Thursday, August 8, 2013

Do You Feel The Glow? The Spark?

"I flinched. 
My habit of reading more than I socialized made me use odd, awkward words without thinking."
--April Genevieve Tucholke, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Dial, 368 pages
Publication Date: August 15th, 2013
Source: ARC won via Goodreads and Penguin Teen, thanks!

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.

My Thoughts

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was a book I have been anticipating reading for months! Ever since I learned of its existence. The premise sounded completely awesome and unique and I was REALLY excited to read it. However, it fell a little flat for me. I think this is more of a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’ Let me break it down.

Violet, the main character, is very interesting. Introverted, in a way, odd, reads a lot (yes!) and loves wearing her dead grandmother’s clothing. She’s eccentric. I liked this about her. My chosen quote at the top is something she says and it is SO true for me personally. I find myself saying old words ALL the time…and of course, people look at me funny, oh well. Anyways. Violet has a twin, Luke, who is an asshole most of the book but he has a few moments of kindness. The story starts with the twins renting out their guesthouse, which brings River West into the mix. Mysterious, quiet, strange, and Violet is totally drawn to him. Strange things start happening and, without ruining the plot, secrets are revealed, more secrets are kept, a lot of crazy stuff goes down.

I didn’t know what to expect really before I started reading. I think I anticipated a more forbidden love type story, and it didn’t align with my expectations. But that isn’t why I didn’t find it amazing. I think the writing of the story is fantastic. Very whimsical and unique. The author paints a very vivid picture of this town and it’s quirks and I really liked this. The plot of the story is what didn’t totally work for me. I’m not totally into scary stories or the gothic feel (Jane Eyre aside) and I guess I just got confused as to what was real and what wasn’t. I am aware that is probably the point of the story, but for some reason I just couldn’t take it seriously. I found myself reading every line with a grain of salt because I didn’t know what to call bullshit on. I didn’t really know where the story would be going.

While I liked Violet’s characterization, she was extremely naïve. River has a very dark feel to him and while she is consciously telling herself to stay away, for very legit reasons, she still seeks him out. I kept thinking to myself, 'If this were a horror movie, the entire audience would be screaming at the screen to run the other way.' River started out okay but then his character went all over the board. At first, Violet sees him as dark and mysterious, then he lies about everything, then he’s evil, now he’s vocalizing his fears. I don’t know. Just didn’t seem authentic. I couldn’t get a read on this kid to save my life. The friend in this story, Sunshine, was the worst. Totally aloof and completely useless to the story to be honest. She creeped me out more than any ghost did. She just floated into scenes, said weird stuff, rubbed her breasts on people, and floated off. Weird. Other characters are introduced later that I enjoyed, but again, don’t want to ruin it.

The ending of the book was very entertaining. The elements that made the book unique came into play more. The last 30 pages-ish were really fast-paced and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The ending saved the book for me...a little. And while I liked the book overall, the writing is great, the story is unique, I just didn't connect with the characters and the story as much as I wanted. My expectations were high and it just didn't match with the impression I got from the synopsis.

Should You Read This? Maybe. If you like the gothic, horror, scary type stories this might be right up your alley. For me, it just fell flat.


  1. Oh no! I'm bummed you didn't really like this one. I've been looking forward to reading this one as well. I hate when characters fall flat though. I'm currently reading Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin and the same things is happening for me with that book. Hmmm... maybe I'll put this one on the back-burner for now. Great review!

  2. I just reviewed this one on Monday. I ended up liking it ok, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I wanted to. I loved how atmospheric it was and how she used the Gothic elements, but I wasn't at all crazy about River as a love interest after he did so many horrible things. I'll definitely pick up the sequel, but I'm not going to be anxiously waiting for it like I was this one. Great review!

  3. Oh, it's a shame you didn't enjoy this after all the anticipation! The cover looks great, very eerie.


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