Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Series: Between #1
Publication Date: August 15, 2013
Source/Format: Library / Hardcover, 360 pages
Opening Sentence: “‘You stop fearing the Devil when you’re holding his hand.'”
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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.
I just want to start this off by saying that Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was basically nothing like I was expecting. That’s not to say it was bad but the synopsis and even the title are a little bit misleading. While I was expecting something to do with an actual devil —that is, a devil in the religious sense—it was more of a “Devil” in the main character’s eyes.
The story itself is rather interesting but I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t have a little bit of trouble getting into it… because I did. There was actually a long stretch of time where I didn’t even touch the book at all. I’ll allow that a couple of outside forces caused it, but I didn’t really feel like I was missing anything. I could’ve dropped the book completely and never finished reading it and I don’t know that it would have been a problem. Forgetting about my preconceived thoughts about what the story would be, though, I was rather impressed by the author’s imagination and storytelling. I know I say this a lot but I’m not sure that I’ve ever read anything quite like this book before.
Overall, I did like the story but I actually did have a few big problems with the book. I know it was explained in the storytelling but I feel like the main character’s parents were just completely nonexistent. Realistically with the parents just abandoning their children and the entire town knowing it I’m pretty sure somebody would’ve called Child Protective Services instead of just ignoring it. I sort of felt like the parents being gone was convenient for the story and the author made up some reason for their absence to support it.
That aside, there was only one or two other things that I’ve found problematic. I felt like there was a lot of the author in the story. I find it very hard to believe that this teenager was so set in the past. Whether her grandmother was from that time period or not I just felt like the author’s knowledge of old movies and things like that leaks into the story quite a lot and in more than one character. I guess what I’m trying to say is the characters could have been more dynamic and rounded out. I saw a lot of common characteristics in several of the characters, so while they were good overall, they had too many similarities for me.
Overall I had a decent time reading this novel but I don’t know that I would read it again. I know I most likely will read the sequel just to figure out what is going to happen but I’m not going to go on a crusade to get the ARC ahead of time. The end of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea seemed very “perfect”, if you will, and that made it feel a little bit dull.
If you like paranormal I recommend giving this book a try. It wasn’t as creepy as I was expecting it to be or as people were saying it is but there are definitely some creepy aspects to it. All in all though it’s mostly just weird. And I’m not sure if that’s any good or bad way.