Deeply atmospheric with morally ambiguous characters
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher: Faber and Faber, UK
My ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Released: 3rd April, 2014
Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea was one of the highly anticipated books on NetGalley. So when I got a copy from the UK publishers I was thrilled. As this book had mixed reviews I was torn as to read this or not but I’m glad I did. Violet White lives at this old manor house on the West Coast in a sleepy town filled with its own share of legends and stories. Her twin brother and her frenemy, Summer, spend their time around the crumbling gothic manor on the cliff. Then one day comes the mysterious boy named River West who wants to rent a room in the gloomy, dark and seemingly haunted mansion. But for some reason Violet is really taken in by River. Every time she sees him, she likes him more and she imagines herself madly in love with him but can she truly ignore the series of weird attacks and murders happening in the town coinciding with River’s arrival?
I know why some people did not enjoy Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It is not everybody’s cup of tea. Not only is the heroine stupid, there is insta love and even a hint of a love triangle in a seemingly boring and slow moving plot. And that is exactly why I loved this book. I hate the above cliché’s as much as any adult YA reader but this book needed the above to make the story work.
The plot seems to be slow but important events are happening at the same time. Events, which sent a chill down my spine and gave goose bumps. Violet is incredibly naïve and trust worthy and feels this inexplicable attraction to River. Even if she can’t put a finger on what exactly she should be worried about but she falls for him anyway. She freaking sleeps (only sleep ok) with him after she has known him for a few hours.
There are two things which I loved about this book which were the morally ambiguous characters whom I wasn’t sure I liked or hated and then there was the atmosphere which felt like the author painted stroke by stroke and added each element to the scene unfolding in front of me. I could imagine the wooden shutters of the flapping against the wind and smelled the salted air from the sea. Imagine the sleepy town and see the cemetery with the trees which seems to have a life of their own and the tombstones with family secrets on them.
And there was Freddie. She was Violet’s Grandmother who was long dead but could very well have been alive with the roles she played in Violet’s life. At one point I was sure Freddie will rise from her grave and come to haunt Violet.
Overall, Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea is an incredibly atmospheric book, with multidimensional characters, with writing which will make you look over your shoulder. It is a perfect book to curl up and read preferably deep into a winter night where you keep telling yourself to read a few more pages just so you know what these characters will do next.
ARC received by Faber and Faber, UK, via NetGalley