Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April G. Tucholke

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Series: Between, #1
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2014 (Originally published on August 15th, 2013)
Source: Provided by Publisher via Netgalley

18522831Goodreads Summary:

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’ve got a long rant ahead, so please, bear with me.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea has got to be the biggest disappointment of the year for me. If you’re waiting for a “book written with “Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror” then please, don’t even think that this is the book for you.

You know what you can expect from this book? A huge plate of the most ridiculous, most nauseating insta love, with a side of loathing and contempt for the love interest, with another side of why the hell did I even want to read this book in the first place? And why haven’t I thrown it against the wall yet?

My friends, an angel fallen from heaven does in fact walk among us everyday and graces us with his eternal presence. His name is River West. From the first minute he steps out of his “old but new” car, and straightens his “casual but expensive” looking clothes, wearing the most “sly” and “sexy” smile he could ever have, and “swaggers” over to Violet with a “feline grace”, Violet is mesmerized. River is mysterious. River is charming. River is attractive. River, River, River.

I watched him swagger, yes swagger, with panther hips, over to his car…

He [River] took one look at me and grinned. A nice, kind of appreciative grin. 

River is the biggest ass I have ever come across. He thinks the world revolves around him. He thinks the earth will stop spinning on its axis if it weren’t for him. Violet is an idiot to fall for him. She falls for this asshole not even 15 minutes into meeting him. River is condescending to her:

 Violet: “So, how did you know my name?”
River: “I saw it on the posters in town, stupid.”
Violet: […] He said it like an… endearment.

Violet knows River for a grand total of 2 hours, and he’s asking her to sleep with him (next to him, not with him):

River: “Do you think you could lie down here and take a nap with me?”
Violet: I didn’t answer. I didn’t even think. I just slid myself on to the couch, pressed my back into River’s torso, and let his arms wrap around me.
[…] The last thought I had before I fell asleep was that I’d know River all of one damn day but who the hell cared, who the hell cared at all.

Which brings me to my next point: How is it possible for one human being to be so unbelievably stupid? If someone is staying at your guesthouse, you definitely have to ask for I.D. You don’t go into their living room and take a nap with this complete stranger. Violet says she’s smart, which she tries to prove to us by mentioning random authors and things only “smart people” would know. She doesn’t have any friends because she’s such an irritating snob!

Violet: “It’s a Faustian myth- a classic […]”
Luke (her twin brother): “Faust. We all know you’re a smug bookworm, sister. Stop showing off.”

I also found Violet kind of creepy. Her only friend for a really long time was her grandmother, Freddie. I get it. I totally do. I had a close bond with my grandmother until she passed away, and I know how hard it is to let go. Here’s my problem with this: Violet looks like Freddie. We’re told time and time again that she is the spitting image of her grandmother. Once Freddie dies, Violet starts wearing Freddie’s old clothes. Again, not a problem. What’s my problem then? Violet takes it too far! She decides to take her grandmother’s old room, use her old nightgowns, and her old swimming suits, and her old clothes, and adopt her personality. It’s a bit disturbing!

I’m not saying that it’s disgusting to wear another person’s clothes. I even kind of liked it at first because it felt “vintage”, up until Violet took it too far (in my opinion). 

Plot? What plot?

Go back to the summary. Read it over and over again. Gothic horror? ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY SURE THIS IS GOTHIC HORROR?

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it. <- That right there sounds like something unhealthy. That is the whole book. 90% of this book is Violet struggling to not fall for River, and River manipulating her over and over again.

I don’t enjoy the cocky, manipulative, love interest. River is the worse kind of liar. He lies to your face, and then makes you feel guilty about it. He is the epitome of an abusive relationship. He bends her will by kissing her, or wrapping his arms around Violet. He manipulates Violet in every single way.

I reached down inside myself. I tried to muster my previous anger. But there was nothing there. River’s hand was hot on mine and it felt good and I had nothing left.
This conversation was boring him. “You can’t deny it, Vi.”
[…] River was starting to make sense. What he said sounded logical.

Are there any characters in this book other than River & Violet? Foolish reader. Of course not. All that matters is River and Violet and their lurveeeee.

