Reviewed by: Amanda
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
Violet White lives in a run-down mansion in the small town of Echo with only her twin brother, Luke, for company. Their parents ran off to Europe months ago to paint, and their grandmother, Freddie, passed away a few years ago. Mom and Dad have run through the last of the family money, and Violet and Luke need to eat, so Violet puts up posters around town, advertising the guest house for rent. When River West shows up and pays cash, Violet’s grateful there’ll be food in the kitchen and intrigued by the boy who showed up in a classic car.
River hasn’t been in town long before strange things start happening. Kids talking about seeing the Devil in the cemetery, one of Violet’s friends screaming about the town’s mad man hiding in an old railroad tunnel, rumors of witches and ghosts and secrets…Violet wants to believe River’s arrival is just a coincidence, but as the incidents escalate, her doubt grows.
Violet’s an interesting character. She’s introverted and has no interest in her peers, which makes her attraction to River unusual. There was a moment early on where I wanted to reach through the pages and smack her—she has some very old-fashioned ideas of what it means to have money, as her family does (or had). But she is, for the most part, secure in herself, uncaring what the other kids think of her, and I liked her all the more for it.
Like Violet, I’m not sure what to think of River. Is he evil, or just supremely messed up? He and Violet both think he’s an addict, and I’d be inclined to agree. We never really know who River is, and it’s hard to tell if that’s intentional or not. He’s a born liar, and it doesn’t take long for Violet to figure it out, and when she does, you feel bad for her, especially because she gets pulled back and forth between wanting to believe him because she likes him and wanting him far, far away from her.
The pacing is excellent, the writing good, the story creepy without being terrifying (I dislike horror), but I had a problem with a thread introduced too close to the end. River insisted there were several incidents he wasn’t responsible for, and the possibility of another explanation is introduced rather late in the story—almost toward the end. It made the ending feel rushed when it didn’t need to be, and had it been worked in earlier, it would have added that much more tension and creep factor to the story.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, one frustrating enough I’ll be picking up book two when it’s released later this year.
Sexual Content: Kissing