeous in every aspect, and she brought the small town of Echo to both life and death. T.S. Eliot wrote, “Between the idea and the reality Between the motion and the act Falls the shadow.” I can’t help but think this describes April’s world perfectly—a place that exists between now and then, between love and hate, between life and death. A place that exists in the shadows, in the dark and with the Devil.
“There’s truths and then there’s truths, Violet. And some damn truths shouldn’t be spoken out loud, or the Devil will her, and then he’ll come for you. Amen.” PG 4
"People said time was relative, and I guess that explained why my life before River felt line a handful of seconds--brief flashes of small events that added up to very little. But my life after River was a three-volume saga. Epic. With quests and villains and murderers and unsatisfactory resolutions and people being torn apart." Pg 364
"River leaned over me, wrapped his fingers around my neck, and pulled my ear to his lips. "I'll make you dinner when I get back, and afterward, I'll be answering questions,' he whispered." Pg 132