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

Pages: 360 BetweenDeepBlueSea

Publisher: Dial

Summary from 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 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. 


Wow. What an enthralling, dark novel full of monsters.

The setting is just gorgeous: An old mansion by the sea in a small town. Every single characters has flaws, and almost nothing is black or white, but rather that hazy gray area.

Violet White is a lonely girl. Her characterization was done beautifully. From the first page the reader gets a feel for her strange personality.

River is just as confused and lonely as Violet. Even without his “charming” ways I could understand how Violet and River fell for each other. River is truly an enigma. Most things he says are lies and half-truths. I would have loved to know more about his past, but at the same time I don’t want any of the mystery to be ruined.

All of the characters realize that these eccentricities started when River came to town. No one in this book is stupid; they all see exactly what is happening. But uncovering the how and why leads to learning some answers they wish they could forget. The truth of the matter is that every person in the book has something to hide or be ashamed of. Yet, even when I hated River or Lucas or Summer I could also understand them. The real beauty of this book is the way Tucholke portrayed the harsh realities of the characters in a way that still made me sympathize with them.

Lucas, Violet’s twin is another character whom I would despise one minute and then care for the next. It’s really evident how fractured the siblings’ relationship is, but watching it mend was bittersweet and an element I loved. 

BtDatDBS has everything I want. The mayhem and lies and creepy mansions interested me, but it was the marvelous characters that made this book so thrilling.