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.
Well...I have to say, I'm having trouble summing up my feelings about this book. I don't feel like I have something definitive to say, so if this review sounds really vague and doesn't really make sense, I'm so sorry! But I'm going to give it my best shot.
So, I thought the book was...weird. It was pretty creepy, which wasn't what bothered me (and again, I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out what actually is grating on me), but the story in general, I think. The whole town erupts into chaos after these kids, playing in the cemetery, say they saw the Devil, and to make things worse, a little girl disappears. And after this happens, these kids (around maybe 10-12 years old) go to the cemetery and take turns watching for the Devil. And not just playing around, but they're seriously guarding the cemetery with stakes and everything and something about that didn't feel right to me. And little things like these, I think, may have added up to give me that "weird" feeling.
I'll also mention that I got really bogged down by the backstory, explanations, descriptions, and consequently, I fund myself skimming through those long passages. As a result, I may or may not have missed some details. But either way, I was pretty confused about what was going on and why.
Another thing that bothered me were the characters. Basically all of them. I did not like any of the characters, and though I didn't hate them, I thought they were all weird and something about all of them were "off".
I thought Violet talked about her grandmother, Freddie, way more than necessary. I got bored during those paragraphs, and again, would skim over them really quickly. There were multiple mentions of Violet wearing Freddie's old clothes and after a while, it did annoy me just a tad.
Violet's twin brother, Luke, is portrayed as this playboy, very masculine type character, but to me, it felt forced. I think it might have been because it was in Violet's point of view, but still...Another thing, Violet and Luke don't get along, as in, Violet say multiple times she hates her brother, and yet, they spend almost all their time together with their friends. And I just didn't think that made sense that two siblings who hate each other would actually spend that much time together willingly. Violet also has sort of parental feelings toward Luke, which I completely understand, but I think the balance of love and hate between the two siblings could have been more nuanced. Oh, and not a super big deal, but it was kind of weird that Luke would call Violet "sister" a lot (haha, does that remind anyone of Arrested Development?).
Sunshine, Violet, and Luke's neighbor, is really flirty and seductive in what I thought was a weird way. Similar to Luke, Sunshine spends a lot of time with Violet, but I didn't eel a true, strong connection between them; she just flitted in and out.
And River -- just didn't click for me. He is supposed to be very suave and mysterious, but I never really got that feeling from him. I thought he was weird, slightly creepy, and cruel in almost an intentional way, but other than that, I didn't get a grasp for his character.
The ending was for sure very surprising and unexpected, but I didn't feel amazed or wowed by it because I didn't think there were enough clues pointing in that direction. So it made the ending seem more out of the blue and unpredictable rather than a cool twist.
More accurately, two and a half! I just didn't "get" the book. I'm sure a lot of people would enjoy this book, but for me personally, it wasn't a favorite. Overall, it seemed all over the place for me.
The sequel, Between the Spark and the Burn, is out, so I probably will give it a try, just to see if anything changes, but as of now, I kind of doubt it.
Sorry again for the vagueness and thanks for reading!! :D
Erin @ The Romance Bookie :)