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.
I’m very conflicted when it comes to reading books by April Genevieve Tucholke, on the one hand I love her writing style because it’s just absolutely gorgeous and lyrical. However, I just seem to have a hard time liking her characters and I find her storylines to be either confusing, boring, or both. Mostly I’m left feeling indifferent because there is both good and bad with her books such is the case with “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”.
The plot in this book is riddled with your usual YA tropes and the big one is insta-love. Violet (the MC) pretty much falls head over heels in love with River after knowing him for just one day. We also have the forbidden love trope much like the one seen in “Twilight”, honestly if you didn’t like “Twilight” you won’t like this one because River and Violet are very Bella and Edward-esque. River is always telling Violet how bad he is for her but does she listen? Nope. Not to mention we also have the whole absent parents thing going on, which I do consider a YA trope, because how convenient is that? You can have ALL the strange boys come rent your guest house now! So yes I think this book is loaded with tropes, many of which I find quite annoying.
I did like the overall atmosphere though, it’s selling itself as gothic and I think it does a decent job of pulling this off. It’s all very old fashioned feeling with the old Victorian houses and small town. Everyone cares about social standing and family names, so as I said it had an old fashioned atmosphere and I really enjoyed that part. Even Violet felt this way as a character seeing as how she wears her dead grandmother’s old clothes and goes to the park to watch old black and white films.
In general, though, the plot didn’t make much sense at all. There is no big mystery and what mystery there may have been was ruined by it being revealed too soon in the story. I also felt that there was no real climax to the plot either, it was just the same pacing throughout the entire book. Honestly, this book just sort of did its own thing. There wasn’t a set, structure storyline and no horror to speak of and a tiny sprinkling of the paranormal, which considering the plot and blurb I expected a lot more creepiness. Basically what you get is a whole lot of romance that left this book feeling like more of a contemporary than anything else.
Also for those of you, who like me, thought this would be about a romance with the actual Devil in teenage boy form, think again. I thought that idea made it seem more exciting but don’t waste your time if that’s what you want because you’ll leave disappointed as I did.
All of the characters were meh, I didn’t hate Violet but I didn’t exactly love her either. She’s sort of pretentious and snobby, with her always quoting old classic literature and cinema. It made her come off that way, in my opinion. She’s very…hipster-y, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but Violet made it come off as condescending.
River is even less impressive, especially as the love interest. He’s essentially psychotic, compulsively lies, and Violet chooses to be blind and ignore all of the crazy, crappy things he says and does. She catches him in every lie he tells and he’s always warning her away from him. But oh! That makes him so mysterious and dangerous! No. You should probably listen and stay away from him.
There was also absolutely zero point in Violet’s brother Luke and her “BFF” Sunshine. They were the single most annoying part of this whole book. I can’t even really explain why, they were just always THERE doing nothing to move the story forward, rendering them essentially meaningless characters.
This book is very, very romance-oriented and as I mentioned earlier you’ve got an atrocious amount of insta-love and forbidden love. I can handle forbidden love if it’s done correctly but it tied in too much with the insta-love for me to even remotely like River and Violet’s relationship. Knowing him for just one day had Violet drooling over River.
Also River compulsively lies to Violet and there is a certain point in the story where a certain incident borders a little too much on potential rape. Not a fan. Therefore I found this romance to be completely unsatisfying.
I actually really enjoy Tucholke’s writing a lot and I did like the overall atmosphere of this book but I found the plot itself and characters to be really lacking. Basically the only reason this is getting a two star rating instead of a one star rating is because the writing is beautiful and great quality.
No not really. Unless you really, really loved “Twilight” or if you really enjoy paranormal romances then maybe you’ll find this more to your liking!