Looking for an enticing paranormal romance, but sick of vampires and werewolves? Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, the debut novel by April Genevieve Tucholke, might be your best bet.
17-year-old Violet White lives in the quiet town of Echo. Her parents are artists who spend much of their time traveling abroad, leaving Violet and her twin brother, Luke, alone in their old mansion. With most of the family fortune gone, Violet decides to rent out their guesthouse for extra money. The tenant is River West, a mysterious newcomer who Violet falls head over heels for almost immediately.
But once River shows up, strange things start to happen. Children gather in the cemetery and claim to have seen the Devil. The town drunk slits his throat in broad daylight. And, despite River’s blatant lies about who he is, Violet continues to fall for him. Are the children onto something when they say they saw the Devil himself? And what does it have to do with River?
Paranormal romance has been criticized for condoning unhealthy or even abusive relationships. Depending on the reader, the relationship between River and Violet could infuriate or entice; Violet never denies her attraction to River, even embraces it, but knows all the while their relationship is problematic.
River is likable, but not without his blatant (albeit non-condoned) faults. It takes him most of the book to confess the truth about his heritage and nature. This is typical of the genre (it took some time for Edward to admit to Bella he was a vampire), but many of River’s revelations aren’t prompted until his brother, Neely, shows up over halfway through. The introduction of even more characters later on muddies the waters a bit, leading to an unsatisfying climax. But the resolution makes yours truly even more excited to continue the series, and see where the relationship between River and Violet might be headed.
Devil is a creepy Gothic romance at its finest. From the crumbling old mansion to an allusion to Faulkner’s short story A Rose for Emily to the local urban legend, it’s easy to immerse yourself in the novel’s creepy and atmospheric world. Despite a lackluster third act, your Hattiesburg YA Fiction Examiner recommends this novel to anyone looking for a deliciously creepy romance.
And come on -- how can you not love that cover?
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