Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea By April Genevieve Tucholke

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.

Violet's grandmother Frankie was a deeply religious woman before she passed, always reminding her about the dangers of the Devil finding her, I just don't think Violet knew how true that would become. Seventeen year old Violet and twin brother Luke White live alone, their parents are artists and fled to Europe more than a year ago, leaving the two teens penniless and left to maintain an enormous property that is on the verge of falling apart. The house built in 1941 and affectionately known as Citizen Kane, is perched on the edge of the ocean. The location hasn't been kind to the old house, and through years of neglect, the house now needs urgent repairs. But when Violet rents out their guest house to River West, life within the seaside town of Echo is about to be turned upside down.

River West came without any personal effects, apart from a sly, sexy smile and a wallet that barely closes. He wants to rent the White's guest house, under the guise that his parents are travelling through South America on an archeology find. Violet can't wait to dash next door to tell best friend Sunshine about the new stranger, the boy who evades personal questions with a shrug and a smile. But there is something about River that doesn't sit quite right.

As the four teens set out into town, they bypass the tunnel housing the local legend of Blue Hoffman, the hermit who allegedly lives deep within the tunnel and keeps missing children. But when River scoffs at the urban myth and drags Sunshine into the tunnel, no one expected Sunshine to emerge wailing, scared as hell. While Sunshine expected River to kiss her, instead she claims she seen Blue... Only River claims not to have seen a thing. Sunshine doesn't believe in ghosts, monsters of fairies, so what was it that she saw? River doesn't seem disturbed, he seems... Amused.

Daniel Leap is the town drunk, always shouting slurred abuse about Violet's family. Violet has become accustomed to his drunken rants, but River is furious, revealing his darker side that Violet has every reason to be wary of... And rightly so. Going to see classic films in the park has always been a favourite of Violet's, with River tagging along to see Casablanca provides a whole new experience. But when he asks to stop by the local cemetery, Violet never expected to be accosted by three vigilante children, searching for the Devil. Their ringleader Jack, claims to be on patrol with makeshift wooden stakes after a girl was supposedly taken by the Devil. Surely it was only a game, but by the way each boy held his stake, their eerie description of the one who took the little girl, left Violet feeling more than uneasy. But when brother Luke verifies the police presence and search parties looking for the girl, the cemetery is overrun by children, all brandishing stakes and on the hunt for the Devil.

Citizen Kane has always felt as though a ghostly presence was attached to the house, but when the group receive a warning via the Ouija board in the attic, that someone is coming, the ominous warning should be taken seriously and they have no idea what's to come. As River and Violet's relationship deepens, Violet confronts the boy who landed on her doorstep, branding him a liar. He convinces children to look for the Devil, he's caused Sunshine's hallucinations, and he admits that he isn't quite normal, He has The Glow. River can make others see things, planting ideas in their head. Within the blink of an eye he can cause mayhem and devastation. River is evil, no matter how much he denies being misunderstood, so why doesn't Violet feel compelled to ask him to leave?

But if Violet thought River was truly evil, she hasn't met Brodie, the boy who really entombs who the Devil is.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and I was pleasantly surprised. It reminded me of Anna Dressed in Blood, the same suspense and drama and was also beautifully written. River is a lovable villain, he's delightfully evil. He's a proven liar, but his use of The Glow can compel others, including Violet. When River's past follows the trail of destruction, we're introduced to Neely. Neely is bad tempered and violent but is also the only person that River has been able to rely on. Neely also brings the truth, correcting the lies River has told, and who River truly is.

I found the conversation between a few characters irritating, the use of Brother and Sister within the dialogue was annoying. I personally didn't need reminding of the relationship between siblings, because surely no one ever refers to their sister, as Sister. Regardless, it was entertaining and I'll be continuing with the series.

Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
(Between: Book One)
Written By April Genevieve Tucholke
Published 15 / 08 / 2013  
368 Pages


  1. Great review Kelly, great to see this lived up the hype! I love how it's creepy too, I enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood for the horror factor.

    1. Hey Jeann, thanks for popping in.
      Me too! I was hoping that Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea would have been a little creepier, it certainly had the potential. I'm reading Girl Of Nightmares next, the second novel in the Anna series. I hope it's as creepy as the first.

  2. I didn't know what I would think of this book either. And I don't know, it left me very strange feeling. It wasn't even a strange feeling. You know one of those feelings you can't explain...well that was the one. But I did enjoy it very much, not as much as I expected, but still very good book.

    P.S. I love the unicorn in that fantasy banner! So adorable! >____<

    1. Hey Delaney, nice to see you again and thank you.
      I know what you mean, I really enjoyed it too, but it just lacked something. I wanted more gore and general naughtiness from River. I'm hoping it develops within the next one in the series.

  3. Replies
    1. Hey Renee, I think it's one of those either like it or hate it, but I can't see many loving it. It's made me want to see what young adult horror there is out there, I'd love to read something really scary with more gore.


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