Summary (via Goodreads):
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.
I knew I had to read Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea immediately upon seeing the cover. I didn’t bother to look at the summary so went into reading with no idea what I was getting myself into. I have not read a lot from this genre so many of the gothic elements were refreshingly new to me. Tucholke infused the entire story with slow yet anxiety filled pacing, beautiful scenic descriptions and unforgettable characters. I was completely immersed into her story and setting- watching everything happen but unable to do anything as the story unfolded.
The most accurate word to describe BtDatDBS is atmospheric. I loved the town of Echo and the creepy, old house, named Citizen Kane, that Violet and her twin brother Jack lived in. The seaside estate was such a major aspect of this story I loved that I had a very vivid and precise image of it as I read.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea introduced some very unique and complex characters. I really enjoyed reading from Violet’s perspective and especially enjoyed her memories of her grandmother Freddie. I felt every ounce of her loneliness and pain of being so isolated by her own family. Her nonchalance regarding life and apathy towards the people in her town, prior to River, felt very real. I understood her emptiness and empathized with her.
Jack handled his sadness much differently but also very realistically. His outward façade was horribly unattractive to me but I always sensed that there was something deeper, at least I hoped there was. Violet’s neighbor and pseudo friend, Sunshine, wasn’t a character I connected to either but she had a real presence and was remarkably realistic. Her highly sexualized self image and boredom with her day to day life seemed very accurate for a small seaside town with not a lot going on.
River was a perfect blend of mystery and unease. Violet’s uncontrollable urge to be near this stranger, though he most likely posed a threat to her and her town, was incredibly done. Though Violet was immediately drawn to River, her infatuation with his dark nature and newness was palpable.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea stood out to me because of Tucholke’s eloquent, rich descriptions and atmospheric writing. I loved the slow as molasses pacing and the ominous feeling that something horrible was going to happen on the next page. I will be waiting, impatiently, for the next book.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Book Trailer: