“Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” by April Genevieve Tucholke
A written review by Adrienne,
Violet is a quiet girl who prefers reading to friends. She and her twin brother Luke live in Citizen Kane, a majestically down-on-its-luck mansion. The mansion belonged to their past wealthy relatives but it was Freddie, their grandmother, who made it grand. Violet has not only kept Freddie’s clothes after she passed, she still wears them as she still misses her.
The twins have been on their own after their parents left for Europe to spend through the last of the family wealth and are slow to return. Realizing money for food that was left to them by their parents was starting to run out, Violet offers the guesthouse for rent. Showing up is River West, a charming, self-assured, mysterious with more than a hint of danger boy. River IS mysterious and VERY dangerous as a reluctant Violet discovers. River has what he calls the “glow” which allows him to manipulate people to see what the most wish or most fear. He can also make them hurt no only their selves but others, too.
Violet does ignore much of what River does even when it’s right before her eyes. The attraction she has with River and overlooking his misdeeds are explained by his ability to manipulate her emotions. This is plausible but if readers aren’t paying attention it can become annoying how she refuses to stop River. River’s powers can last up to several hours so he has to be around in order to keep the others from stopping him.
Violet, Luke, and a friend to both twins, Sunshine, slowly unravel the secret of River and his ability. Even though Violet was warned by her grandmother about the danger of holding the hand of the Devil, she is entranced anyway as is the reader. Tulcholke writes a moody, atmospheric story full of surprises and pearl-clutching scenes.
The house and the small town in which they live, called Echo, are characters in their own right. Both have a personality that is worn but welcoming and hiding secrets. The ending is overstuffed with exposition to set up the next book in the series but the ride is worth the trip. Recommended for High School and up.
P.S. [reviewer note]
Fans of the TV show “Supernatural” will notice a cross between the episodes “Croatoan” and “Good God, Y’all” in Tulcholke’s story. I don’t know about you but those two episodes freaked me out but good.