Review by Alyssa (This ARC was sent to me by Bunny Cates - THANK YOU!)
August 2013 by Dial
Amazon + Good Reads
"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."
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2013... and when my good friend Bunny offered to lend an ARC of it to me?! I jumped at the chance. And let me tell you, this book did not disappoint. In fact, it was a one day read - seriously! I have never been a fan of horror but only because I have never had the opportunity to read it... but if this book is any indication of what I should expect from the genre, I won't hesitate in the future to check out more titles.
Let me begin by saying that the first thing that caught my eye about this book was the cover. It is gorgeous from the color scheme, to the picture, to the typography. Each of these three elements help to capture the spirit of the story and I don't think that Dial could have done a better job. I can't wait to see what BtDatDBS looks like in hard cover - I'm positive that it will be gorgeous.
Now, the biggest thing going for this book was Tucholke's writing style. I have never read a book that captured the eerie, creepy, American Horror Story feel quite like this book - and it was brilliant. Despite the fact that Echo is supposed to be a standard small town America place, Tucholke lets us know that something just isn't quite right... by her descriptions alone. It is easy enough for an author to tell her readers something... but to successfully show it? I was completely blown away - reading about Echo felt surreal... and I have never experienced that before.
Secondly, the characters were surprisingly well developed and kept me on my toes. Not to honk my own horn, but I am usually pretty good at calling out plot twists and surprises from miles away... but I could not figure this book out. Each character surprised me at different times in the story and I loved that. I never knew what to expect and there were times that I yelled, "Oh my God!" out loud.
And lastly (but certainly not least), the story. The story was amazing... and I don't know how to say it any other way. Like I said earlier, I've never really read anything that could be classified as horror so this was definitely a new experience for me. I felt like Tucholke was leading me in one direction, to make certain assumptions about certain characters, only to completely turn everything upside down. I was equally creeped out and intrigued - I could not put this book down.
My only regret about The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is that I did not read it closer to Halloween - I think it would be perfect for that time of year. But, despite reading it during the summer, I loved, loved, loved this book. I would recommend it to anyone - teens and up! I will put out this caution though - there are some pretty violent and disturbing scenes, as well as some harsh language.
Have you read any great horror books lately? If so, let me know in the comments!