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BOOK REVIEW: “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” by April Genevieve Tucholke


Happy Sunday everyone! We’re starting the week off with a BOOK REVIEW!

The Book


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 guest house 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.

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The Review

About a year ago I saw the movie Beautiful Creatures. I loved how the story unraveled and the characters kept me interested. Reading Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea has a similar feel.

Once again, you get a story set in a small town with characters that seem older than their given ages. Much like in Kami Garcia’s book, the parents aren’t relevant to the story. In Between the Devil, they are conveniently absent. When they do appear, they are no more important than the wallpaper disintegrating in the mausoleum of the house known as Citizen Kane.

Violet White, the main character in this sleepy little spot, has big dreams and lives with her head in the clouds. She’s mourning the loss of her beloved grandmother, yearning for a way to occupy her long summer, and figure out a way to make ends meet. Where I appreciated Violet’s determination, I wasn’t a hundred percent in her corner. She made erroneous decisions that might not have been made had she had adults in her life.

River West is one of my favorite characters in Between the Devil. I love how Tucholke handled this mysterious young man. At times you didn’t know whether to believe him or not. At other times, you hoped he was lying again. When I learned he was starting to lose control over his “ability”, I felt bad for him. He seems to be a victim of heredity. More importantly, he has a untapped wealth of bravado. I’m interested in discovering where it might take him.

Without giving anything away, there are two antagonists in Between the Devil. One of them is a victim of heredity (not River) and the other propagated the chaos that spills onto the tiny town of Echo. Read the book and it will make sense to you.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was the debut novel of Tucholke (released in 2013). It’s one of those tales that could make an interesting movie, especially if the screen play marries book one and two (I’m reading it now). Although it starts a little slow, it’s an intriguing tale with complex characters. If you’re a fan of Gothic tales, this is one to add to your To Be Read list.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

518clQe74hL._UX250_About the Author


April Genevieve Tucholke is the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Between the Spark and the Burn, and Wink Poppy Midnight. She also curated the horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. Her next novel is The Boneless Mercies, coming fall 2018. She has received five starred reviews and her novels have been chosen for the Junior Library Guild, Kids’ Indie Next picks, YALSA Teens Top Ten, and YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults. When she’s not writing, April likes walking in the woods with her two cheerful dogs, exploring abandoned houses, and drinking expensive coffee. She has lived in many places around the world, and currently resides in Oregon with her husband.

Learn more about her at:           Website     Twitter     Instagram

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