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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Release Date: Aug. 15, 2013
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Duration: 8 hours and 41 minutes
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Audible
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.

I have such a love-hate relationship with this book! Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a wildly disturbing ride that will keep your heart racing until the intense conclusion. We're talking the kind of unnerving madness that will have you in a desperate rush to the finish while fighting the urge to stop mid-story for fear you can't take what happens next.

The tag line initially hooked me. "You stop fearing the devil when you're holding his hand." How can that not evoke chills in you?

From there it was like quicksand. The description intrigued me, the exquisite writing drew me in further, and the subtle build and anticipation of what was to come drove me through to the end. An ending full of major players missing in action that left me wondering what book 2 (because of course there is one) could possibly bring. The good news? My understanding is it's only a duology, so resolution will come next summer in Between the Spark and the Burn.

Echo is usually a quiet town full of familiar characters, until River West shows up. Violet, living adult-free in her huge family estate on the ocean, is hard up for money, so she rents out the guest house in a bid for some quick cash. River's her newest tenant.

He's handsome, well-spoken and conveniently vague when it comes to questions about his life. Despite his somewhat evasive behavior, Violet quickly develops a case of the warm-fuzzies, cozying up to the evasive outsider. But what beautiful boy doesn't come with baggage? And River's is stranger than most.

Shortly after his arrival, things start to go sideways. Out of the ordinary doesn't begin to describe the things people in Echo are seeing and doing. Some of it's even making headlines, drawing attention to the quiet northeastern town. Violet suspects River may have something to do with it. Learning he has a gift -- a manipulative and menacing one -- doesn't help matters.

Caught between romance and reservations, Violet isn't sure whether to believe her gut or River's sweet reassurances. She uncovers secrets that connect her family to River's and to an unexpected townie. She also discovers some secrets are generational. The situation only becomes more complicated when River's family shows up.

Echo is in upheaval, people have been seriously hurt and the damage is extensive. Tucholke gives readers just the right balance of chaos and curiosity. Hints give you the pieces, but putting them together to figure out this tangled tale will come together is the challenge.

Narrator Jorjeana Marie does an incredible job of flipping between a group of distinct characters, giving them all unique voices and speech patterns. She narrates Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea solo yet rivals some of the best multi-narrator audios I've ever heard.

It's not often that a book gets me on the edge of my seat with full on nail-biting anticipation, but at times, this one gave me serious agita. I wanted to stop listening numerous times because things got so intense but couldn't pull myself away, hence the love-hate relationship with this novel. Every agonizing moment and the bouts emotional whiplash they caused turned out to be worth it. Now, I'm chomping at the bit to know what happens in Between the Spark and the Burn. August has never seemed so far away.

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