Friday, August 9, 2013

Review of April Genevieve Tucholke's 'Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea'

Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: August 15, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal - Fantasy
Goodreads Description:
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.
About Author:
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.
My Review:
I received an advanced reading copy of this book from Penguin through goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
I LOVED THIS BOOK!! This book is perfection and I can hardly believe it is a debut novel. It reads like a modern day classic. Tucholke combines Southern Gothic style with imagery reminiscent of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations (the old house, which Violet's grandma named Citizen Cane, really reminded me of the crazy old lady's house in Great Expectations) and a modern paranormal love story. I literally couldn't put this book down. I was enthralled from page one and read it in less than a day. I quite literally had to ask my husband to hide the book from me for a short period of time so that I could get my blog posts done for the following day.
It all begins with Violet. Violet is seventeen years old and kind of an odd duck. She is a total book nerd who loves to wear her dead grandmother's clothes and has a tendency to say out loud whatever strange thoughts pop into her mind. Add into it the fact that she comes from an incredibly wealthy family who happen to be completely broke and lives alone with her twin brother in a decrepit, yet beautiful old mansion; and you end up with a character that is an outsider and has very few friends. Her only real friends are her twin, Luke, who is a total jerk to her and her neighbor Sunshine who is completely different from her and a big flirt. Her artist, free spirit parents have been away for months running around Europe leaving Violet and Luke broke and having to fend for themselves. Violet's used to being a loner, but it all changes for her when she comes up with the idea of renting out their guest house in order to make money for food for herself and her brother. Only one person shows up, responding to the advertisement, River West. River is ridiculously beautiful, kind, and obviously a liar. Once he shows up in Violet's life strange things begin to happen in her small New England town. One such event is when a group of small children claim to have seen the devil kidnapping a young girl out of the cemetery. Things begin to spiral from there and Violet begins to suspect him of some sort of involvement in the strange occurrences, yet she still seems to have a strong attraction to him even though she is torn on whether she believes him to be good or bad. I won't go into any more detail because I don't want to spoil the book or its ending, but the story unfolds most unexpectedly.
Everything about this book is unique; the strange yet loveable characters, the dark atmosphere throughout the whole story, and the paranormal plot that is completely unlike anything I've ever read. Tucholke managed to invent her own paranormal world and people as opposed to redoing things that have been done again and again like vampires and werewolves. Her world and paranormal activity are completely brand new and original.
This book is a breath of fresh air. The writing is absolutely stunning and flows perfectly. The story grabs you and sucks you in, leaving you wanting more. The characters are interesting and at times somewhat strange, but really likeable. I cannot stress enough what a MUST READ this book is. If you read one new book this year, make it this one. I was ecstatic to learn after finishing this book that this is the first in a series. I am now counting down the days until I can get my hands on the next book next year. April Genevieve Tucholke is a writer that I know is going to soon blow up. She has that rare talent with writing that will draw readers in and not let them go until the very end of the story. I can't wait to read the rest of the books in this series and whatever else she writes next. I am most definitely a fan for life.
My Rating:

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