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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke (Review)

Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Gothic, Thriller
Publication.Date  August 15th 2013
Published By:  Dial
Author's GRApril Genevieve Tucholke 

Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:

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.

"There's truths and then there's truths, Violet. And some damn truths shouldn't be spoken out loud, or the Devil will hear, and then he'll come for you. Amen."
Again and again, I would feel him, the Devil, breathing down my neck. I would spin around and no one would be there... except a quiet, creeping little kid, holding two sharpened twigs in his hands.
The dead are all around us, Freddie used to say. So don't you go being afraid of the dead, Violet. And if you aren't afraid of the dead, then you aren't afraid of dying. And if you aren't afraid of dying, then the only damn thing you have to be afraid of is the Devil. And that's the way it should be.
Lots of people have bad stories, and if they wail and sob and tell their story to anyone who'll listen, it's crap. Or half crap, at least. The stuff that really hurts people, the stuff that almost breaks them... that they won't talk about. Ever.
River shrugged. "Ignorance is bliss. Why not just sit back and take what comes? That is an option, you know. You can just ignore all these questions that are taking up space in that blond head of yours, and come with me to bed. Let me wrap my arms around you, and we'll both sleep the sleep of the blissful. And ignorant. Me, without my nightmares, and you, without your answers.

     Edgy, gritty and sophisticated, April Genevieve Tucholke's debut novel simply blew me away. Not everyone will find it to their taste, but those who appreciate stories with ghastly Gothic atmosphere, gorgeous Southern settings, long buried secrets and truly unique characters will definitely love it

     Once I started Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, I didn't put it down until I was finished, and I cherished every reading minute of it. I haven't read anything quite like it in a very long time. Tucholke did a marvellous job depicting the hot Southern atmosphere. This book is dark and irresistible, and has a great classic/vintage-y feel to it. Fans of Nova Ren Suma's Imaginary Girls or Kenneth Oppel's The Apprenticeship Of Victor Frankenstein will be delighted to discover this one!

     Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea succeeds on so many different levels. From the extremely well-developed and colorful characters, powerful imagery and evocative symbolism, to the thick and dark atmosphere that wraps itself around you like a late night fog - it's a work of genius. It's hands down my favorite read this month, and definitely one of the most extraordinary and memorable YA books I have ever read

     The beauty of this book lies in the riveting, seductive narrative-voice. Violet's voice is sharp and compelling. Reflective and completely addicting. It makes you lose yourself in the story. It's not too descriptive, though it definitely feeds your imagination with lush details and spot-on observations. You can't exactly call it lyrical, as it's rather simple and straight-forward, but it definitely FEELS lyrical, in that it's hypnotizing and mesmerizing

     Undeniably, this is a book that requires "the willing suspension of disbelief", in that it's vaguely supernatural and has some truly terrifying unnatural characters. at the same time, while dark and unsettling, it's still quite realistically spooky. The missing children, the local legend of the old crazy man who hides in the dark underground tunnel, waiting for his next victim to come close enough to drag them deep into the dark, the mystery surrounding River and his family, all the unsettling and bizarre things that start happening after he shows up.. it's all truly scary and fascinating. All throughout, this book is intense and exciting, but the fabulous crescendo ending is undeniably the best part of it - it leaves you breathless. There's no preparing for it. I totally did not see it coming. The ending is shocking and completely unpredictable. I am counting days, hours and minutes to the release of the next book in this phenomenal series!

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