I have never seen a more pathetic case of side characters. First off, we have Luke, Violet’s twin brother. Luke doesn’t exist at all except to show how amazing Violet is in comparison to her, cruel, uneducated, manwhore, of a brother. We also have Sunshine Black (yes, that is her real name…) and she is a whore.

No kidding. She is even referred to as the “dirty slut” in one part of the book. I have never been so annoyed at slut shaming in a book as much as I was annoyed in this one. Violet couldn’t resist commenting on how short Sunshine’s skirts were, or how her breasts would show from under her shirt. Sunshine is a whore because she likes to flirt. God forbid Violet from EVER doing that. Violet is a saint. Completely pure. She only has one true love, and would NEVER be as much of a whore as Sunshine is.

The vintage yellow dress hiked up to her white inner thigh, but she acted as if she didn’t notice.

She put her icecream spoon in her mouth and pulled it back out, nice and slow.

The ending of this book was the icing on the cake. Turns out, River isn’t manipulative and evil, no. There’s actually a very good reason. River is a saint. Trust me, he really is.

The ending of this book basically painted him as the most perfect human being in the world. Forget all his past sins, River. Is. Perfect.

I would’ve preferred to find out that River was completely evil and ruthless and would kill your puppy if he had to. I would’ve preferred that, to the stupid plot twist I encountered at the end.

My suggestion? Avoid this book. Avoid it like the plague.

(This is me being completely done with this book)

did not like it

Because both Jennifer and I were going to rant of this book in our reviews, we didn’t want to make the post too big for you guys. To check out Jennifer’s review, click here! 

13 thoughts on “Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April G. Tucholke

  1. Sounds like River is a Warner? I’m sorry this book didn’t work out for you, but I really do think that River was using his powers over Violet. I do wish the next book is better. Thanks for the honest review, Marianne!


    1. Oh no! I actually like Warner! 😦 I would read the next book just to see if Violet gets common sense. And hopefully there WON’T be a love triangle with Neely.


  2. Oh my goodness. This book made me laugh like a mad, mad lunatic. Hats off to you for waking me up so early in the morning! And I didn’t even have my coffee yet!

    This must be the most hilarious review of this book that I’ve ever come across. When you mentioned Violet starting to wear Grandma Freddie’s clothes, my jaw literally went wide open and a gasp escaped my throat. Like what the fuuuuck seriously? I couldn’t help imagine it in my head and I blame you for the pathetic visuals I’m having right now.

    But turning serious now, you’ve surely convinced me not to touch this one. That insta-love and manipulation is highly, highly concerning. I hate it when books focus on the romance and pretty much screw up everything else. I’m so sorry this was such an unpleasant read for you. But at least it made for an entertaining review, eh? ❤

    Awesome post! 😀

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews


    1. Hahahaha the clothes wearing wasn’t so creepy. Freddie had cute clothes (really vintage, not typical old-lady like). But… I think it started turning ugly when she started wearing her old nightgowns… and swimming suits… just… no. Ha. The visuals in my head are probably ten times worse than yours xD
      I don’t know, maybe you’ll enjoy it more than me? I mean I’m in the minority here… but my co-blogger, Jennifer is not doing so well either, so I’m not sure.
      Thanks, Faye 🙂


  3. Well… this is a bummer. I’ve had this book on my TBR since it first came out but i now know what i’ll be removing from there right after i post this comment.
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog


    1. I’m sorry! I’ve never felt so strongly against a book. If you want to read it, go ahead. I AM in the minority here. Maybe you’ll like it. Either way, thanks for stopping by 🙂


  4. Okay, the sliding onto the lounge and having a nap with a complete stranger TOTALLY freaked me out. I’m totally disappointed! I want to read this one, but gah, I don’t think I’ll waste my time. That kind of stupidity has no place in my precious reading time.


  5. WOAH! I am totally creeped out at this book, the insta love, the impersonating her dead grandmother, and the sleeping in a lounge with a complete stranger. Is there no end to the creepiness here? And yes, the slut shaming here sounds terrible. Oh dear, I had no idea this book was like that! I’m definitely not going to run to read this book. Thanks for sharing!


    1. For me it was horrible… but some people have enjoyed it despite these things.. read at your own risk, lol.


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