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

12930909Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Genre: Gothic, Horror, Magical Realism

Publication Date: August 15, 2013

Source: Print ARC via the publisher

Summary: 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 guesthouse 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.

☆: 5/5 stars – WOW. Beautiful and dark and horrifying and perfect

It took an hour of fangirlish screaming for me to get it all out of my system and write this fangirlish, scream-devoid review. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is hard to put words to, but what words I can pull together into a review are nothing put positive. The rest of 2013 is going to have to work hard if it wants to top this as the best novel I’ve read so far in 2013.

Though Violet lets a few things River did to her slide when it seems unusual for her to do so, she’s got a strong head on her shoulders and she’s not afraid to ask River directly if he’s causing the changes within Echo. There’s not a lot she lets slip by her, but she’s got this sweet naivete going on too. That naivete and River’s gift are how she “lets” him get away with what he does for so long and how she makes the same mistakes over and over again. Why else would a straightforward, no-nonsense girl like Violet let a blatant liar like River stay around as long as she does? It takes the entire book for some of his lies to unravel, and it’s delicious to watch every single one of them go.

River. Oh, River. He messes with Violet’s head so easily and it’s hard not to ask if he’s pulling the same trick on our minds through the pages. It’s the only explanation when the guy you’re swooning over is basically a serial killer. (What do I mean? Got a secret, I will keep it, swear this one I’ll save~…) He’s hardly the Devil like it’s implied, but he’s far from being a good boy or God. He’s more like a demon. Or maybe he’s exactly what he is: a boy with a crooked moral compass and powers too great for him to handle.

The jacket copy is almost inaccurate and doesn’t begin to cover all the layers of this novel and what’s going on as Echo starts to fall apart post-River, but the twists and turns and truth are all too precious for me to reveal. It’s something you’ll have to see for yourself! People burning witches, furry-toothed men, illusions everywhere, dead bodies galore, brothers who may or may not be good, and so much more are what you’ll find if you give Devil a try.

Between the Spark and the Burn, the sequel scheduled for fall 2014, is sure to be one hell of a ride and I’ll be anxiously awaiting it as I clutch Devil and reread my favorite bits.  Fans of magical realism and Gothic horror? You need this like your lungs need air.


10 thoughts on “Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

  1. I’m so jealous you got an ARC of this book! But your review just made my giddy joy for this novel to be released skyrocket. It’s so close yet so far to the 15th. Thanks, Ashley!

    • I was beyond surprised I got it, Leah! It was the first (and so far only) time Penguin has given me anything in any format and I’m so glad that did. Just two more weeks of waiting and it will be here!


      Nah, it’s not that big a deal. You’re good. Maybe.)

  2. 13 more days.

    Oh my goodness, I just noticed this. I’m so sorry I spelled your name wrong. I know how it feels–my name has been mutated into different forms, too. But thank you for the review, Ashleigh. 🙂

    • It’s all good! I only get mad if people call me Alicia–which has happened multiple times. I don’t know how they did it.

    • Yesssssss. I need more of this story and more tales as gorgeously written as this one. I guess I’m just going to have to stalk the author and the publicist at Penguin in charge of deciding who gets what YA books for the next year and set fire to them if they don’t want to help me.

      …Wait, something sounds wrong there. DAMN IT, RIVER. BAD BOY. Where’s my newspaper? Or my ten-foot-pole?

  3. La la la la la.

    I get to be you this time, pissed off by something everyone else loves (see: Shadow & Bone).

    See, I would have LOVED this if River had been the bad guy. During the middle part, this book and I were cool, though I still had some issues, but UGH that ending was the worst I’ve read in a long time and I am unable to get it.

    However, if Between the Spark and the Burn has less frustrating romance (Neely, anyone?) and better characterization, I might be convinced to go to there.

    • Trolololol, sucker! 😀

      To be honest, I was shipping Neely and Violet together the moment Neely walked into the book. ❤ I like the dynamic between River and Violet in a twisted way, but I never want it to really happen between them. No no no no no. I think it only worked for me in the novel because Violet was so heavily under his influence that I didn't feel right holding her accountable nine times out of ten. (The one is for when she knows how he can influence her and lets him do it anyway.) Violet and River have a loooooooot of character development, conversations about all the fuckery, and such to get through before I'll even entertain the notion in a positive way.

  4. Pingback: #FridayReads–May 29, 2014- Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

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