Nothing exciting ever happens in Echo, Violet’s sleepy seaside town…until River West comes to town and rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling mansion. Weird things start to happen and Violet starts to wonder if they have something to do with River. Violet’s grandmother, Freddie, had warned her about the devil, but she never thought he would be a boy who kissed her in the cemetery and had a love for good coffee. Soon Violet is too much in love to be able to see what is really happening…which is just how River likes it.
Review: I picked up Between the Devil and the Deep Blue for two reasons: 1. The cover is gorgeous! How could you not want to pick this book up? 2. The author was going to be at the Austin Teen Book Festival. My goal this year was to have read at least two books from each panel, something I did not meet, but I got close!
Creepy and beautiful, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a compelling and quick read. I finished it in an afternoon. Tucholke weaves a evocatively eerie tale. It’s a bit of a mystery. The reader is trying to figure out who the devil is and who is behind the weird things happening in Echo. I got it wrong (not surprisingly, I really feel like I’m loosing my touch in this department). The imagery of Violet’s crumbling mansion by the sea and the sleepy town is done really well. It really set up the creepy-ness of the novel. The mansion became one of the characters, almost like part of Freddie hanging around. I liked all of the characters. Even if the majority of the characters are on the periphery, they served to enhance the small town feel of the book.
There is so much ambiguousness throughout the book, you never really know what is going on behind everyone’s facade. I liked that because of River, morality plays a big part in this book. River has a ‘glow’ which allows him to alter peoples thoughts and force them to do things. Violet really struggles to reconcile her attraction to River and what kind of person he is, especially once Neely, River’s brother, comes to town. Neely always picks up after River’s messes and doesn’t want River to hurt Violet. I desperately hope there is a sequel to this book. There is a bit of a cliffhanger and I’m interested to see Neely as a more prominent character.
This is a wonderful modern gothic novel for teens. I highly recommend this book! However, don’t read this book to be read at night if you are like me and are a total wimp and a scaredy cat. I don’t know if I would have been able to sleep if I had read it right before bed.