Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Release: August 15th 2013
Genre: Horror, Paranormal, YA
#1 in the Between duology
Sequel: Between The Spark and The Burn (#2)
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.
Look at the blurb, read it. And look at the genre. Surely, you're tumbling out of your seat now, asking yourself "Whaaat?" because I did that, too. And so I was intrigued, bought it and was surprised to find that I was actually looking forward to reading this.
So, I went into this with low to medium expectations, and these were met. Now, this novel wasn't bad exactly, it just wasn't very good, either. I was on page 150 until I remembered that this was supposed to be horror and until then, nothing horrible had happened yet. Unless you considered two teenagers that have known each other for a day sneaking around and stealing kisses in the dark horrific, then maybe you won't be disappointed by the Horror label. While yes, there are some Horror elements, they are executed poorly and didn't have me gripping the book in fear. Rather, I was getting extremely bored by the end, when the final climax came around, which was the only thing coming close to being bloody and violent. Otherwise, this book did nothing for me. It didn't have me be anxious for the characters and what they have to go through, it just ... to quote one of my favorite reviews, it just sat on the front porch and farted.
Characters were as flat as they come, all the while having really ridiculous names like Violet White, Sunshine Black, River West or Jack Leap. Everyone seemed to be a painter and be secretly related to each other and what not. The only character that kicked ass and was likeable was Freddie, Violet's grandmother which had already died prior to the start of the book. So if my favorite character is a dead 80-year-old, that's.. well. Not to say the other, living characters were bad, they were just meh. I didn't build a connection to them or anything.
The romance between River and Violet was the most cringe-worthy part. It was very ridiculous and unnecessary and the point of it was never seen to me, besides having something to focus on for the three quarters of the book that isn't "horror". And I'm using that term lightly by now, in case you haven't noticed. Why these two even fall for each other other than because of convenience and circumstance is beyond me because they don't fit at all, and their romance was moving way too fast. Violet has known River not an hour, I shit you not, and Sunshine is already teasing her about being in love with him. And she doesn't deny it. Not even an hour. If Tucholke had laid off on the romance, I might have liked the book a bit more and given it the star it needs to make 3 stars.
Writing, though, was the one thing the author really did right. A very beautiful and haunting style, which fit the atmosphere of the book perfectly and captured the essence of it just right. It wasn't too heavy, but really, just perfect for this kind of novel. I liked it. I hold out hope that maybe, should she ever publish another series, I'll read that one and like it a lot more. Because her writing's definitely on the right track.
All in all, my expectations were mostly met, although I had dearly hoped it would exceed them. I hoped this would be better than I thought, better than the laughable blurb predicted, but alas, it isn't. Maybe I'll read the sequel, if I feel like it, but I'm not so sure. If you're into soft horror though, and don't mind a sappy love story, maybe this is just the right thing for you!