Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Atmospheric and Odd, Devil An Absorbing Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Although she's only 17, Violet White feels stuffy and stale, like life has already passed her by.  Living in a crumbling old mansion at the edge of the sea only makes her seem more faded, as if she belongs to some bygone era.  Her peers find her odd, as does her twin brother, Luke.  Violet can't help it—she's a solitary kind of person, one who lives more in the past than in the present.  Her parents—both artists living in Europe for the time being—aren't around to push her out of her shell, so she remains curled up in our own little world.  Luke intrudes when he wants to, but only to make caustic remarks about the eccentricities of his sister.  Which are many.  

When the twins realize they are running out of money, with the prospect of parental abandonment likely to continue for the foreseeable future, they decide to rent out the guesthouse on their property.  To their surprise, a tenant pops up right away.  To their even greater surprise, River West is a handsome, wealthy 17-year-old, who's also on his own.  With his crooked smile and devil-may-care personality, the visitor seems destined to shake up Violet's summer.  From the moment she sees him, she's drawn in by his playful charm; before she knows it, he's as embedded in her life as sunshine and salty, sea air.  

That's when strange things start occurring in Violet's small seaside town.  People are seeing things, believing things, doing things so weird and foreboding that she doesn't know what to think.  Something's obviously off.  Is River somehow to blame?  Is he something much more sinister than he seems, some kind of devil in disguise?  Or is he just a normal teenage boy having some innocent summer fun?  Whichever it is, one thing is clear:  after River West, Violet White will never be the same.  

I'm not sure exactly what I expected from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, a haunting debut by April Genevieve Tucholke, but it wasn't what I got.  The way I described it in my notes is: odd.  Because it is.  The characters are odd, the story's odd, and the setting's creepy-odd.  Which isn't to say the novel's not compelling because it certainly is, it's just ... different.  Atmospheric, with a very gothic feel, the story's definitely absorbing.  It kept me reading and, overall, I enjoyed it.  It's an odd book, though.  Very odd.

(Readalikes:  Hm, nothing's really coming to mind.  Any ideas?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:  


for strong language (a few F-bombs, plus milder invectives), violence, sexual innuendo and depictions of underage drinking

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


2 comments:

  1. This sounds unique and interesting! I am going to add it to my list!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have this book, and I am excited to give it a go. I do enjoy odd books, and I love the cover!

    ReplyDelete

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