April Genevieve Tucholke
Paranormal Young Adult
Available August 15th
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is the very definition of an atmospheric read, rich in texture where the sin of satin and the temptation of velvet make a bed of bliss for us to revel in, teased with both comfort and passion and wrapped up in a cocoon of feeling we're unwilling to share with anyone who exists outside the world Ms. Tucholke has created. This is a story that evokes a reaction not easy to put into words, one that inspires vagueness and encourages us to dance circles around any specifics – much the way River so expertly conducts his symphony of lies and half-truths – hopeful a piece of this story will remain ours alone if we don't attempt to give too much of it away.
Violet is someone whose mind and heart we don't necessarily delve deeply into despite all the time we spend with her, but she's by no means a shallow character, instead she's like a stunning gift wrapped in unassuming paper – easily overlooked by those wanting something bright and beautiful to jump out and grab their attention, but so worth the reward for those who stop and take the time to see what they can find under the seemingly reserved, lonely exterior. She's ever quiet and watchful, not someone prone to loud outbursts or drastic emotional fluctuations, rather she takes her hits on the chin or walks away to gather her thoughts before she decides how to respond to a particular situation, and we can't help but appreciate her utter lack of drama. She's not a pushover though, often directing a well-aimed cutting remark back at whomever came at her first, giving us just a few glimpses of spark before she returns to quietly smoldering embers.
River is just one of the many fascinating aspects of this tale, his character that of a broken mirror; cracked and shattered in so many places his image is repeated and distorted over and over again until we can't be sure if any of the visages we see are the person he actually is. Our minds churn frantically as we try and place him in a box bearing the label “love interest”, but with every page he puts up a bigger and bigger fight, refusing to bend or contort himself to fit where we so desperately want him to. We keep trying to pour white into his sea of endless black, hoping against hope to turn parts of him gray, knowing that in those murky areas lies a chance at redemption – a chance at being the young man the romantic in us so wants him to be – but his blackness is strong and nearly overpowers any light we try to breathe into him. He is a dangerous and strikingly addicting challenge, daring us to try and find something in him he's extraordinarily good at convincing us simply isn't there.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is absolutely gorgeous, a tale that weaves in and out of our fingers like smoke, tempting us with light caresses to reach out and grab it but disappearing just as we close our fingers, making us work that much harder and invest that much more of ourselves before showing us some of its secrets. Haunting, eerie, and darkly decadent, this debut should not be missed.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.