Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

August 5, 2013 Book Review, YA, Young Adult 33 ★★★★

I received this book for free from ARC Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue SeaBetween the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Series: Between #1
Published by Dial on August 15th 2013
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Paranormal
Format: ARC
Source: ARC Tour
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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.

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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Admittedly, the reason I wanted to read this book the most was because when I see the words romance and Devil in the same synopsis, I expect a forbidden type love with the ultimate bad boy, which is something that intrigues me beyond belief. Oh there is definitely a bad boy in Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, but there is so much more to this story than just that!

Violet, along with her twin brother Luke, are living in a broken down estate on the edge of a cliff above the sea. Alone, due to their parents and their neglectful trips out of the country to work on their art, these two find themselves in desperate need of money for food and supplies for their home. Vi places an ad out for someone to rent out their guesthouse, but she never expected who showed up at her door, cash in hand, needing a place to stay.

River is the Devil in disguise, or so it seems. He breezes into Violet’s life with a classic grace and beauty, but mysterious, oh so mysterious. River has perfected the art of persuasion and charm, but also deflection, choosing to keep the details of his life a secret. River is the ultimate lying liar who lies, basically. You cannot trust a single word that comes out of the boy’s mouth. But there is something about him that draws Violet’s affection. They hit it off, quickly, and even though it sorta kinda bugged me, it also added to the mysterious presence River had in this story because I wasn’t entirely sure Violet was falling for him on her own or if he was somehow influencing her. I found myself hoping that it was his influence, because otherwise, I could not fathom her attraction to this boy, due to the horrible things he has done/does do.  Because of this affect on her, it was hard to really get a strong grasp on my feelings for Violet. I wasn’t sure if she was being super naive or what. I kept yelling at her, “DANGER, DANGER!” Sometimes she had a firm grasp on how crazy things were and wasn’t totally oblivious and other times I wanted to hit her to snap her out of the spell River so easily cast upon her…

There were some really great secondary characters. Luke, her twin brother, ugh he was a total jackass. But I could not find it in me to hate him, ever. He was the full of himself, obsessed with girls type. They fought and annoyed each other, like siblings do, but there was a softer side that truly cared for his sister and missed his family. Their deceased grandmother, Freddie, had quite the presence in the plot, even though she was dead. Violet was always thinking of her, wearing her old clothes, and was even obsessed with finding old letters she may have left behind in the house. Jack, Neely and Sunshine were also really well placed characters that added to the plot in ways that left me suspicious, laughing and nervous. My emotions were truly all over the place with this book, I tell ya!

I’m going to be really vague about the plot here because there is quite the mystery of events that led to some true shock factor moments that cannot be spoiled. Some things were obvious and some things came completely out of left field, leaving me with my jaw dropped. Do not ignore the word ‘horror’ in the synopsis, because it is there. There are murders, lot of murders, as well as creepy kids with homemade stakes who like to hang in the cemetery. And so much more than that. But it’s crazy exciting and definitely one to be checked out! I find myself shaking with nerves and anticipation for what the sequel, Between the Spark and the Burn, will bring!

   And I prayed to Freddie about the Devil. I asked her to keep my hand out of his. I asked her to keep me safe from evil.
   But for all my praying, the Devil still found me.

About April Genevieve Tucholke

April Genevieve Tucholke is a full-time writer who digs classic movies, redheaded villains, big kitchens, and discussing murder at the dinner table. She and her husband—a librarian, former rare-book dealer, and journalist—live in Oregon. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is her first novel.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

33 Responses to “Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke”

  1. Tanja - Tanychy

    I have no idea how will I react when I finally get to read this one. It sounds so amazing and I have such a great expectations. I’m glad that you find it not perfect and I’m really glad you enjoyed it overall. Great review Sara 🙂

  2. Nick

    I was really excited for this book but the reviews so far have been really mixed. I’m not sure I’ll like River at all from your description. He doesn’t sound like my kind of love interest at all. And it seems that the MC becomes a little too into him.
    Still, I’m glad to hear that the book is full of horror though. I think I’ll go into the book expecting little, so that way I might enjoy it better.
    Great review, Sara! 🙂

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      I have seen some of the mixed reviews too. And I do think the romance aspect is the issue, so I get that. I was able to enjoy the book on a whole when I overlooked those issues. The horror elements were really good!

  3. Sydney

    Wow! There seemed to be so much buzz for this book even back at the beginning of the summer. So far I have only seen pretty positive reviews. I’m not the biggest fan of horror books because I am scared of almost everything, but I think I still want to check it out! Fantastic review!

    ~Sydney@Pika Pages

  4. Natalie Natflixandbooks

    I reviewed this today, too! I liked it alright, but I wasn’t bowled over. Like you, I liked the secondary characters and I loved the atmosphere of the story, but I just wasn’t crazy about River and couldn’t get over some of the horrible things he did. I’ll definitely read the sequel, but I wanted to love this more. Great review!

  5. Alise (Readers In Wonderland)

    “…when I see the words romance and Devil in the same synopsis, I expect a forbidden type love with the ultimate bad boy, which is something that intrigues me beyond belief.” YES, yes, and more yes. I love that type of romance, ever since I read Keturah and Lord Death-which you should check out if you haven’t read it yet! Although the main reason I want to read this is the romance it’s great to know the characters and mystery were great additions as well 🙂

  6. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    This sentence made me giggle, “River is the ultimate lying liar who lies, basically.” And YET I still liked him despite it all. I agree that this book is marvelously atmospheric with very morally ambiguous characters. I like that with people like Luke, they seem bad and one dimensional at first, but then you get more of a look at them and realize that they’re not all horrible. That poor boy misses his parents :(. I can’t wait for the next one! Lovely review.

  7. Amanda

    I’m actually not sure how I feel about the whole Devil-being-a-bad-boy trope. Especially if it allows for some instalove/insta-attraction to develop. But I suppose it can be redeemed if, as you suggest, Violet is somehow trapped under his influence. Now that could be interesting. And although I’m not a horror fan, I think the horror/gothic aspect of the story is what’s going to actually end up convincing me to read it. I do love a good gothic-feeling story. Great review, Sara!

  8. MåїÐ»-(¯`v´¯)-»

    OMG YES YES YES!!!! I CANNOT WAIT TO GET THIS IN MY HANDS!! *runs in circles* I have been meaning to read this for a while now, and I am so glad you enjoyed this. I love the premise for this, and yes forbidden romance is just too addicting to pass up! I can’t wait to meet River and Violet and see how their relationship develops throughout the novel, and the secondary characters as well. They sound fantastic! Plus, the horror and mystery sound like great additions to this novel. I can’t wait to explore them! Fabulous review, Sara! 😀

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

  9. Aman

    I can’t believe I was going to miss this book because of the creepy premises. I really didn’t think it was something for me, but now I way too curious to figure out the deeds about the devil. I just requested this off EW. Can’t wait to read it. Great review, Sara! 🙂

  10. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I also have been wanting to read this for the romance with a devil. But I think I will be like you and yelling at her to wake up and see the danger. Very curious about the plots and the twists to come. Creepy kids with homemade stakes who like to hang in the cemetery?!?! Buffy wannabes?! LOL Glad it doesn’t skimp on the horror.

  11. starryeyedjen

    Hehe…whereas you wanted to slap Violet for not waking up to the danger River posed, I was trying to push her towards it. More fun that way. 😛 Such an awesome book…and it did get pretty creepy there at the end. Can’t wait to see what the next book brings!

  12. Vivien

    I absolutely loved this one. I am such a fan of the gothic genre and this satisfied my craving. Can’t wait to read more from this author!

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