Book Review: Between the Devil and the Deep, Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

12930909Title: Between the Devil and the Deep, Blue Sea
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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.

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.

Violet and her brother Luke have lived in the crumbling mansion their grandmother nicknamed Citizen, based on the movie Citizen Kane, their entire lives. They know the sleepy town of Echo inside out. Their parents are both artists, travelling the world and leaving their children alone for months on end.

This time around though, money is getting sparse, and Violet had the great idea to put their guest post up for rent. The boy replying to the ad, River West, is an enigma. He hides a lot of secrets, manages to lie with a blank face, but at the same time, he’s charismatic and intriguing, and Violet falls for his charms before she even realizes it.

But with River West turning up, strange things start to happen as well. Her best friend sees an image of the local legend, a homeless man named Blue who supposedly lured children into an abandoned tunnel. Children witnessed a “devil” kidnapping another children, and they start to stalk the cemetery, armed with whatever they can find, in hopes of finding the devil and hurting him.

Violet grows more and more convinced River has something to do with this, and when he confesses to her he has powers he can barely understand himself, and he can’t control them either, she starts to fear him almost as much as she loves him.

This book is gothic horror through and through. Never that scary, but always atmospheric, and with an underlying layer of tension that’s difficult to describe. River is an interesting, dark, charismatic character who I had not choice but to like. He’s mysterious, and it’s that mystery that makes him as interesting for the reader as he is to Violet. I loved the Citizen, its long, meandering halls, its crumbling exterior, the many secrets it harbored inside. What gothic novel would be complete without a gigantic mansion? The kids living here on their own, although a bit strange and the explenation leaves much to be desired, makes it the ideal place for an adventure to start.

The writing was great, almost like a velvet layer that wrapped itself around the story and made it shine even more. The prose is haunting, the characters wrecked by their own past and choices, each of them flawed in more than one way.

Between the Devil and the Deep, Blue Sea, is one of my favorite reads this year. A definite must read for fans of gothic horror.


  1. I got this for review on Netgalley. I am really glad you liked it!
    I have been looking for a good Gothic Horror for a very long time. It is also nice to hear that this YA is well written!
    Thanks for sharing, I am glad you enjoyed it and have a great week! 🙂
    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

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